Turkey, bears in the Black Sea region

Concern in Turkey over rising bear population

Inhabitants of the Turkish Black Sea region fear walking near the forests because of the growing bear population, which is increasingly approaching inhabited areas.

The increase in the bear population in Turkey’s Black Sea region has sparked concern in this mountainous area in the north of the country, where inhabitants have long been observing that these animals increasingly descend from the mountains and approach populated areas.

The bear population has increased especially in provinces on the Black Sea coast such as Rize, Trabzon, Artvin or Giresun, raising fears among the local population that the arrival of these unexpected visitors may cause damage to crops and make tourists visiting this area of ​​Turkey, known for its green and mountainous landscapes, flee.

Security cameras have been able to record the bears prowling around inhabited areas in search of food, apparently due to the shortage of food in their natural habitat, so some residents have begun to leave food in certain places near the forests where these mammals live.

The situation has reached such a point that experts warn the local population to avoid walking near forests or rivers -bear’s natural habitats- and that if they do, they should walk making noise to chase away these animals and avoid encountering them. “The bears are beautiful, but at the same time they are dangerous. They have visited us twice, and after that we started leaving food for them,” explained the owner of a local tourist business.

Halim Aslan, one of the inhabitants of the region, confessed for his part that they have begun to carry sticks with them if they walk through wooded areas as defence in case they encounter bears. “The forests are inhospitable, I walk through them with sticks. I have no intention of harming them, I simply want to protect myself,” he added.