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Solina commune. One bear was caught and taken away, several new ones appeared. The mayor warns against predators

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The bear, which in Wołkowyja (Podkarpackie Voivodeship) entered the premises and then ate poultry and rabbits, was caught and transported outside the commune. But this – as emphasized by the commune head Adam Piątkowski – does not solve the problem, because several new individuals have appeared in the villages. A special intervention group has been dealing with their scaring and catching for several weeks. – The situation is dangerous – admits the mayor and appeals to residents and tourists to be careful.

The information that the bear was caught and transported was announced by the mayor of the Solina commune, Adam Piątkowski, in social media. For several weeks, a special intervention group has been operating in the commune, which deals with, among others, trapping problematic animals. – We put three cages in places where the she-bear did the most damage, we enticed and after a month and a half we managed to catch her and take her to another place – the mayor tells us.

As the mayor said in an interview with tvn24.pl, this is the same individual who has been living in the commune for over two years. Over the last few months, the bear appeared mainly in Wołkowyja, where she entered properties, forced the security of cages and chicken coops and ate rabbits and poultry, mainly chickens and pigeons.

We have a big problem with her. She was already caught and transported about a hundred kilometers from our commune, but after two weeks she returned. So I don’t know if this situation will not happen again – says Adam Piątkowski.

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Read also: A bear walks around the village, eats chickens and rabbits. “I feel at home”

In Wołkowyja, the bear sneaks onto the property and eats the animals Private archive/Justyna Domańska

In addition to the brown bear already known to the authorities and residents, new individuals have recently been observed in the commune. – There are several of them, about five, they appear in different places. They move between our and the neighboring commune – reports the mayor.

He adds that residents have also reported cases where they saw two bears in one place. This is the time when these predators mate. – They can be more dangerous in pairs – emphasizes the commune head.

They are not afraid of the bang. “They know they’re safe”

When predators approach the buildings, they are frightened by, among others, bang firecrackers, but as the mayor admits, this method has ceased to be effective. – Recently, a neighbor called me with information that he has a bear in the garden that came to wild strawberries. He tried to scare him off with firecrackers, but the bear just raised his head, looked at him and continued eating, our interlocutor reports.

The predator did not react to the larger, flash-bang firecracker either. – He went away only when he ate strawberries – says the commune head.

Adam Piątkowski: – For the last three years, bears have become accustomed to these methods of deterrence and no longer react to them. It turns out that these actions are ineffective. Bears are intelligent animals, they know that there is no danger to them from this side.

Therefore, the mayor once again appeals to residents and tourists to be careful. There are signs in the commune warning against bears, announcements are published on the website of the Commune Office in Solina and in social media. – We conduct actions, we inform and emphasize that the bear is not a teddy bear from Brzechwa, you have to be careful and react appropriately to be safe – emphasizes the mayor.

And he adds. – The bear is a wild animal, it can behave unpredictably and pose a threat to humans.

The intervention group will catch and scare bears

The intervention group referred to by the mayor was established in May under an agreement signed by the Municipality of Solina and the Regional Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management in Rzeszów (WFOŚiGW). They create, among others veterinarians, scientists, foresters and hunters. They will catch problematic animals and put collars equipped with a location system on them. This will allow you to keep track of their location. When he enters a built-up area, an intervention group will go to the place to scare the animal.

Thanks to the funding from the WFOŚiGW, which amounted to PLN 124,000, the Solina commune equipped the group with specialist equipment, including telemetry collars for bears and devices for their handling, camera traps, night vision devices, firearms for launching flares and firecrackers, and paintball markers with a set of balls to scare animals away.

The problem is that – as emphasized by Marek Pasiniewicz, vice-president of the Bieszczadziki Foundation – at which the intervention group was established, the resources available to them are not always effective.

– Last year we spent 625 hours in the field scaring away the problematic bear. We managed to scare her into the forest and stopped approaching the buildings. It was a young animal then, a paintball carbine was enough. This year, the same tools were no longer effective, because the animal grew older, gained weight and the shot from the carbine was no longer so painful for him – explains Marek Pasiniewicz.

The bear was caught and transported outside the commune (June 18, 2023) Bieszczady Foundation

Read also: Blank guns, firecrackers and flares. They will scare the wolves that come near the houses

In the Tatra National Park, bears can be scared away with special weapons and ammunition with rubber bullets. Members of the Bieszczady group also applied for such permission MIAbut they didn’t receive it. – Our hands are tied. We have hunters who have the right equipment, but we do not have permission to use it – adds our interlocutor.

– In the Tatra National Park it works like this. When the wild animal once again enters the built-up area, it is caught, equipped with a telemetry collar and released away from the built-up area. Thanks to a special application and a transmitter in the collar, you can monitor where the bear is on an ongoing basis. When the animal approaches the buildings, the intervention team goes to the site and shoots rubber bullets at it. The animal starts to associate this place with pain and stops coming back to it, explains Pasiniewicz.

About bears on the safety committee

But – as Pasiniewicz emphasizes – according to the regulations, only the police can use these weapons. – We are in touch. We are trying to develop procedures for dealing with crisis situations. The situation is quite complicated, but I think we are going in the right direction – admitted the vice-president of Bieszczadzików. And he added: We try to do everything not to shoot these bears.

Katarzyna Fechner, press officer of the Poviat Police Headquarters in Lesko, in an interview with tvn24.pl, assured that uniformed officers would intervene in any situation where property, safety, health or life of people would be at risk.

– The commander (of the Lesko police, editor’s note) sent a letter to the Lesko starost to convene a security commission, the subject of which will be the issue of the threat from wild animals, especially bears – the uniformed officer reported.

The meeting is scheduled for June 27.

Read too A bear walks the streets of Nowy Sącz. Authorities are urging people to stay at home

A bear at the cemetery in Wołkowyja Pawel Debinski

Prevention and education needed

But even the best procedures will not be effective if residents and tourists do not follow a few rules. First of all – what foresters and naturalists have been calling for for years – garbage containers and compost bins should be properly secured, because the remains of food thrown there attract animals.

Apiaries and animal farms should also be properly secured – chicken coops, dovecotes, rabbit cages, etc. – The Solina commune managed to obtain funds for the purchase of electric shepherds. We inform residents how to properly secure livestock, but these safeguards are not always created. Therefore, our group, apart from trying to reduce the undesirable behavior of wild animals, will educate the public, because only when the activities are carried out in two ways, there is a chance to reduce the number of conflict events involving wild animals – concludes Marek Pasiniewicz.

Read also: “When they sense fear, they can be ruthless.” How to survive a bear encounter

He can kill a bear with one blow of his paw

The brown bear has been under strict protection in Poland since 1952. According to estimates, since the beginning of the 1970s, its number in Podkarpacie has increased more than six times. 40 years ago there were less than 20 of them and they were only found in the Bieszczady Mountains. A quarter of a century later, there were already 50 of them, and in the first years of this century – 100.

Currently, there are nearly 200 of these predators in south-eastern Poland, mainly in the Bieszczady Mountains, Beskid Niski and the Przemyśl Foothills. This is 90 percent of the Polish population.

Bears can be dangerous to humans when we surprise them in their natural habitat. Mothers with young can be particularly dangerous, as they can pose a deadly threat in defense of their offspring. An adult specimen, when standing upright on its hind legs, is over three meters tall and can weigh up to half a ton. Such a bear can kill with one paw strike.

In order to avoid meeting a bear, you should only move along marked trails. Avoid evening, lonely trips in the woods. Do not enter dense thickets (young trees, crops) where these predators may reside.

However, if you encounter a bear, do not run away, make sudden movements or look the animal in the eye, as this may provoke it to attack. It’s best to slowly, carefully back away. However, if a predator attacks, you should lie flat on the ground, press your belly to the ground with your hands covering your neck and head.

Bears on trails, in villages and towns

Bears on trails, in villages and townsTVN24

Main photo source: Pawel Debinski

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