Brown bear spotted north of Prague, residents warned to stay out of forests

Villages near Mělník, north of Prague, have urged residents to avoid going into the forest this weekend after a brown bear was spotted in the area Friday.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 15.01.2022 09:47:00 (updated on 16.01.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

Following reports of a brown bear in the forests north of Prague, municipalities in the area have advised residents to avoid entering the local forests this weekend, according to information shared on social media.

Residents of the municipalities of Čečelice, Dřísy and Konětopy, in the Mělník district of the Czech Republic's Central Bohemian Region, have been advised not travel in the local forests this weekend.

Police and hunters have also been notified of the sighting, but found no traces of the bear after searching the area on Friday. Still, the sighting has been reported to be credible by local officials.

"[Friday] morning, a bear was spotted between the villages of Konětopy and Čečelice! It walked towards Dlouhý běh," writes the village of Dřísy, about twenty kilometers northeast of Prague, on Facebook.

"The information has been verified. Hunters are currently searching the forest. Police and forestry services of the Czech Republic have been informed. Please take extra care and do not travel in or near the forest!"

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The latest warning follows a sighting of a brown bear in the forests near Brandýs nad Labem and Stará Boleslav back in November. At the time, the Bohemian-Moravian Hunters Union warned local residents to be on the lookout.

The latest reports come from roughly the same area northeast of Prague, indicating that a lone brown bear may be roaming in the area over the past two months or longer.

"In the morning, a fellow hunter called me to report a sighting of a bear behind Čečelice," Mayor Josef Zeman, also a member of the local hunters' association, told CTK.

"I went there immediately, but because the ground was frozen and there was no snow, there were no tracks left. We have warned residents not to travel in the forests for the next two days."

Bear sightings are rare in the Czech Republic, though a small population of bears has been caught on camera in the Beskydy mountain range near the Czech border with Slovakia in recent years.

Sightings are especially rare during the winter months, when bears should be hibernating, and could indicate a higher level of danger.

"The bear should be hibernating now," René Franěk, director of Zoo Chleby, told CTK.

"If it is traveling somewhere, it will probably be hungry and desperate." According to Franěk, while bears typically avoid encounters with humans, they could pose a threat to pets in the area.

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