A 70-year-old hunter shot and killed a brown bear on Saturday in the south of France. The man was hunting wild boars in the Pyrenees, where dozens of bears live, when he came face to face with a female bear.
She was walking with her cubs. Probably in an attempt to protect her children, she bit the hunter in his legs. The man then shot twice with his shotgun, killing the bear.
Local authorities said they’re still investigating what exactly happened. The brown bear is a protected species in Europe, and people are not allowed to hunt the animals.
The man has been taken to the hospital, and according to AFP news agency, he’s in a serious condition. What happened to the cubs, now that their mom is dead, is unknown.
Human-bear interactions are increasing due to the combination of a growing human population and a shrinking habitat for the animals, researchers say.
Last year, three brown bears were killed in the Pyrenees. Cachou, a six-year-old brown bear, was poisoned with a toxic substance used in antifreeze. A five-year-old male bear was shot dead in June, and at the end of November, a hunter killed the female brown bear Sarousse.
There are around 60 brown bears in the Pyrenees mountains separating France and Spain. The animals were reintroduced in the area after hunters killed almost all of them.