Public told not to be alarmed by bear sightings in northern Latvia

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Saturday 15 June saw a spate of bear sightings in northern Latvia, specifically on the road from Valmiera to Rūjiena, reported LSM's Latvian language service.

Pictures and video were posted to social networks, with eyewitnesses describing seeing two juvenile bears on the roadside who later disappeared into the forest.

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Valters Lūsis, Head of the State Forest Service Hunting Department, commented that the bears have are curious but should not be considered dangerous provided they are not startled by humans. He also reminded the public that it is not allowed to hunt bears in Latvia's state-owned forests.

"They were looking around. They've come to the roadside to see the environment. It is typical behavior for young animals, but they will avoid human beings. However, they associate people with danger. Usually, they don't come across other big predators in the forest. But if you do come into contact with a bear, the best course of action is to remain still and not make any sudden movements. The animal will escape faster than a man," said Lūsis.

Latvia's bear population is small, though recent years have seen some growth in numbers. Most bears are located in central Vidzeme and eastern Latgale regions.



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