New publication: Brown bear attacks on humans: a worldwide perspective

Negative encounters with brown bears are rare and mainly non-fatal. This is the main finding of a paper published today in Scientific Reports where the authors investigated more than 600 brown bear attacks on humans in 2000-2015 across the range inhabited by the species. Defensive behavior of females protecting their cubs was documented in the majority of the attacks. Half of the attacked people were engaged in leisure activities in nature, such as hiking and berry or antler picking. Other frequent scenarios were the result of inappropriate and risk-enhancing human behaviors (e.g. walking in natural areas with an unleashed dog, or chasing a wounded bear while hunting), and could be reduced by improving public education and awareness of the issue. Bear attacks were more frequent in remote areas with low density of people and high density of bears. Authors highlight the importance of educating the large public about how to behave properly in bear country to increase both human and bear safety, as well as to promote coexistence.

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