Kars is about to move into eco-tourism with an observation project concerning the living conditions of the world's one and only migrant brown bears, settled in forestland in the Sarıkamış district of Kars.
Brown bears that live in the forest in the Sarıkamış district of Kars, which is one of the most important winter tourism centers in Turkey, migrate to Artvin's Şavşat district for food in summer. In winter, they return to Sarıkamış to hibernate.
As part of the Observation and Protection Project for East Anatolian Wildlife, some brown bears were given satellite transmitters. With this project, the first migratory brown bear population in the world was detected, and a study was launched to protect these animals and integrate them into ecotourism.
Kuzey Doğa Foundation Science Coordinator Emrah Çoban pointed out that tourists that visit the area to observe migrating brown bears contribute to the economy of the area and said: "Local and foreign tourists want to take photos of the brown bears they observe in the forest. These brown bears are the basis of our project. Our target is to develop a tourism model on the basis of brown bears. We plan to offer alternative sources of income to the local community via facilities like brown bear observation and tracing. These ecotourism facilities create awareness by observing brown bears in spring, summer and autumn and function as an alternative to winter tourism in the area."
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