Česká verze

The bear called Ema wanders through the Beskydy Mountains, travelling over 130 kilometres in just two weeks

26.4.2019, Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (Hnutí DUHA Olomouc), Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, Mendel University in Brno, Charles University in Prague

The female bear that was captured and radio-collared on 8 April near Lysá hora, the highest peak of the Moravian-Silesian Beskydy, [1] moves tirelessly between the Beskydy ridges. The animal was given name Ema which according to the Czech calendar is associated with the day of her capture. In the first 14 days of monitoring, Ema walked at least 132 kilometres, which means an average distance of 9.5 kilometres per day. She keeps to woods most of the time, with 92% of the location data coming from the forested areas. In the meantime, genetic analysis confirms that Ema is the bear that was observed last autumn in the Vsetín Region.

The female bear

The bear monitoring project is a cooperation of the Beskydy Protected Landscape Area Administration, Mendel University in Brno, Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (Hnutí DUHA Olomouc), and the Polish Tatra National Park and Institute of Nature Conservation. The Tatra National Park provided a telemetric collar used for the monitoring.

Ema left the vicinity of Lysá hora three days after her capture; in the early hours, she swam across the 270-metre wide reservoir of Šance Dam and continued over the Smrk peak towards the west. She left the Beskydy PLA a couple of days later, heading to the Ondřejník massif and on to the village of Hukvaldy (a popular tourist spot). Eight days later, Ema took the similar route back to the Beskydy Mountains, only to soon continue to the Vsetínské Beskydy in the Zlín Region.

Map of the route taken by the bear Ema

Meanwhile, the experts from Charles University in Prague completed the analysis of genetic samples gathered since last autumn. According to their results, 12 samples of faeces and hair collected in the Vsetín and Frýdek-Místek areas all belonged to Ema.

In the past 14 days, Ema has been demonstrating standard wild bear behaviour. Although she had been travelling through some heavily fragmented areas at the Beskydy foothills, crossing a road fourteen times, her strategy was to hide during the day in thickets and other sheltered places with minimum human activity. Of the total 670 coordinates received from the tracking collar, 92% were located in the forest. Along the way, Ema damaged 4 beehives, none of which was protected against wildlife.

If at any moment, Ema begins to venture repeatedly into the urban areas or cause damage to livestock, the zoologists from Mendel University are ready to use rubber bullets, which is a bear deterrent method tried successfully for many years in the Polish Tatra National Park. So far, though, it has not been necessary to scare the bear away from human settlements.

The priority is to avoid potential conflicts, in particular by proper waste management [2] and, where technically possible, by protecting beehives and livestock with electric fences and other suitable protection methods.

Martin Duľa, a zoologist at the Institute of Forest Ecology, Mendelu University in Brno says:

"In terms of time-space activity, the bear Ema has covered at least 132 kilometres over 14 days, which means an average walking distance of 9.5 kilometres per day. She was crossing between the mountain ridges mainly overnight or in the early morning or early evening hours. During the day, Ema was resting in less accessible places with minimum human activity, mostly young tree stands and bushes, away from human settlements and tourist trails."

Michal Bojda of Friends from the Earth Czech Republic (local organization Hnutí DUHA Olomouc) says:

"The monitoring gives us the opportunity to learn not only about the kind of places where the bear prefers to rest but also about her usual diet. We often find disturbed anthills, overturned stones, and dug-up tree stumps where the bear was looking for insects. She was also searching for the beechnuts stored by wood mice. We have also found several young lime trees with stripped bark. Here, the bear was feeding on the sweet tree sap."

František Jaskula from Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic says:

"Although the bear is mostly keeping to forest cover, we need to respect that it is a large animal. We ask the local inhabitants and visitors of the Beskydy Mountains not to search for the bear, nor approach it, and not to leave around any waste that could attract the bear near human settlements. However, bears, like wolves and lynx, are part of our nature and their presence here is not unusual. Currently, we estimate that between two and five bears live in the Beskydy Mountains."

Pavel Hulva from Charles University in Prague says:

"Genetic analyses suggest that a female bear was present in the Hostýnsko-Vsetín Highlands during the autumn and moved to Javorníky and on to the Moravian-Silesian Beskydy Mountains in the late autumn and over the winter. Her genetic profile matches that of the bear captured and radio-collared in April near the Šance Dam; it is without a doubt the same animal. A comparison with the large number of samples which we are expecting to collect and analyse this year as part of the research of Slovak bear population should give us a better idea of this particular bear's origin."

"Thanks to the collar, the bear movements can be permanently monitored. It is important to know what she is exactly doing and where she will move, and whether she will stay in the Czech Republic or travel further", says Filip Zięba from Tatra National Park. "Ema is currently the most western bear of the Carpathian population. We do not know where she comes from. Long-distance dispersers like her are very important for connecting different parts of the Carpathian population."



Martin Duľa, zoolog z Ústavu ekologie lesa (LDF) Mendelovy univerzity v Brně, martindulazoo@gmail.com, tel. 770 137 635

Pavel Hulva, zoolog a genetik, Univerzita Karlova, hulva@natur.cuni.cz, tel. 608 676877

Michal Bojda, koordinátor beskydského monitoringu velkých šelem Hnutí DUHA, michal.bojda@hnutiduha.cz, tel. 734 233 993

Karolína Šůlová, tisková mluvčí Agentury ochrany přírody a krajiny ČR, karolina.sulova@nature.cz, tel. 724 102 406



[1] https://www.selmy.cz/clanky/medved-v-beskydech-dostal-dnes-v-noci-telemetricky-obojek/

[2] Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (Hnutí DUHA Olomouc) worked in 2014 with the towns of Ostravice and Staré Hamry to secure municipal waste containers against brown bears: https://www.selmy.cz/tiskove-zpravy/prvni-dve-beskydske-obce-maji-kontejnery-na-odpad-zabezpecene-pred-medvedy/


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