Bear family spotted wandering above Ljubljana

Ljubljana, 29 August - A family of bears was recently spotted wandering at the base of the Šmarna gora hill above Ljubljana, the city's popular hiking destination. Ivan Bek of the Šmarna gora hunter's club told the STA that the bears were not dangerous, but advised hikers to remain vigilant in the area.

The brown bear.
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA
File photo

The female bear and its two cubs have not approached any villages or rummaged through any rubbish containers, most likely because there is still enough food in their environment for now, Bek said. They were first spotted eating corn from a cornfield in the area.

The bears have not caused any damage nor have they attacked any people. Nevertheless, he advised walkers and hikers to remain vigilant. While the female bear is not aggressive, crossing paths with a bear can take a nasty turn. He said the best thing for hikers is to make enough noise while in the area, so as the bears can move away at the right time.

However, in the event of an encounter, hikers should not stop and observe, but continue on their path, especially since there are cubs involved, Bek said. They are not afraid of people, so they tend to approach them, but once the female bear's motherly instinct kicks in, it can become dangerous.

Bears usually move quickly, so while the Šmarna gora area might suit this bear family for now, it will definitely not stay there, Bek said. It will disappear during the night and most likely move to the north-western Pokljuka region, where it is more peaceful, he added. Wild animals get quite upset when they see hikers and cyclists in nature, he said.

Bek said that bears usually move during the night and avoid people. They mostly eat forest fruit and other food they find on their path. If a bear attacks a human or causes any damage, the Slovenian Forest Services greenlights a culling.

Currently, there are about 450 bears living in Slovenia and the number has remained more or less constant over the years, Bek added.

© STA, 2017