Hunters have reached the limit of Estonia's annual bear cull, without issue.
The quota, set nationally at 87 brown bears for the three-month season (August-October inclusive) and sub-divided by region, was met by the end of last month.
Ida-Viru and Lääne-Viru, with 12 and 13 bears killed respectively, topped the list, followed by Järva County (11). The country's two largest islands, Saaremaa and Hiiumaa, did not see any bears killed.
Tõnis Kõrts, manager of the national huntsmen's society (Eesti Jahimeeste Selts), said the fact that the quota was easily and quickly attained is testimony to the fact that the bear population is in good shape, as is the frequent bear encounters involving humans – not only hunters but also members of the public.
The initial quota of 82 was upped by five, including one prompted by ursine raids on Rapla County beehives.
While Estonia and Latvia share a lengthy, heavily forested land border, bears are not native to Latvia, meaning any seen there, as in a recent case, actually crossed the border themselves.
Editor: Andrew Whyte