Located in northeastern Turkey's Kars, Sarıkamış is known for its unmatched natural beauty that hosts wild animals. However, for the last couple of years, the wild animals in Sarıkamış are having a hard time due to a dumpsite located outside the town. The wild bears which have awakened from their hibernation headed to the waste yard to feed.
Waking up from their hibernation after four months, the bears of Sarıkamış, which are known as the only migratory bears in the world, traveled five kilometers to get to the waste yard. The bears either head to the site on their own or sometimes with their offspring to feed. Once they are full, they head back to their natural habitat. Hence, the habit of feeding from the dumpsite, which has been observed in recent years, has changed the behavioral habits of the bears.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Emrah Çoban, the science coordinator at KuzeyDoğa Foundation said that feeding from the waste yard is not a habit of bears in their natural cycle. "We have conducted a study to determine the changing feeding habits of the bears and discovered that some of the bears of Sarıkamış feed in their natural habitat while others have the habit of feeding from the garbage. These waste yards are very dangerous," he added.
The habit of feeding from the garbage affects the natural living cycle of the bears in Sarıkamış as well. Animals go into hibernation in order to preserve energy during the winter, when finding food gets difficult. However, in this particular situation, instead of going into a winter sleep, the bears have decided to scavenge from the city's dumpsite.
"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 in mid-April.