Driver fined €600 for chasing brown bear

A brown bear in an Estonian forest.
A brown bear in an Estonian forest. Source: ERR

A driver was handed a €600 fine for chasing a brown bear with their car by Latvia's Nature Conservation Agency (DAP), Latvian National Broadcaster LSM reported on Monday.

It was estimated the bear was forced to run at approximately 25-30 kilometers per hour (km/h) for at least 2.5 minutes on a day when the air temperature exceeded 29 degrees (c).

An adult bear's top speed is between 40-50 km/h but only in short bursts.

The bear is thought to have been a young animal and the chase took place in a border region of Latvia.

The incident was filmed and posted online and the DAP issued an appeal for information earlier this month, LSM wrote.

"In the opinion of experts, this is not a simple disturbance, but a violent act. The bear is not capable of running for a long time," said Janis Ozolinš, lead researcher of the Latvian State Forestry Institute Silava at the time.

"Moreover, at this moment, when the bears are preparing for hibernation, it is important for them to accumulate energy reserves, not to consume them. Therefore, a longer pursuit of the bear could even end with serious health problems."

The brown bear is a protected species in Europe and there are approximately 60 in Latvia, mostly around the Estonian-Latvian border.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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