Police and animal rights activists on Tuesday were investigating the deadly shooting of a female brown bear and her cub found in a wooded area in Kastoria near the Greek-Albanian border.
The northern Greece-based bear conservation group Arcturos was alerted by police after the grizzly discovery of the dead female bear and her cub, whose body also bore gunshot wounds.
The investigators believe that the 150-kilogram female bear was shot on a nearby road several times with a hunting rifle and that her body was subsequently dragged into the woods. The 40-kilo cub is thought to have been injured by gunfire and to have died beside its mother's body.
The killing of the two bears took place in a remote area that has no residences or livestock farms nearby, Arcturos noted.
"This is the first time in Arcturos's 21 years of operation that we have seen such a heinous case of murder of a mother and baby bear," the animal conservation group said in a statement. "Other than its environmental dimension, this case also surpasses all moral boundaries."
The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is considered an endangered species and is protected under Greek law. Its killing carries a jail sentence.