Bear alarm in southern Estonia

  • 2000-11-23
  • TBT staff/BNS
TALLINN – An extraordinarily fearless six-foot-tall young bear has been regularly terrorizing residents at Heimtali village during all of last week. No victims have been reported, though.

The first time the villagers run into the so-called Heimtali bear was in the beginning of Novermber. The animal chased Rudolf Miller and his wife Eve up a tree and made the couple sit there for three hours. Rudolf Miller had to sacrifice his brand-new jacket to make an improvised torch to keep the animal away.

Two more cases involved a boy who was followed by the bear on his way home from Viljandi town, and another couple going back to the neighboring village of Alme in their car.

This year we've been hearing more about bears probably because more bear cubs were brought into the special animal incubator at Nigula National Park. Later the animals were released, but they got used to people, said Hille Laap, specialist at Viljandi County environmental service.

According to the county environmental service, local hunters are not allowed to shoot bears down as the bear-hunting season is over. Only in case of emergency such as when bears attack people, they can be killed.

Last week the authorities asked hunters living near Heimtali to keep a watchful eye on bears' usual travel routes in order to spot and catch the Heimtali bear and find out whether it is to any extent dangerous. Officials from the environmental service have stated the bear is not aggressive and is more interested in getting food from people.