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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 October, 2004, 23:42 GMT 00:42 UK
Bear carnage in Romanian forest
Brown bear in Bucharest zoo
It was one of the worst attacks in many years
A brown bear attacked and killed one person and mauled seven others in a forest in Romania's Transylvania region before being shot dead by hunters.

Believed to be a she-bear, the animal attacked and injured five people out picking mushrooms and fell on three others in another part of the woods.

The animal also attacked an ambulance sent to the scene of the first attack.

Armed police and hunters were sent into the woods near Brasov and the city's mayor declared a state of emergency.

Hunters said the bear had been foraging for food when it came upon the mushroom-pickers who were too shocked to escape.

All five received "multiple, serious wounds" and were taken to hospital in a critical condition, said Dr Liviu Stelea, who treated victims at the scene.

Half-an-hour after the first victims were rescued, emergency services were called to the edge of the forest where another attack had left one man dead and two badly injured.

One of the hunters who finally tracked down and killed the animal was also slightly injured by the bear before it was shot.

Bear country

Romania has thousands of brown bears living in the wild and they often come close to Brasov, which is surrounded by large forested areas in the Carpathian Mountains.

It is illegal to hunt them without a permit but bear attacks have been rare.

Local officials quoted by The Associated Press said this was the worst such incident in many years in Romania.

In July, two Romanians were seriously injured in after three hungry bears attacked them as they emerged from a block of houses in a Brasov suburb.

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