WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Employees of the Bialowieza nature reserve in eastern Poland were searching for a male bison Monday after it injured a vacationer.
Local police chief, Tomasz Krupa, said that a 61-year-old man was hospitalized with injuries after he was attacked by the animal while taking an early morning walk in the Bialowieza Forest.
Head of the Bialowieza National Park, Michal Krzysiak, told The Associated Press that he later saw traces of a single large bison at the site, most probably a male. He said the man and the animal must have run into each other by an unlucky accident, among the low-growing shrubbery, and “being the larger of the two, the bison attacked the man.”
He said the bison, which are Europe's biggest mammals and under strict protection, are currently in the mating season, which makes them specially agitated and aggressive.
Some 770 bison live wild in the Bialowieza reserve and its neighborhood. There are some 1,800 bison in all of Poland and some 7,000 in the world.
Krzysiak said the attack was a rare occurrence as usually bison avoid humans.
The reserve's employees are looking for the animal in an effort to prevent similar occurrences, and to check the animal's condition.