A bear in the garden – it doesn’t have to end badly. An eco-patrol will come to meet him in Spain. Before the bear even gets close to the buildings, it will encounter the guards, and they already have their own methods.
The key word in this story is “coexistence.” The point is for the baby bears to develop well and healthily, but also for people to feel safe. – They are very tall, have big heads and huge claws. When they walk on the sidewalk, it sounds like a woman clicking in high heels, says Maria de Los Angeles, a resident of Villarino del Sil.
In the north of Spain, in the Cantabrian Mountains, it is becoming easier to spot bears. Thirty years ago, only 60 individuals lived there. Today, thanks to the efforts of ecologists, the bear population has increased to over four hundred. This is great news, but it has serious consequences. In search of easily accessible food, bears come down from the mountains and get in the way and harm people. – As their population grew, we had to develop a monitoring system. It is the case everywhere in the world that the more bears there are, the more possible conflicts with people – notes Daniel Pinto from the “Bear Patrol” in the Cantabrian Mountains.
To resolve these conflicts peacefully, the Spanish established a special patrol to guard and scare away bears. More and more animals have managed to install GPS transmitters, so you know immediately when they get too close to buildings. – He goes into the yard, into the garden. It eats cherries and anything else it finds on the ground or in fruit trees. It didn’t do anything to us, but it comes very close to the house – says Paloma Asensio, a resident of Villaseca de Laciana.
There is also a 24-hour emergency number for residents of mountain towns, which they can call if they spot a predator. The patrol that arrives at the site is equipped with rubber bullet weapons and stations receiving signals from GPS transmitters. – GPS transmitters have greatly enriched our knowledge about bears. We know how they move, where they live, what their habits are, and this, in turn, allows our guards to act more effectively. It is easier for us to protect both people and animals – explains David Cubero.
Activities in Poland
Similar activities, but on a smaller scale, are also carried out in Poland. TPN estimates that about 50 bears live in our Tatra Mountains, although it must be remembered that these are animals that move quickly and efficiently and that know no borders. We have five individuals wearing telemetry collars – the most problematic ones, which most often appear within the borders of Zakopane.
One bear also has a camera on it. – We hope that thanks to these cameras we will be able to see the reaction of bears to the deterrence we carry out and to the preventive activities we carry out. This is a bit of a problem for now, because we haven’t managed to collect such materials yet. We will also look at the bears’ individual diet – explains Dr. Tomasz Zwojcz Kozica from the Tatra National Park.
TPN experts are taking part in an EU project that supports conflict-free coexistence of people and large predators in Central and Eastern Europe. Not only a bear, but also a wolf and a lynx.
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Main photo source: Reuters