Bears in Romania: Are They a Real Threat?

More than half of all brown bears in Europe can be found in Romania. This translates to roughly 6,000 bears that live in the country, with most of them located in the forests up in the mountains.

In other words, there are bears in Romania and they are pretty common. So common that, over the past few months, we’ve had plenty of news regarding bear attacks or bears “visiting” various cities or villages.

Therefore, right now, people are tempted to believe that bears attacking people – or heading into the mountain cities is the norm here. Which, fortunately, is not true.

So I decided to share some facts and opinions on the matter and see if you should be afraid about potential bear attacks in Romania.

Bears in Romania

Despite the recent news, Romania can be considered a safe country where bears fortunately don’t roam the streets.

Even in the mountains and more remote regions, bears don’t pose a real threat for most people, even though there has been an increased number of sightings lately.

are brown bears in romania dangerous

In recent years, we could hear more and more often about bears making their way to villages or cities in Romania (all of them in the mountains, close to their natural habitat).

They also attacked sheepherders and have started to show more aggressive behavior than usually.

However, most of the bears that made their way into cities do so in search for food. They are usually seen rummaging through the trash bins and searching for food. They are generally peaceful and won’t attack other people unless provoked.

Of course, if you happen to see a bear or be near one – in the forests of Romania or in a city – you should definitely keep the distance and get away as fast as possible.

There is also a local alert system in Romania – called ROAlert – which, based on GPS tracking, will send people in the area warnings when bears are in the vicinity.

However, these alerts are not always on time. Still, they are better than nothing and should you ever get one, try to quickly find a place where you can get indoors safely or leave the area as soon as possible.

But only consider this as an extensive precaution. Chances are that, even in the cities or towns close to the mountains and forests, you won’t see a bear no matter how much time you spend here.

Why are there increasing reports of bear attacks in Romania?

cub of bear in a forest

Even though bear attacks are very rare in Romania, it is worth mentioning that at last two people have lost their lives to bear attacks in the past couple of years.

Overall, more than 30 bear attacks have been reported in various mountain areas. Even more sightings and visits from bears looking for food in dumpsters have been reported.

As for the reasons why more and more bears make their way to inhabited areas we have a lack of food as the main reason.

Due to climate change and massive deforestation, as well as other reasons, the Romanian brown bears no longer have the vast amounts of foods they once had available to them.

As a result, they get closer to villages and cities where they find the food in trash bins. Some of these bears then get lost in the city or can become panicked and attack humans.

There are security measures in place for keeping bears away from inhabited areas, usually in the form of electric fences.

But one of the fatal attacks that happened recently was caused by a repair work started on one of these fences, but not completed.

However, as you can see, the authorities are taking this seriously and are constantly removing bears that make it a habit from visiting the towns in search for food, and also take precautionary measures.

Should you worry about brown bears in Romania?

brown teddy bear

In most of the country, you won’t find any bears. They are located in the mountain regions, living in the forests there, despite what some of the stereotypes about Romanians make you believe.

And even up there in the mountains, chances to encounter a living bear are minimal, despite the recent increase in sightings.

So overall we can say that you shouldn’t be too worried about running into a bear during your trip into one of Romania’s cities.

Still, you should be as cautious as you can, especially if you go trekking or hiking up the forests.

Usually, reports of bear sightings are sent quickly via phones and bears are dealt with quickly by the authorities and the overall numbers are still low.

It was a coincidence that we had some serious attacks in just a few days in the past year and definitely not the norm – but as it usually happens, the media blew this out of proportion

Final words

If you were planning to visit Romania, don’t put those plans of hold because of the fear of brown bears. Instead, follow my recommended itinerary to enjoy the country at maximum levels and know that chances of being attacked by a bear (or even seeing one are minimal).

Of course, if you really want to be 100% safe, simply stay away from the mountain regions to avoid the wild animals. But even there, I repeat, chances of running into a bear are as close to zero as possible.

I personally consider the stray dogs a bigger problem, and not the brown bears.

Follow me

Share if you liked this!

7 thoughts on “Bears in Romania: Are They a Real Threat?”

  1. Yes, we have a bear problem in the USA, too. Well, it shouldn’t be a problem because bears have just as much right to live their lives as people do. Humans could learn a lot about mothering from mama bears. Most of the dangerous encounters here are because of stupid humans being stupid humans. Otherwise, a lot of non-threatening encounters are the bears getting into cars looking for food (‘tho they leave the cars in tatters) or the bears jumping into backyard pools for a cool off.
    Just don’t ever mess with a mama bear’s cubs!!! That’s a sure recipe for disaster.
    Sadly, some people in the national parks are tempting fate by feeding and even teasing bears. This illegal, but humans being humans…. Also, if a bear becomes dependent on humans for food, or shows no fear of humans, they are sometimes euthanized. (I don’t understand that.) So, long and short: leave the bears alone. Let them live their lives, and the humans live theirs.
    Is our Romanian monitor back home from his Greek vacay?

      • “C the Greek”! I won’t bother you while you’re still on vacay! Wow, that’s
        quite a long one, though! Can’t wait for a picture-filled trip report on one of your MANY excellent blog sites;-)

  2. Bears are becoming a big problem in a lot of places. Imagine, my fear used to be coyotes when l lived in L.A! This is worse. My husband loves watching the YouTube videos of the people that keep them as pets, mostly in Romania and Russia. Playing with fire l say. No thank you, I will stick with city living… Enjoy the rest of your holiday.

    • I still have a picture with a bear that I took sometime in high school. I’m not sure I would do it again today, but probably the offer would still be on the table. Wild animals should be out there in the wild and left alone, indeed.

  3. I spent a week in Targu Mures, Transylvania in May.
    I didn’t see any bears (apart from the excellent zoo they have there!) .
    However my wife went for a beauty treatment and was chatting with the beautician about the best area to buy a property in Targu Mures.
    The beautician warned her against buying in certain areas of Targu Mures as they had issues with bears. Whether this is correct I don’t know, but in general I would trust a local person with information like that as there was no point in her not telling the truth.


Leave a Comment