As winter gives way to spring, grizzly bears in northeastern Turkey have started to emerge from their hibernation and in search of food in the freezing cold were spotted strolling in downtown Kars.
Mustafa Karadeniz, the manager of a seafood restaurant on the Erzurum-Kars highway, said the grizzly bears tried to feed themselves with fish and food leftovers.
"They have begun to get close to our restaurant. We feed them, they do not hurt anyone. Once they are full, they return to the forest," he told Anadolu Agency (AA).
Karadeniz added that some citizens approached the grizzly bears closely and it was very dangerous. "Bears with their cubs can be more aggressive," he warned.
Following a winter in the forestland of Sarıkamış, the grizzly bears have started to emerge from hibernation as the weather gets warmer day by day.
The grizzly bears walk some 350 kilometers (217 miles) in summer to migrate to the woods of Şavşat, Artvin on the Black Sea coast. They feed on fruits there and return to the Sarıkamış district of Kars to hibernate when the weather becomes cold.
As the weather gets warmer, the bears come down to the town centers with their cubs from the scotch pine forests in order to find food as the woods are blanketed with snow.
Şenay Vanlı, a local resident, said that at night the grizzly bears entered even the neighborhoods.
"Especially in the evenings, they stroll very freely. Right now, a bear is searching for food right behind me; everyone should be careful," she said.
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