STA, 22 June 2019 - An 80-year-old woman suffered moderate injuries when a female bear with cubs attacked her near her home in Vrh nad Želimljami, a village about 15 kilometres south of Ljubljana, early on Saturday morning, police said.
The woman was taken to the University Medical Centre in Ljubljana. She suffered only light injuries from the attack and was not bitten, but she fractured her hip when she fell to the ground, according to news portal 24ur.
Mitja Spindler, the head of the Škofljica Hunting Club, told 24ur that two elderly locals had heard what they thought were cries for help in the early morning hours and went outside.
When the woman entered the back yard, the bear came running towards her, knocked her over and started pouncing. The animal was scared away by the woman's husband when he started to scream for help.
According to Spindler, the animal had recently tried to attack a jogger in a nearby forest but he had a blank pistol on him and scared the animal away.
The authorities have activated a special Slovenia Forest Service task force trained to take out dangerous bears. The animal will be culled.
If her cubs are under a year old, they will be culled as well because they cannot survive alone. If they are older, they will be spared, according to Spindler.
The attack comes in the midst of heated debates about Slovenia's growing bear population, which is located mostly in the south-west of the country, although individual bears have been sighted on the outskirts of Ljubljana as well.
Just this week the National Assembly passed an emergency law to cull 200 bears and 11 wolves, its original culling decree having been successfully challenged by environmentalists in court.
The passage of the law was prompted by the increasingly frequent attack on livestock, which has triggered several protests by farmers.
Animal researchers support the cull as well, arguing that the population, now estimated to number 1000 animals, is too big for its own good, as frequent attacks risked undermining public acceptance of the species.
Attacks remain rare, however. One to two are recorded each year, and even then people mostly sustain moderate injuries. The last fatal case was recorded several decades ago.