Brown Bear - Menace to Yeghegis Community

Brown Bear - Menace to Yeghegis Community

Human-wildlife conflict has intensified in recent years in Vayots Dzor Region. Brown bears, red-listed in Armenia, cause great damage to farms, approaching even residential houses and threatening people's safety. On the other hand, the lack of food caused the brown bear to become the cause of the destruction of another red-listed species, the bezoar goat. The problem is especially evident in a number of settlements of Yeghegis consolidated community.

Petik Minasyan, Qaraglukh settlement resident, told EcoLur that bears cause him 200-300 thousand AMD of damage per year. "It starts with cherries, apples, pears, apricots. Walnut trees are broken and devoured, bees are also endangered," he mentioned.

According to the villager, there have been cases of bears harming people in the village. "The bear is more active than people are in our region today. If this continues for another three years, the bear will reach every family. In the last 10 years, the bear started to get activated, now it is becoming more active every year, they walk for themselves with 2-3 cubs, they enter the village in the spring. Once, the mother barely managed to escape into the yard, to bring the child into the house, so that the bear would not harm him,” Petik Minasyan noted.

Cases of harming people were also recorded in Shatin settlement of Yeghegis. One of the residents told EcoLur that two residents of the village were treated in the hospital for months as a result of the bear attack. As in Qaraglukh, bears come down from the mountains and break into people's gardens almost every day, break trees, climb onto balconies, but the residents are even more worries that the bears harm and destroy Bezoar goats.

"10 years ago, we counted 80-100 bezoar goats. Gradually we began more often to see bears and goats less often. Recently, we have eye witnessed a lot of how bears attack the newly born kids of Bezoar goats, they eat the cubs in five minutes. This year, we witnessed 15-20 goats, the number is decreasing," the resident added.

"Years ago, our forests were rich in wild pears, apples, and hawthorn. I think the forests were cut down because of the fuel problem in the 1990s, and now there are very few wild fruits in the area, that's why they invade the settlement. After nine o'clock we can see bears in our gardens, as there is a lot of fruit in the village. They even appear during the day: a child on his way to school and a gardener can see there is a bear nearby. When bears are here, they get into the yards, destroy the chickens and cattle, which are the main means of livelihood of the villagers."

On the other hand, the river in the village has become scarce, the fish disappeared, which was also a source of food for the bears. "There are no fish in the river. They eliminated our rivers, the river used to flow, we could hear the sound, but even now the water is not even turbid, it cannot be called a river, it is a stream."

"Bears can come down to villages due to lack of food. Bears used to go down to the Yeghegis River in search of food rich in protein, now there is almost no fish, there is no food for the bear. The construction of hydropower plants had an impact on the emergence of human-wildlife conflict," Director of WWF Armenia Karen Manvelyan outlined.

WWF Armenia plans to provide an electric shepherd to Yeghegis residents in order to alleviate the conflict between humans and predatory animals within the framework of "Living Landscapes of Armenia for Market Development" project.



September 11, 2023 at 15:57

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