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Mild winter puts tourists at risk from grumpy bears

Story filed: 12:37 Saturday 2nd February 2002

Grumpy bears are pestering tourists in central Europe after being woken from hibernation by a mild winter.

The brown bears normally sleep for up to seven months, but are beginning to wake up after just a month.

Officials in Poland have had to scatter tonnes of food in the forests to keep them away from holidaymakers.

Local authorities in Slovakia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Austria and Bulgaria have also issued safety warnings.

Forest rangers and conservation experts have warned people to stay away from the animals, as they are likely to be in a "confused state", reports the Daily Express.

Bears have been pestering hotel guests in Brezno, Slovakia. Miloslava Kicova said: "They come round to the hotel late at night, fighting with each other and looking for food."

In Bulgaria a brown bear is believed to have eaten 50 sheep in the mountain resort of Narechenski. Tadeusz Zajac, a forest ranger in Poland, said: "The extraordinarily mild winter has meant that many bears were only able to hibernate for a month. "We have already scattered about 50 tonnes of food in the forests to give them plenty to eat and stop them becoming a danger to people."

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