Bear mutilation, bat shootings spur outrage

Wildlife protection groups were up in arms yesterday following the discovery of the mutilated remains of a brown bear in a forest in Elassona, central Greece. The bear, a protected animal according to Greek and European law, had been shot and three of its paws, along with its lower jaw, had been removed. The bear died early this month, a veterinarian said. Forestry officials are seeking the perpetrators. Meanwhile in Cyprus conservationists demanded action following the virtual annihilation by unidentified gunmen of a local colony of Egyptian fruit bats, another protected mammal. Dozens of bats were found dead in a fenced-off cave near Paphos, western Cyprus. The perpetrators may have shot the bats «for fun» or due to a misconception of them as pests, experts said. There are some 3,500 Egyptian fruit bats left on Cyprus.