Tourist's Attempt to Take Photo With Bear Goes Very Badly

Scotland's Moira Gallacher is lucky to be alive after ursine encounter while vacationing in Romania
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2024 11:51 AM CDT

Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see? In this case perhaps, "I see a tourist bothering me." That's after a vacation in Romania's Carpathian Mountains went horribly awry for one woman after she tried to take a picture of one of the resident omnivores. Per STV News, Scotland's Moira Gallacher and a friend were exploring near Vidraru Dam on Monday, in southern Arges County, when they spotted a "gorgeous" mother bear and her cub, the friend, Charmian Widdowson, tells the outlet.

Widdowson says she rolled a car window down so she and Gallacher could take some photos. "I thought he wanted to be friends," Widdowson says. The mama bear had other, nonfriendly ideas, however, reaching into the open window to grab hold of Gallacher's arm and bite her. What Gallacher says saved her? Her Marks & Spencer outerwear. "I was wearing a padded jacket and a top and another top—that's what saved my arm," she tells STV, calling herself "very, very lucky."

The two drove away from the scene, and Gallacher was taken to the hospital by ambulance. Hospital officials say she sustained bite wounds to her right hand; she was set to have been discharged on Wednesday. The Telegraph reports that Romania claims the most brown bears in all of Europe, other than Russia, with numbers ranging between 6,000 and 8,000. The nation's Environment Ministry says there were more than 150 bear attacks against people, 14 of them fatal, between 2016 and 2021. STV notes that the brown bear, which can weigh more than 750 pounds and tower 7 feet tall, is an expert climber and can sprint at speeds of 30mph. (More bear attack stories.)

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