The operation of radio tagging a bear that has been regularly approaching Variko was successfully completed.
The operation began on the evening of June 20th, following repeated incidents of damages to chicken coops. After a week, the animal was captured, radio-tagged and reintroduced to a forested area away from the village. It is a female, approximately 8 years old and weighing around 130 kg.
The process of trapping, anaesthetizing, transporting and reviving the animal in a new area, is a practice that is applied internationally and in the majority of cases is effective, as it causes the animal the necessary shock to avoid approaching human-populated areas. The monitoring of the bear’s movements will be done via a GSM/GPS radio collar on a daily basis by the Forestry Directorate of Florina and the Environmental Organisation CALLISTO. If the animal approaches a settlement in the future, the data from the radio collar will make its position known, facilitating its repulsion.
For the trapping, a transportable special bear cage trap (culvert trap) was initially installed, which could be easily transported in case the bear was doing damage near another settlement. The first phase of the operation was carried out with the participation of employees from the Forestry Directorate of Florina, KOMATH, the Police Department of Amyntaio and the Environmental Organizations ARKTOUROS and CALLISTO. After a few days with no results in terms of trapping and with the bear not seeming to have moved away from Variko, some traps with a special wire rope (Aldrich type) were also set. Finally, the animal was caught in the early hours of June 27th and was radio-tagged by employees of the CALLISTO Environmental Organization and the Laboratory of Microbiology and Parasitology of the Department of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Thessaly, in the presence of officials from the Forestry Directorate of Florina.
Both the University of Thessaly, as well as CALLISTO and ARKTOUROS are partners in the European project “LIFE Bear-Smart Corridors” which aims to ensure the functionality of important corridors for the bear, the so-called “coexistence corridors”.
The “LIFE Bear-Smart Corridors” project is an international collaboration between partners from Greece, Italy and the Netherlands and is implemented in the Municipality of Amyntaio and the Municipalities of Trikala and Meteora. The Greek partners of the project include the Environmental Organizations “CALLISTO” and “ARKTOUROS”, the Development Company of Trikala KENAKAP S.A., the Municipality of Amyntaio and the Laboratory of Microbiology and Parasitology of the Department of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Thessaly. To learn more about the project you can visit its website here. For the latest news from the actions, you can follow the official pages of LIFE Bear-Smart Corridors on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.