AS PART OF a management plan to reduce problems that stem from the coexistence of bears and people, new garbage receptacles that lock properly have been supplied by the Muránska Planina nature reserve, part of the National Park administration, to the municipalities of Tisovec, Muránska Huta and Pohronská Polhora in central Slovakia.
“These receptacles are meant for municipal waste, but unlike ordinary ones they can be closed securely, Milan Boroš, head of the National Park, told the TASR newswire. "People can easily handle the closing mechanism but a bear cannot; they can even be locked when needed. We instructed the heads of these municipalities and they will instruct residents. It is crucial that people put their waste only into these receptacles and then close them carefully. If bears don’t find anything to eat, they will stop coming.”
The receptacles were distributed in autumn when the bears were already preparing for their winter hibernation, but since autumn was quite long and warm this year many bears continued feeding for a longer time than usual.
“We don’t expect to see the effect of the new receptacles in autumn or early winter. It will instead be effective in spring when bears wake up from hibernation and want to regain energy as soon as possible. Then we will also start monitoring the sites where the new receptacles are placed and see whether they are used in the right way. Sorting out waste remains the best prevention against visits by bears,” Boroš added.
At a meeting in Liptovský Hrádok held in mid October, foresters, municipal representatives, veterinarians, officials from the Environment Ministry, environmentalists and hunters discussed ways to advance conflict-free cohabitation of bears and people. The meeting confirmed that a growing population of bears in Slovakia and a shrinking natural habitat for them is forcing the bears to become more daring and come closer to municipalities. The participants agreed that a compromise must be found that will attempt to keep the protected animals out of villages and towns so that people are not endangered. But the participants also agreed that bears should not be killed, chased from Slovakia, or captured and brought to a restricted living environment.
Two days of training led by Croatian bear expert Djuro Huber followed the meeting, TASR wrote.
12. Dec 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská