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Bear Roaming in Pest County – Is It the Only One?

Júlia Tar 2022.06.10.

The same bear has probably appeared in several places in Pest County in recent weeks, but may not be the only one, 24.hu reports. The news site talked to Dr. László Patkó, wildlife biologist and Head of the Large Carnivores Program of WWF Hungary on the occasion of the emergence of the bear.

Aszód, Acsa, Iklad, Kartal – four settlements in Pest County not far from the capital where bears have been seen recently.

“It is well known that the brown bear disappeared from the territory of Hungary prior to the Trianon Treaty, among other things due to intensive persecution. However, thanks to decades of conservation and wildlife management efforts, the population in Slovakia (too) has started to increase significantly. The cubs stay with their mothers until they are two to three years old, after which they take to the wild and seek their own territory. These stray animals migrate to the northern mountains of our country, which are directly linked to their habitats in the Carpathians,” Dr. László Patkó, wildlife biologist and Head of the Large Carnivores Program of WWF Hungary said.

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In the case of the bear in Pest County, the available records suggest that in our case, it is the same specimen at each of the local sites. The animal itself does not appear to be a cub, but neither is it a full-grown adult bear at its full potential.

This does not mean that this is the only specimen roaming in our country or even in the area of the Cserehát. Last year, an animal was spotted here, and today we know of at least one other bear in the Bükk area, Patkó said.

Cserehát is a suitable habitat for bears, and the sightings in Pest County can be seen as the foothills of the mountain range. Moreover,

In a field of several 10 hectares of agricultural land, it can find rest and plenty of food for weeks or months. Even measurable economic damage can be caused by a bear roaming in a crop field for an extended period,”

emphasized the biologist. In the longer term, agricultural land is not suitable for the animals, with them retreating into the forest as human activity becomes more active on the land.

In the Aggtelek Karst area, field experts already found a mother bear in early spring, which is interesting because of the timing. Mothers give birth to their cubs in the winter after waking up from hibernation, and they cannot yet travel long distances with cubs only a few months old. Thus, the traces of a cub in early spring dozens of kilometers from the border may or may not mean that the cub was born on Hungarian territory.

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In many cases, humans themselves “lure” bears to their territory by littering, and dumping waste in forests and woodlands, which provide food for the bears. Such sources need to be eliminated to avoid conflicts and to prevent bears from habituating to humans. However, they generally avoid humans, except for attacks by a mother protecting her cub or a surprised, cornered animal.

Featured image: illustration via Pixabay


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