Reports emerge of brown bear roaming forests near Prague

The Bohemian-Moravian Hunters Union has warned citizens of Stará Boleslav that a wild brown bear could be nearby. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 11.12.2021 13:08:00 (updated on 11.12.2021) Reading time: 2 minutes

In days gone by bears were indigenous to the Czech Republic, but unlike in neighboring Slovakia, they all but disappeared from the wild in the 17th and 18th centuries. Requiring a habitat of large un-spoilt forest areas which are becoming increasingly scarce in the Czech lands, now bears only reside in the country in captivity.

A warning from the Bohemian-Moravian Hunters Union to citizens living near Brandýs nad Labem - Stará Boleslav that a brown bear could be roaming the local forests will therefore have taken local residents by surprise. The Union says the information is still unverified but comes from a credible source.

“We have received trustworthy reports, not yet verified by any other source, that a bear is moving in the area around the village of Hlavenec, north of Brandýs nad Labem - Stará Boleslav,” the Union said on its Facebook page.

The Nature and Landscape Protection Agency, which cares for protected wildlife in the Czech Republic, as yet has no information about the bear. “If there really is a bear, it would have be from captivity, not from the wild,” said spokesperson Karolína Šulová.

The Hunters Union claims the possibility of a lone migrating bear reaching the extensive pine forests near Prague cannot be ruled out either. They ask any hunters who see the animal to report it; but reiterate that so far, the presence of the bear is unconfirmed.

The police said they do not yet have any information about the animal’s movement. “The Hunters Union have not yet made any requests for possible cooperation if they want to look for the bear,” said a spokesperson.

Anyone who sees the bear should either contact either the Hunters Union or the Nature and Landscape Protection Agency.

Brown bears are extraordinarily powerful creatures, but most attacks occur when humans encounter a mother trying to protect her cubs. Received wisdom about the best actions to take if you encounter a bear in the wild is as follows:

  • Don’t run. Brown bears are faster than you – many can run at speeds of up to 50 km/h, so even Usain Bolt would have a hard time getting away from a bear on foot. Running can trigger a bear’s predatory instincts, so the best thing to do is to stay still, especially if the bear hasn’t seen you. Try to leave the area as soon as possible in a calm and quiet manner.
  • Secure children and pets. Hold any small children with you tightly to stop them running away. Make sure your dog is on a leash to eliminate the same possibility.
  • If the bear sees you. Experts recommend talking continuously in a loud, calm and consistent voice while slowly waving your arms over your head to make yourself look as big as possible. Avoid any sudden movements and don’t make eye contact with the bear, although you should watch it at all times. Back away slowly but do not turn your back; doing so could trigger a chase reflex. Keep your eyes on the bear at all times to gain clues as to its mood and intentions.
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