Bear mauls British woman's arm after she tries to take selfie through car window

Bear looking through car window in Romania
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A British woman says she was "very, very lucky" after she was mauled by a bear while trying to take a selfie with the animal on vacation in Romania. Moira Gallacher, aged 72, was attacked after rolling down her car window to get a better picture of herself with the animal.

Gallacher was driving through the Carpathian Mountains with a friend, Charmian Widdowson, when they came across an adult brown bear and a cub at the roadside. They took pictures of the adult animal from her friend's side of the car, but Gallacher explained that she was unable to get the shot she wanted.

"I didn't get a proper picture," she told Scottish news site STV News in an interview from her sickbed after the attack, "so we went back and it was at my side."

As she wound down her window to get a better shot, the bear reared up on its hind legs and bit her hand, then mauled her arm.

Widdowson drove off and took Gallacher to nearby Curtea de Argeș Municipal Hospital hospital, where she is being treated for wounds to her hand. 

Gallacher remained in good spirits, and told reporters she was "a lucky woman" to have avoided more serious injuries. Widdowson credited her friend's warm clothing for protecting Gallacher from the animal's teeth.

"She was wearing a thick Marks and Spencer jacket and the poor bear got more jacket than arm," Widdowson said.

“The shock has set in today, but everything’s OK now," Gallacher added.

Bears are a common sight in rural Romania, and several travel operators run wildlife-watching tours to give visitors a better look at the animals, but critics of the government's strict hunting policies say not enough is being done to control the bear population.

As Politico explained in an article last year, the issue could be an important factor for many voters during the Romanian parliamentary election this December.

Attacks on humans increased last summer, partly due to bears becoming habituated and seeking out food from settlements after being fed by tourists.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.