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.