Bulgaria Forms 'Rapid Reaction Force' to Crack Down on Killer Bears

Environment | August 14, 2010, Saturday // 13:06|  views

The Bulgarian government plans to resettle two bears away from the Smolyan District by October. Pictured: treatment of a brown bear by veterinarians in the Belitsa Park. Photo by BGNES

Following the several recent cases of killer bear raids, Bulgaria's Environment Ministry has announced the creation of a special task force to tackle “problematic bears”.

According to Deputy Environment Minister Evdokiya Maneva, the “rapid reaction force” will consist of experts from the ministries of environment and agriculture, and will be able to intervene immediately in new cases of killer bear attacks, including by providing for the swift hunting down of the “problematic” animals.

Maneva has defined “a problematic bear” as a bear that attacks livestock, not just people.

The decision for the rapid killed bear reaction force was made at the first meeting of an inter-institution council on bears, including representatives of various state institutions.

The “bear council” has set a goal to resettle two bears from the Smolyan District elsewhere in the country by the end of October. It is still unclear where the bears might be resettled but this will be done with the agreement of local residents, the Deputy Environment Minister explained.

The council on brown bears will get together in mid August to hammer out details of two bear census initiatives planned for end September and November.

The Environment Ministry projects are in response to the several attacks on domestic animals and people by brown bears in the Smolyan District located in the Rhodope Mountains, which have claimed one life.

On Friday environmental NGOs announced their own measures to help locals cope with the bear issue but emphasized the need to preserve the brown bears, including as a tourism asset.

"I personally have reservations with respect to the data submitted at present. I think that the population of brown bears in Bulgaria is higher," Agriculture Minister Miroslav Naydenov stated, speaking at the symbolic opening of Bulgaria's new hunting season on Saturday.  

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Tags: Smolyan District, bears, killer bear, Environment Ministry, Kutela, Malka Arda, Rhodope, Rhodopi Mountains, brown bear, domestic animals, Evdokiya Maneva, Bear Council


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