500 livestock killed by bears in Hargita County this year

In just six months, the big game killed 500 livestock; however, it also damaged homes and household appliances. The latter is not even compensated for by the government, Hungarian newspaper Székelyhon reports.

László József Domokos, the manager of the Hargita County Environmental Protection Agency, told Székelyhon that the amount of reported damage grew slightly compared to last year. Since January of 2021, 171 reports have been filed, most of which (153) have concerned damage caused by bears; the rest of the reports were about damage caused by boars, wolves and deer. The manager of the agency said that the big game killed 73 cows, three horses, 158 sheep and more than 300 chickens and other domesticated animals; they also destroyed 48 beehives.

In the first half of the year, most reports were about livestock; however, in the second half of the year, the animals destroyed crops more often and domesticated animals, as it was harvest time, Domokos explained.

Bears have caused damage all around the county, but lately the most damage has been in the Gyergyó region, where the bears have killed sheep, cows and chickens. “They have eaten everything they find,” the manager of the agency told Székelyhon.

Domokos added that other types of material damage also occurred. As an example, he mentioned that a bear broke into a building in Tusnád (Tușnad), destroying the door and furniture and also turning the refrigerator over while looking for food.

“Unfortunately, we cannot give compensation for these types of damage because there is no state compensation for them yet,” the manager of the county environment protection agency added. The value of farm animals killed by bears is reimbursed by the state at market price: The compensation is calculated at 50 percent of the total weight of the animal, minus the weight of the bones.

However, the manager stressed that damage caused by bears may be greater than reported at the agency because some farmers do not report any damage. For example, if the tag number of an animal killed by a bear is not found, the farmer cannot receive compensation, László József Domokos added.

Title image: The value of farm animals killed by bears is reimbursed by the state at market price. Photo: Székelyhon/Noémi Gecse

Author: Orsi Sarány