Foresters have come across traces of bear activity in the south-eastern Bieszczady in the San and Solinka valleys, marking the end of winter hibernation for some of the region’s estimated 150 bears.
“Bears which have just come out of hibernation may be dangerous to humans,” reminds Edward Marszałek, spokesman for the Regional Directorate of State Forests (Lasy Państwowe – LP) in Krosno told the PAP news agency.
“For the successive time it seems that old bears hibernate only in a known and popular dens, and during this winter they didn’t come out only when temperatures dropped to the negative teens Celsius,” Marszałek said.
The bears were recorded a number of times by hidden cameras set up by foresters, with the ursine marauders regularly appearing on forest trails and logging tracks. A number were also caught pinching food from hay-racks during the winter months.
The number of bears in the south-eastern Podkarpacie region has grown six-fold since the 1970s.
“Some 40 years ago there were merely 20 and only appeared in the Bieszczady,” Marszałek said, adding that “a quarter of a century ago there were 50, while ten years ago there were 100”.
Currently in south-eastern Poland – chiefly in the Bieszczady, Beskid Niski and the Przemyśl lowlands – there are some 150 bears comprising 90 percent of Poland’s total ursine population.
According to LP spokesman Marszałek, the “high number of fauna, including bears, proves the good state of forests in the Podkarpacie region” which are “one of the most important domestic refuges for wild animals”.
Adult European brown bears are omnivorous and can reach up to 300 kg and live up to 50 years.