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Bears in the Bieszczady Mountains. They are easier to spot than deer. Foresters warn: they may be irritated

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Bears may pose a threat to tourists who plan to relax in the Bieszczady Mountains. This year, there have been incidents involving these mammals in several towns in the Podkarpacie region. As experts explained, animals awakened from hibernation may be irritated.

Tourists who come to the Bieszczady Mountains for the May long weekend should watch out not only for weather conditions, but also for bears. In recent days, recordings have appeared online showing bears walking around two villages in Podkarpacie – Tarnawa Dolna (Zagórz commune) and Bykowce (Sanok commune). The animals were looking for food in household garbage containers. There was also a bear attack in mid-March in Liptovský Mikułaš, Slovakia.

The Zagórz commune authorities have already recorded over 70 incidents involving wild animals, including bears, this year. The local government obtained consent from the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection in Rzeszów to capture and move the animal to another area. The authorities of the Sanok commune also received permission from the Regional Directorate for Environmental Protection to scare away the animal.

An increasingly common sight

As explained by the spokesman of the Regional Directorate of State Forests (RDLP) in Krosno, Edward Marszałek, said that bears are looking for food after wintering. – This is also a time when they can be irritated – he added.

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The Marshal pointed out that bears are increasingly seen in places inhabited by people. This is due to, for example, composters at home or food leftovers left in garbage bins. This, he added, means that bears sense the smell of food, know where to look for it and become accustomed to people and their smell.

– The process of synanthropization occurs, i.e. these predators begin to lose their natural fear of humans. Bears have always had this reflex. Just 20-30 years ago, seeing a teddy bear in the Bieszczady Mountains was an exception. Today, it's easier to meet a bear or a wolf than a deer, he said.

How to behave during a meeting?

The spokesman emphasized that tourists who will come to the Bieszczady Mountains for the May weekend and walk on the trails should be careful. He explained that attacks on people most often occur in spring, when she-bears and their cubs leave their dens. It is worth remembering that a bear does not attack humans, but when we surprise it, it defends its territory.

– When deep in the forest, in areas where bears live, do not remain absolutely silent. For example, while walking along the trail, let's talk or whistle, the spokesman said.

According to RDLP data, there are about 150 bears living in the Bieszczady Mountains.

Map of the distribution of brown bears in Europe“Distribution of large carnivores in Europe 2012 – 2016: Distribution maps for Brown bear, Eurasian lynx, Gray wolf, and Wolverine”

Main photo source: Shutterstock

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