Feeding on garbage, bears in Kars delay hibernation

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published
Feeding on garbage, bears in Kars delay hibernation

Animals go into hibernation in order to preserve energy during the winter, when finding food gets difficult. It seems, however, that is about to change for bears in northeastern Turkey's Kars. Instead of going into a winter sleep, the bears have decided to scavenge from the city's dumpsite.

"Since they can easily find food, they did not feel the need to hibernate just yet, but it is likely to mess up their metabolism as well as the region's ecological balance," said Emrah Çoban, the science coordinator at KuzeyDoğa Foundation. "We have been monitoring nine bears in the Sarıkamış district of Kars for the past year. Only two of them went into hibernation this winter."

"Biologically, these bears have to go into hibernation but the dumpsite has changed their lifestyle. Currently, they are walking around the dumpsite, instead of going into hibernation," said Çoban.

The trackers, which monitor the bears' movement, clearly show that the city dumpsite has been messing up their biology.

"The dumpsite has to be surrounded with a fence to prevent the bears from getting in," he said.

Normally, bears in Kars go into hibernation at the beginning of November and wake up mid-April.

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