June 19, 2013
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New camera-trap footage from the Caucasus Wildlife Refuge in Armenia, has captured rare footage of a Syrian Brown Bear (Ursus arctos syriacus), a subspecies of Brown Bear native to Eurasia. This is an important recording as there may be just one or two bears in this reserve and the animals are listed as vulnerable in Armenia. The exact population of this subspecies is unknown and likely to be declining due to poaching, habitat destruction and diminishing sources of food in the wild.
Agriculture, mining and quarrying are some of the reasons for their habitat destruction, and bears damaging bee hives and orchards is the main cause of conflict with local farmers. According to the Foundation for Preservation of Wildlife and Cultural Assets Program Director Barbara Siebert, “CWR is so important because we provide an area free from conflict for wildlife such as bears. We also plant wild fruit and nut trees to encourage bears to use the protected area rather than farmland.”
FPWC uses camera-trap images to assess population numbers of wildlife, and numbers are compared year to year to show if they are increasing. Additionally, images of injured animals may be a sign of poaching and will prompt greater security in a particular area of the refuge.