Monday, November 30, 2020
   
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- Why are bears important in the wild?

In the past, brown bears roamed the forests and mountains of almost the entire European continent. Today, the brown bear is but a fading memory or, at best, a featured attraction in zoos across Western Europe, where natural forests are also a thing of the past. The stable bear population in Bulgaria is a precious part of the country's natural resources. It is a sign of a healthy, productive forest environment, rich in herbs, mushrooms, forest fruits and wild animals.

The brown bear is a very important disseminator of fruit seeds. It feeds mostly on plants, roaming large territories and thus scattering undigested plant seeds all over the place.

As hunters, bears cull the weak and sickly animals, thus contributing to natural selection. As scavengers, bears clean up dead animal carcasses, which would otherwise pollute the forest environment and spread disease.

Bears need large, naturally conserved spaces to roam and multiply. Their breeding grounds are the home of many other wildlife species, no less important for keeping the delicate equilibrium of nature. Placing them under protection would result in protecting all of those other species, with the bears serving as an umbrella, for all of them in their natural habitats.

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What to do in an encounter with a bear?

What to do in an encounter with a bear? When crossing ‘bear country’, be sure to make sufficient noise – whether by talking, whistling, or stomping your feet – in order for bears to sense your presence from at least 30 meters away. If you move quietly, you may stumble upon a bear’s ‘personal space and startle it. Feeling under threat, the bear can react on an impulse and simply run over you before retreating. Usually you will get away with a bruise or two, some scratches and cuts and a big fright.

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