WWF equips a fourth bear in Romania with a tracking collar after first one is killed by poachers
The bear, named Bardau after the valley in Maramures region where it has been captured, is male, between 8 and 10 years of age, weighing approximately 230 kg. It is in excellent shape and much bigger than most bears so far captured in Romania. The WWF project “Open borders for bears between the Romanian and Ukrainian Carpathians” aims for the long term conservation of brown bears.
“Bardau might be the missing piece of the puzzle, one that we really needed at this point. Judging by the sex, the age and the size, this is a stately specimen that needs quite a large area to move around, clearly with no borders. He is going to provide us with valuable information from areas unreachable so far in Maramures", said Cristian-Remus Papp, project co-ordinator.
In the summer of 2012 three other bears were captured and equipped with GPS-GSM collars. The first of them, named Martin, was a 6 to 8 years of age male bear, weighing 150 kg. It was later killed by poachers. So far, the investigation has not found those responsible for the killing. Around 45% of European brown bears (outside of Russia) still live in Romania and Ukraine. Apart from poaching, continuous diminishing and fragmentation of habitats is a serious threat to their survival.
"We look at Maramures as being a region and not solely a part of a country. But we are faced with poaching, illegal trading or artificial boundaries throughout the rural communities on the banks of the Tisza River", said Bohdan Prots, project manager in Ukraine.
The tracks and the activities of the brown bears wearing WWF monitoring equipment are constantly being checked. The other two are Marina - a female bear, between 10 and 12 years of age and Eugen - a 7-8 years old male bear, weighing 130 kg at the moment of capture. A film about the brown bears in Maramures is also being produced.