Human-brown bear conflicts in Artvin, northeastern Turkey: encounters, damage, and attitudes

Type Journal Article - Ursus
Title Human-brown bear conflicts in Artvin, northeastern Turkey: encounters, damage, and attitudes
Volume 19
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2008
Page numbers 146-153
Abstract: The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is the largest carnivore in Turkey and has been legally
protected since 2003. However, increasing levels of conflict between brown bears and humans
have been reported for several regions, especially for Artvin in northeastern Turkey. We
documented the conflict in an attempt to understand human attitudes and responses and
evaluate existing and potential damage prevention techniques. The study was conducted within
landscapes at different scales, ranging from a core area defined by a large valley system to the
whole of the Artvin Province. Data on close encounters, injuries, and damage caused were
collected through government records, published literature, and open-ended interviews with the
local people. On more than two-thirds of close encounters recorded, no harm occurred to bear
or people. Bear attacks on humans were rare and only occasionally led to non-fatal injuries.
Nevertheless, several bears were shot and killed in the study area during the study (2002–2005),
apparently as a consequence of damage experienced by farmers. Interviews indicated a
widespread belief that bears have become more of a problem. Bear damage was reported mostly
in late summer for field crops and orchards and in spring for beehives. Precautions taken by
villagers relied mostly on locally available technologies and varied in effectiveness against bears.
We propose that introduction and implementation of modern techniques of exclusion such as
portable electric fences around valuable resources (e.g. bee yards), improvements in bear
awareness, and effective cooperation among various stakeholders would reduce human–bear
conflict to acceptable levels in the region.

Related studies