Yesterday afternoon, I took part in a compelling session on human bear interactions presented by Dr. Emre Can and a number of other bear specialists from across the globe.
Dr. Emre Can is a Turkish bear expert who advises WSPA and works for one of WSPA’s member societies called Doga Dernegi.
In the meeting we discussed how best to protect the remaining bear populations.
Emre has studied bears throughout Turkey and has the difficult task of assessing how many bears remain by studying their track and also how to help protect bears from being persecuted due to them destroying farm produce in their search for food.
Emre acts like a Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) agent and tracks the bears by looking for paw marks in the earth or a scratch mark from their claws on trees. Even bear fur on trees caught when they scratch their backs on them can provide a valuable clue.
Camera traps can also be used. These are set up along known bear routes and areas bears are known to frequent, but you would still need Emre’s CSI bear skills to figure out where to put the cameras.
The cameras are fixed to a tree and work remotely. When a bear (or any wild animal) passes the motion censor, the camera triggers and takes a photo. They even work at night too.
Using all of these methods together, Emre has estimated there are 2000-3000 bears left in the wild in Turkey. These are a species known as European Brown Bears, which I talked about in more detail in my previous post.