Bear attack on Kecset farm: Several lambs and sheep fatally wounded

A mother bear and her cub injured and killed a total of 21 lambs and adult sheep on a little farm on Monday at dawn in Kecset (Păltiniș in Romanian), a village in Hargita (Harghita), Hungarian newspaper Székelyhon reports. The big game caused total damages of RON 7,000 (EUR 1,400) to the farmer, whose flock is located just next to the village center. As Székelyhon wrote, bear attacks are not atypical in the village; over the last two weeks, the wild animals have broken into several other locations as well.

Sheep farmer István Antal found a real bloodbath on Monday morning at his farm, located only 300 meters away from the center of Kecset. Two bears, a mother and her cub, had broken down the fence protecting his flock of sheep and lambs and attacked the animals inside. They dragged some of them to the farmhouse yard and two to the street, killing several of them. The big game attacked 21 animals in total; most of the injured died by morning, Székelyhon reports. Those that survived the attack will most likely not be able to be sold.

“It is like the bear killed them also, as they won’t survive much longer. We slaughter the suffering animals in vain, as no one will buy their meat after the bear has wounded them,” the farmer told Székelyhon, adding that the wild animals caused him RON 7,000 in damages in a single night. As István Antal said, he worked for 10 years in foreign countries to save enough money to open this farm and a small commercial enterprise. The latter was closed due to the pandemic, so they now rely on the sheep as their main source of income.

“We wanted enough sheep to graze on the pasture so that we can apply for area-based funding. But we can no longer cover the pasture,” István Antal told Székelyhon, adding that he doubts it is a good idea to keep animals under such conditions, due to the increased number of bear attacks.

Footage from a local tavern showed that the sheep and lambs were killed by a mother bear and her cub; the big game even dragged some of the animals onto the main street. István Antal and some other villagers told Székelyhon that this is not the first time bears attacked livestock; in the last two weeks, the wild animals have killed 40 chickens at another farm and fatally wounded livestock on farms in neighboring villages as well.

The villagers are outraged about these attacks; they also emphasized that payment for damages caused by bears has been very delayed. One of the villagers has been waiting for two years for the state to pay for his injured cow. The locals also agreed that bears that cause damage must be killed, as it is only a matter of time until they attack a human.

Lehel Kovács, the mayor of Farkaslaka (Lupeni), as Kecset falls under the administration of Farkaslaka, told Székelyhon that they are preparing the documentation of this and other similar incidents and will send it to governmental institutes, requesting, together with hunting associations, the removal of the problematic animals. The mayor added: They know that this is not enough for the villagers, but this is the only step the law provides. Lehel Kovács also admitted to Székelyhon that he knows payment of compensation to various parties has been delayed, but he hopes this will change, as the new minister of the Environment Protection Ministry is Barna Tánczos, a politician of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania (known by its Hungarian acronym of RMDSZ).

Title image: Lehel Kovács, the mayor of Farkaslaka, encourages everyone to continue reporting damage to the mayor’s office, as it is the only way to prove that bears are a real problem and decrease the bear attacks. Photo: Medveles Erdélyben Facebook Page

Author: Orsi Sarány