Tourists drowned a young brown bear to protect themselves from the animal's attack, while hiking in the Tatra National Park in southern Poland.
Park rangers in the Tatra National Park found the body of the 40-kilogram (88-pound) brown bear on Sunday and informed local police, who launched an investigation into the death, said Monika Krasnicka-Bros, a spokeswoman for police in the southern town of Zakopane.
Police questioned six tourists, aged between 24 and 31, who were hiking in the park Sunday. The tourists said they had drowned the bear in a stream after it tried to attack them in the snow-covered Iwaniacka Pass, Krasnicka-Bros said.
The group said they had tried to distract the nearly 2-year-old bear by throwing some bread rolls in its direction, she said.
Prosecutors in Zakopane opened a criminal investigation against the six on suspicion of killing a protected animal, Krasnicka-Bros said. If convicted, they could face up to two years in prison.
Filip Zieba, a park ranger in the Tatra National Park questioned the tourists' account of the encounter with the animal, one of an estimated 60 that live in the park and enjoy status of a protected species.
"On the basis of the bear's footprints in the snow one can say that there were no signs of an attack," Zieba said.