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If You go Down in the Woods Today.......

The population of the Brown bear in Bulgaria has grown since the late 1950’s, when it was widely hunted  and considered harmful.


These days it is a protected species  across  Bulgaria and has an  estimated population of 850, but some reports say up to 1000. They live in quiet ,peaceful mountainous areas  and are widespread  in all the mountain ranges of Bulgaria, Pirin, Rila, Rhodopi ,Vitosha and Stara Planina. The behaviour in relation to people is peaceful , but possible attack can happen if :

1 The bear is injured
2 A female has cubs
3 In self defence

Some Interesting basic facts of the  Bulgarian Brown bear  are as follows:  Its  latin
name is Ursas Arctos, and  they can grow  up to  2.5 metres long and weigh up to
250kg, they can climb, swim and run. After eating fruit, berries and grasses and
beehives or stray cattle during  the summer months,  they hibernate throughout the
winter in sheltered crevices  and  caves. It  mates around may and June  and gives
birth around January  and can have 1-3 cubs. These  are born blind and gain sight after
30 days . The bear cubs stay with  mum  for  2 years, making breeding again only
possible after this time so slowing the breeding population .They can be both
carnivorous and herbivorous.

There have been incidents in Bulgaria of bear attacks probably due to the increasing
numbers now that are found around the country. In May of this year in Bulgaria a man
was  killed because it was dark and weather conditions were bad, so causing poor
visibility,  and  he did not realise he was so close to the animal. The animal 
although  a protected species in Bulgaria ,  was given permission by local authorities 
to be  hunted by rangers and killed , but this only happens when killing of a human is
proven.  In  July a woman was seriously  attacked and injured when out in the forest
picking mushrooms and is still stable in hospital. These are thought to be isolated
cases and have occured in the same area of  Smolyan in southern Bulgaria.
Confrontation  where by villagers and bears reside in the same environment  is making
the locals anxious  when  going ahead with their daily lives of picking herbs and
mushrooms and herding live stock.    Many Bulgarian  people  are employed  in the 
logging industry in forests, as wood is the main source of fuel  for  heating
throughout Bulgaria, and it is the only way of life that they know and these people
have spent their whole lives living  this way ,in harmony with their population of this
fascinating species-The Bulgarian Brown Bear!

Photo by courtesy of: Gray M Stolz-USFWS