Monday, June 17, 2024
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The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is an animal species of national, European and global conservation significance, protected by force of Directive 92/43/ЕС on Habitats, the Bern Convention (on Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats), as well as CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species).

In terms of the size of its viable bear population, Bulgaria ranks third in Europe, alongside Romania, Finland and Sweden. In this country, the brown bear is a protected species under the Biological Diversity Act, a peace of legislation adopted in concert with the modern legal framework of civilized Europe. Furthermore, the bear has been declared a priority wildlife species that requires strict protection of its habitats, and the setting up of protected areas in the National Environmental Network, part of the NATURA 2000 European Network.

The ongoing demographic changes in Bulgaria: depopulation of rural areas, ageing and gradual impoverishment of the inhabitants of mountainous and semi-mountainous areas where brown bears have their habitats; declining agricultural activity in the farming belts around once populous communities; intensive logging, construction and mass tourism; the low level of urbanization of some of these communities; heightened private interests in hunting estates and the tendency to use state-of-the-art long-range hunting or even combat weapons for hunting purposes; the increased mobility of people around the mountains – all of these are factors contribute to the disturbance of brown bears. People invade bear territory, facing a risk of a direct encounter with wild bears, to whom human rules do not apply.

This website was designed to provide accessible, truthful, useful and scientifically based information about the animal species brown bear and its habitats in Bulgaria, and thus, to contribute to the proper awareness of legislators and stakeholders alike, necessary for the development and implementation of modern, European rules for its conservation.

The site is intended to satisfy the broadest public interest and demand for relevant information about the brown bear, while showing the local community and Bulgarian society as a whole that coexistence with that valuable wildlife species is not only possible, but rich in potential economic benefits for creating livelihood for the local communities and areas where the bear population is intact.

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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