Written by Giulia Bombieri from the University of Oviedo and more than 50 co-authors (The Department of Territory and Sustainability has collaborated). In the article have been analyzed 664 cases of brown bear attacks on people around the world between 2000 and 2015.

The most important results are:

  • The first circumstance of these attacks is encounters with a female with cups (defensive reaction). And other ones are sudden encounters, dog presence, injured bears and very few bears with predatory behaviors.
  • The attacks have increased over time.
  • Attacks are more frequent in areas where there are high populations of bears and people.
  • In Europe, where there have been fewer attacks are in the Southwest: Spain (n=5), France (none) and Italy (n=2, none of them attacked resulting in death). Where else, in Romania, Slovakia, Sweden and Finland.
  • Most attacks occur in summer (48%) and during the day (73%)
  • The people who were attacked were doing outdoor activities: excursions, picking berries, mushrooms, camping, fishing or running. Also shepherds guarding flocks, hunting, or doing fieldwork.

It is important to note that the word “attacks” has an aggressive, pro-active connotation that does not conform to the re-active behaviors described in this work on bear’s attacks on people around the world. Actually speaking of defensive behaviors (in 50% of the cases, bears towards their cubs) or physical contacts in scape reactions of animals in sudden and near encounters. At bottom, what causes can be? Mainly the increase of human activities (especially tourism and recreation) in a territory that is increasingly accessible to people and with a much larger density than about 10-15 years ago.

Link: Brown bear attacks on humans: a worldwide perspective