Thursday, June 18, 2009

Romania's brown bears moved to avoid tourists

BUCHAREST (AFP) — Romanian authorities at the Sinaia mountain resort have launched an operation to relocate around 25 brown bears, who have become a new and dangerous tourist attraction, a local official said Wednesday.

Several bears have already been captured and transported to the forests in the Arges region, 100 kilometres (60 miles) west of Sinaia, said mayor Vlad Oprea.

Bear chasers overnight captured a bear and her four offspring who were roaming around the Peles castle, the region's main tourist attraction.

For the past several years, bears in the Carpathian mountains have increased their forays into Romanian towns, especially Brasov, where they rummage through rubbish bins searching for food.

Cruising the streets of Brasov, the bears have become a new attraction for tourists, who snap pictures of the animals or offer them food, which has led to a number of incidents.

About a dozen people have been injured, some even fatally, in the past few years after being attacked by bears.

Romania is home to about 6,000 brown bears.

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