Villagers declare war against ‘smart’ bears, ask for increased hunting quota
ARTVİN – Doğan News Agency
Villagers in Artvin can't bear their wild guests. DHA file photoSmart is the new evil. At least, that’s what locals in rural areas of Artvin say. Villagers in the pristine valleys of the northeastern province have declared war against wild bears in the area, blaming their intelligence for the damage inflicted on their farms. The locals argue that there are not enough security measures to keep the bears out of their plantations and that even solar energy-powered wire fences are not sufficient to protect their property.
“These bears are so smart that they place a tree to stand on in order to jump over the fence into the garden,” said one local near the village of Sümbüllü.
In order to deal with the bears’ damage to their plantations, villagers have applied to local authorities to increase the hunting quota of bears, which are among Turkey’s legally protected species.
Sümbüllü’s village head man Işık Şahinbaş claimed that the bears had attacked and killed their own animals. “We are astonished about this situation. The population of bears has risen this year in our village,” said Şahinbaş, justifying the petition.
He said he had personally traveled to Ankara to request a meeting with Forestry and Water Affairs Minister Veysel Eroğlu, but eventually applied to local authorities, which conveyed the opinion to Ankara.
According to the ministry, the hunting quota in the province is limited to eight bears, a figure that Sümbüllü residents say is too low for such “smart animals.”
Artvin is home to the must untouched mountains and valleys of the entire Black Sea region. Along with neighboring Rize, the region shelters an important bear population, and efforts to take an inventory of the bears have been ongoing for years.