'Reckless' Estonian bears cause trouble on Latvian border

The bears in Northern Latvia.
The bears in Northern Latvia. Source: Andrejs Kalninš/Läti raadio

Two "reckless" bears, believed to be from Estonia, have been breaking into gardens in northern Latvia, eating trash and ignoring humans, Latvian National Broadcaster LSM reports.

Resident of Vijciems parish in North Vidzeme, Andrejs Kalnins, told Latvian Radio on September 24 the bears had climbed up trees in his garden and eaten plums off the ground.

The bears did not react when residents and hunters tried to scare them away and carried on eating instead. Later, they tipped over two garbage cans and an outside toilet, Latvian State Forests said. 

This has raised concerns about the animals their behavior around humans.

Gita Strode, director of the Nature Conservation Agency (DAP), said the pair likely come from "a sheltered area in Estonia".

One of the bears in North Vidzeme, Latvia. Source: Andrejs Kalninš/Läti raadio

"Or the mother bear has been hunted and they grew up themselves, or they were raised in a sheltered area and the mother has not taught them to be wary of people. Consequently, they are reckless. And this atypical behavior poses a threat. The best solution would be that we cooperate with Estonia, where bear hunting is allowed and solve this specific bear problem," she said.

Strode said bear hunting is not allowed in Latvia but "for public safety, we can allow such exceptions".

Specialists advise people not to feed the animals.

A video of the bears can be viewed on LSM.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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