The Slovenia Times

Bears reproducing well in Slovenia


According to the head of the research, Tomaž Skrbinšek, the study indicates that the number of bears stands between 533 and 598.

In the survey, bears were monitored and counted based on their DNA found in their excrements, hair or saliva.

The area scanned was larger than in 2007, and also included Croatia. Between September and December 2015, 4,700 samples were taken on 19,000 square kilometres.

A total of 2,500 people took part in the project, including foresters and hunters.

The study is still ongoing, as the figures about the population of bear in Croatia are still being processed.

Recent hike in bear sightings has also spurred a debate in the public about how to manage the numbers of the protected beast.

According to Damjan Oražem of the Slovenian Forest Service, the goal of the project is to help find the best model to manage the bear population in the future.

"We as society have to decide with how many bears we can live. We can bring down their number or people can increase their tolerance," Skrbinšek said.

The Forest Service envisages the removal of 108 bears from their natural habitat in the future, 88 of which would be killed. Given the new data, this figure is now likely to rise to some 150 removals.

The project coordinator, Rok Černe, said the goal was to reduce the number of conflicts with bears. He pointed to various measures such as preventing bears access to human food, including by building bear-safe composts and fences.

Bears, one of the three great beasts living in Slovenia aside from wolf and lynx, are becoming a major attraction as tourists come to Slovenia from around the world to go on photo hunts in hope of sighting the animal in its natural habitat.

Skrbinšek believes that with the right kind of strategy bear could turn into an economic asset rather being perceived as a disturbance. "It would not be bad to set the rules from tourism in this field in the way that would not harm the bear," he said.


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