Bear attacks in Romania
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Feb 22, 2012 5:52 AM Last Post By: lrx28
Aug 18, 2008 6:42 AM
Bear attacks in RomaniaHello,
in two weeks, we are heading off to Apuseni and the Fagarasch to hike and pitch the tent wherever we feel like. I thought, the only real danger were the sheepdogs and was so positive about wild camping in the mountains, but then I read this:
shortly: A bear attacked a tent at night at Bucegi and injured one man severely (he survived). This happened last weekend. It is said, that warning signs were displayed, but they were only in Romanian.
If you google a bit, you'll find a lot of storys of bear attacks in the Romanian forests. Some were provoking the bear with flashlights or got too close, but some were just sleeping in their tents. It seems, that the bears have understood, that a tent usually means food (maybe like a can - just open it with your claws and there is the tasty inside!). Is it like this? If the bears already found a connection between tent and food, does it help then to keep the food outside away from the tent? What about toiletries?
I definitely don't feel like getting attacked by a bear. Any experiences with bears in Apuseni or Fagarasch? Or is it time to give up the idea of wild camping in Romania?
Aug 18, 2008 7:15 AM
Aug 18, 2008 7:19 AM
2Do you snore at night? Makes a big difference according to an old and experienced hunter we met in the Romanian mountains some 25 years ago. Bears sometimes hunt for wild boars and these often snore similar to a human. Just a story I remember and that made us ditch plans for wild camping in forests in Romania.
Aug 19, 2008 12:39 PM
have been two times in Romania and did some trekking. So far I did not have problems with bears yet (I only saw some in the suburbs of Brasov) but I also read this article. I will leave next week for the Fagaras and hope that bears won't spend much time above treeline...
Aug 22, 2008 12:48 AM
here we are in the land of myths, rumours and legends!
Thank you ktack for the translation in romanian.
From all I heard and read, here is the summary: Bears do not feel attracted neither of snorring nor sex-noises (another "fact" I was told). But they do have a very fine nose and would not attack a tent unless they smell something to eat (and that means even a chewing gum in your pocket). They should not associate tents with food, because they do not need that - their nose would tell them.
Another rumour: Girls having their period should avoid bear areas, because bears smell the blood - anyone heard of that?! That would force us to change our whole planning.
We will carry a bell with us when hiking so that we won't surprise a bear (by the way, do bells attract sheepdogs?! That 'd make a good choice - either bears or sheepdogs...) and leave food and toiletries away from the tent in a tree. So we should be fine, I hope. And always keep the relations in mind - how many people are killed every year on Romanian roads and how many are killed by bears?!
Edited by: blocksberg
Aug 22, 2008 5:58 AM
5Myself and my boyfriend went to Romania for the month of June. It is a truly beautiful country but I thought I'd add my voice to this bear discussion because anyone planning to go wild camping like we were, should be very aware of the dangers posed by bears. We had two separate bear encounters in two different parts of the country. One was our first night up the mountains in our tent in the Bucegi and the second was hundreds of kilometers away in Tusnad- in a camping site- and again, we were in our tent. On the first occasion, I woke up to the tent shaking. Petrified, I nudged my boyfriend awake and the two of us lay there, afraid for our lives. The bear was growling and and putting its paws and snout in under the tent. We didn't realise it until the next morning, but it had taken my rucksack from the storage compartment and torn it open. We found the contents down the hill the next morning. The second time was fairly similar, except for the fact that the bear seemed like it was trying to open the tent up.
Luckily, we came to no harm, but those two encounters were enough to put me off camping up the Romanian mountains again. Admittedly, any Romanians we spoke to said they'd never heard of anything like that happening, but they also laughed at our naive attempt to get back to nature. They also said that no Romanians go wild camping and that they all stay in cabanas or shelters. We also met one other traveller who had been camping by himself for weeks and had never even seen a bear- so perhaps we were just unfortunate.
We're from Ireland, so anything we knew about bears was from what we'd read in the months preceding our trip. Canadians we met told us that they'd never keep their food in their tents and that they'd even leave their toothpaste outside too, for fear of the bear mistaking the smell for food. (On the second occasion, we had no food in the tent and the bear came to the tent anyway.)
In a funny way, the encounters were exhilarating. Having dinner up the mountains on the first night, we watched a few bears run across the top of the mountain several hundred metres from our tent. They were so graceful and it was mesmerising looking at them living in their natural habitat. I reckon we were naive to think they wouldn't come near us. The moutains are their home and we were intruders. I guess you've just got to way up how much you think going into the wild like that is really worth to you. I certainly wouldn't camp wild again in Romania, but I wouldn't let it stop me walking in the mountains. It is a truly beautiful country and although we went there intending to get away from things and people by going into the wilderness, it was the people who made our holiday. The Romanian people are so welcoming and friendly- lots of people went out of their way to help us without our asking. They're also good fun and I highly recommend it as a holiday destination- particularly Maramures.
Aug 22, 2008 8:32 AM
6I haven't experienced bears in Romania. Our trip did not include wild camping. In the US Pacific Northwest, including Alaska, we have lots of experience with bears. The usual advice is to never, never leave food in your tent. It should be put into a stuff sack and slung over a tree limb, not too close to the tree trunk. Also, a menstruating woman can attract a bear. Use tampons, and bury the used ones far from the tent.
Aug 22, 2008 12:06 PM
7That's true, there were bear attacks on tourists, Romanians or not -yes, sorchag, there's plenty of Romanians camping- right this summer, some of them being far from happy-endings. BUT it is also true that people getting into trouble were the constantly the ones who ignored / disrespected advice from the locals and authorities and chose to camp foolishly. I myself have bad been awarned several times as soon as people saw my backpack, even though I didn't entend to camp. On top of it, most of the victims were the type considering that filming bears at close range and playing(!) with them was kinda cool. Blocksberg, the most attacks took place in Bucegi. Fagaras had lot less. Still, if you respect the signs and seek for advice, you'll be fine.. Romania's mountain guards are very friendly, skilled and knowledgeable.
Aug 26, 2008 5:39 AM
thank you for your replies.
@sorchag: Your story put me over the edge. I would have wet my sleeping bag, if a bear had shaken my tent and try to open it at night. Or at least I had a heart attack!
The German Department of Foreign Affairs (Auswärtiges Amt) has displayed a warning not to camp wild in Romania because of attacks of "wild animals". I think it is best to get informed before going into the mountains, asking in the official tourist informations and the locals about their experiences with bears. And if in doubt, sleep in a cabana. Never leave your food in the tent, bury your tampons, don't leave the tent at night alone and without torch. If I survive my trip to Romania, I'll tell you ...
Sep 4, 2008 6:51 PM
Sep 21, 2008 5:13 AM
here we are again! Our trip to Romania was simply overwhelming, beautiful, great. We'll be back, definitely.
Bears: In the tourist information in Brasov are warnings displayed for hikers in the Brasov Area. There must have been incidents even on Mt. Tampa, which is very near to the city and one of the favourite short hikes for the tourists there. They said, that there are very many bears and cubs this year. Regions like Bucegi, Piatra Crianului and Sinaia were also affected. (Needless to say, that we didn't camp there)
While camping, we didn't keep the food in the tent. At the campsite on Padis Plateau, the patron asked us to put the food into the restaurant over night "because of wild animals", so there are experiences too.
But we had personally no encounters with bears, not even from far. I'll recommend Romania to hikers, but be aware of some forest inhabitants.
Feb 12, 2011 1:00 AM
11Hi, I know this is quite an old thread but it does come up regularly on searches for wild camping in Romania.
I think that people always associate bear problems with camping in north America, so take little or few precautions when camping in areas populated with bears in Europe. I have studied several reports of campers having been attacked in Romania and the conclusions are often the same. Food in tents, or camping in areas well known for bear activity. Some have even gone to the trouble of storing food in containers hung from a tree well away from their tent, but cooked their dinner within a metre of where they are sleeping. It is not just a matter of following the golden rules, but also viewing them as a guide or a train of thought. In other words hang your food in the tree well away from your tent (golden rule), but don't cook just outside leaving traces of fat on the floor, and don't sleep in the clothes you have just cooked in.
I recently put together a short guide of Bear Safety Tips. I hope this may be of use to anybody planning on wild camping in Romania.
Best wishes and safe camping!
Feb 22, 2012 5:52 AM
12Again, another late posting! I would like to add that I had exactly the same experience as Sorchag in the Bucegi mountains (very close to the Padina Cabana, to be exact). Bears encounters are a very real possibility in this part of Romania.
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