A bear appeared about a month ago in Mikóújfalu (Micfalău in Romanian), a small village in Kovászna (Covasna) County, and has since been keeping the villagers in a state of fear. The big game even tried to break into three houses from Sunday to Monday, tearing down windows and doors. While the bear was not able to get into the homes, the villagers were forced to leave their houses and seek refuge at their neighbors, Hungarian newspaper Székelyhon reports.
“The bear appeared on April 28 for the first time in the settlement. I will never forget this date. Since then, I have been constantly discussing it with the authorities; I ask for help, but they cannot find a solution,” Ferenc Demeter, the mayor of Mikóújfalu, told Székelyhon. Over the last few weeks, the bear has broken into the two restaurants in the village looking for food; in one case, the employees were still in the kitchen after closing when the animal tried to break down the door. They alerted the gendarmerie, but by the time the authorities arrived, the employees had managed to scare off the big game.
The bear caused several thousand lei of damage in the restaurants, but the owners cannot apply for compensation, as this type of damage is not covered by law. Electric fences now protect the restaurants, which may be the reason the bear instead “chose” to visit the homes of villagers over the weekend to look for food. The big game regularly appears at the mineral spring in the settlement and was even found at the entrance of some homes.
The mayor fears that tragedy may occur at any moment, so the local council will seek to enter into partnership with the local hunting association to entrust them with keeping the wild animal away. Hunters can use only squibs to keep the bear away from the village, as they cannot use guns in settlements.
“In the case of Mikóújfalu, it is not true that the forests have decreased, as many hayfields turned into forests. Despite this, the bear attacks have grown; we are not safe in our own houses,” Mayor Ferenc Demeter told Székelyhon.
The Pro Silva Hunting Association requested the removal and relocation of the bear wandering around in Mikóújfalu and hope it will be approved this week. Until then, they are looking for possible places to relocate the animal. Engineer Barna Benedek, the representative of the hunting association, told Székelyhon that no other municipality will accept such a dangerous animal, but if they relocate it in the neighboring forests, the big game will return in no time. The hunter emphasized that everyone expects a solution from the hunting association, but despite their great responsibilities, the associations, which are handled like NGOs, feel that the authorities have failed them.
“We no longer request permission to shoot a bear because we are afraid of being persecuted or that someone will prosecute us. Even relocation is dangerous since the bear must be anesthetized; if an accident occurs during anesthesia and it accidentally dies, we will be held responsible again,” Barna Benedek told Székelyhon. The hunting associations are also afraid that after they relocate a big game and another one appears in the region, they will be accused of having transported the wrong animal.
According to the engineer, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, or other competent authorities, should establish intervention groups to shoot or relocate dangerous bears, as the hunting association no longer has the resources to do so while legislation holds back their activities.
Title image: The members of the hunting associations know of several dangerous bears in the area; the big game causes trouble in Előpatak (Vâlcele), Maksa (Moacșa), Dálnok (Dalnic), Ozsdola (Ojdula) and Sepsibükszád (Bixad). Photo: Medveles Facebook Page