A bear has killed a 57-year-old Slovak man, officials said on Wednesday, in an attack that sparked irate reactions from Slovak hunters claiming that Slovakia has too many bears.
"This was the first known case when an encounter with a bear had fatal consequences in Slovakia," Marina Debnarova from the Lesy SR state forestry agency told AFP on Wednesday.
The man was found mauled to death surrounded by fresh bear prints on Monday in Bansko Valley, 250 kilometres from the capital Bratislava.
"The man was bitten on the head and side of the neck, and an autopsy confirmed that he died from the injuries inflicted on him by a bear," Debnarova said.
Imrich Suba, director general of the Slovak Hunting Chamber, told AFP that the incident was due to "an unsystematic, populist approach" to conservation.
"We have done everything to protect bears, now it is high time that people be protected," he said.
Bear hunting is currently banned in Slovakia.
Suba said that in the 1920s there were only 30 bears in Slovakia but that the population of brown bears has now grown to more than 2,700.