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We are not aware of any cases in Slovakia of a bear injuring a child. We live in bear country and have been taking our son Matúš with us to the mountains since he was a baby. Like us, he really enjoys picking biberries or raspberries and looking for mushrooms. We always keep careful watch, however, and stay close together in a group in areas where there could be bears.

Bears will usually avoid you if they know you are there, but they might not always notice you, for example in dense vegetation, in mist or fog, near running water, or if you are walking into the wind. If you cannot see clearly in front of you and around to a distance of at least 50 metres, increase your vigilance. Before going further, make some noise (e.g. whistle, clap): this gives any bear enough time and space to leave the area. If you keep together in a group, a bear has more chance of detecting your presence in advance and is more likely to leave.

If you live or go on holiday in an area with bears it is important to avoid attracting them. Smells from food and refuse, but also compost or waste water from cooking, are strong attractants. That's why it is important to store them so that bears cannot get to them. The smell of ripe or rotting fruit sometimes attracts bears into orchards or gardens. Fruit should be picked as it ripens and any rotting fruit cleared away or an electric fence can be used to keep bears out.