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    Foresters warn of bears. They also recall the history of the “long-distance traveller”

    Along with the warming, bears come out of their lairs. Some of them are lured with kitchen scraps left near houses in Zakopane and its surroundings. In this context, naturalists explain how to behave when encountering the largest mammals of the Tatra Mountains. They also recall the extraordinary performance of one of them.

    Spring is a period of intense activity of bears, which have emerged from their lairs after 3-4 months of wintering. When bears awaken from hibernation, they search for food to replenish their fat reserves. This is linked to their walks outside the Tatra National Park (TPN), where they can find little vigorous food at this time of year. In the mountains, for example, a bear can find animal carcasses that appear under the snowmelt or the bodies of chamois that have been killed by avalanches.



    As Jan Krzeptowski-Sabała of the TPN said, the presence of bears near houses was not new at that time of year, but residents of settlements near forests or bordering a national park should adequately protect their garbage cans.


    “The bears are being attracted by the smells of human food leftovers and we observe their activity in the area of settlements in Zakopane, Kościelisko or Bukowina Tatrzańska. It is better to protect our garbage, our garbage and our compost appropriately so that bears do not learn to eat the leftovers of human food. It is a wild animal and should find food in nature. We need to know the bears are nearby,” Krzeptowski-Sabała said.


    The naturalist advises whenever you meet a bear near houses, leave it alone and keep your distance.


    “This is a wild animal that is afraid of man, but when surprised, it may feel in danger and attack to protect itself or its offspring. If you see a bear, you have to keep a reasonable distance and notify the services of the Tatra National Park,” appealed Krzeptowski-Sabala.


    Problematic animals approaching human buildings more and more courageously are attached to collars with transmitters, and their movements are tracked by naturalists at TPN. When such a bear approaches a settlement, the park officials react in time and drive it away with rubber bullets.


    “It is the job of the TPN services to prevent wild animals from becoming accustomed to the presence of humans, so their movements are monitored thanks to the collar. If we notice that it’s getting too close to the settlements, it’ll be chased away. The point is that the bear does not associate the place with a portion of simple food in the form of kitchen waste, but rather with a deterrent. Then it will associate his natural fear with humans,” Jan Krzeptowski-Sabala explained.


    With telemetry collars, the naturalists at TPN know the far-reaching migrations of bears.


    In 2015, a bear named Iwo had a very long journey. He travelled from the vicinity of Zakopane via Slovakia to Hungary, then returned to Bieszczady, switched to the Ukrainian side and migrated to the Romanian border. The long-distance wanderer repeated his path three more times.


    Brown bears are the largest mammals in the Tatras. They feed mainly on plant foods such as forest fruits, mushrooms, herbs and shrubs as well as carrion. When they have accumulated enough fat reserves, they form a so-called lair, in which they usually sleep from November to March.


    Every two years, a female bear gives birth to one to three cubs in the lair, which remain in the mother’s care for one and a half years. Adult animals weigh about 300 kg and live up to 50 years. In Poland, the bears are under strict protection and their main support is the Bieszczady.




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