Česká verze

The bear Ema lost the telemetry collar

7.10.2019, Mendel University in Brno, Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (Hnutí DUHA Olomouc), Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic

The female bear Ema is no longer wearing the tracking device she has been fitted with in April. The backup disconnect mechanism of the device was most likely destroyed by the bear herself, leading to a sudden disconnection of the collar, which has already been recovered by zoologists. The last information about the bear's movement came from the forests near the Slovak village of Dlhé Pole.

Recovered telemetry tracking collar. Source: Hnutí DUHA Olomouc

"The behaviour of animals is unpredictable and so is the technology, as we were again reminded in this case. The telemetry tracking collar had been equipped with a double disconnect mechanism to ensure animal safety. The bear must have systematically attempted to destroy this part of the device until the collar fell off. We cannot rule out that the damage occurred during the mating season or in a fight. The monitoring was scheduled for two years, but unfortunately, we only have data from five months," says Martin Duľa, a zoologist at the Institute of Forest Ecology, Mendelu University in Brno. However, despite the short time of monitoring, he and his fellow scientists and conservationists have obtained valuable data that can be used to design suitable measures and help resolve human-carnivore conflicts arising in the areas where the large carnivores are returning after a long absence. "This young female bear is exceptional in several ways. Her monitoring not only brought us new knowledge about the spatial activity of bears in the Carpathians, but it also highlighted the weak points we urgently need to solve in order to coexist with large carnivores," adds Duľa.

Over the summer, researchers continued to verify bear's location data in the field. This way they learned that Ema spent most of this period searching for plant food such as raspberries and blackberries in overgrown clearings. "During the last three months of monitoring, the bear twice damaged unsecured beehives both on the Slovak and Moravian side of the border mountain range. After the loss of the signal from the telemetry collar, we set to check the last known location. Thanks to the cooperation with the staff of the Beskydy PLA Administration, we managed to find the collar after a few days' search using the VHF receiver. The intensive monitoring of Ema and other bears will continue. We would welcome any information about the occurrence of bears and other large carnivores from the public. Information can be sent to stopy@selmy.cz or beskydy@nature.cz," says Michal Bojda, the coordinator of the large carnivores monitoring from Hnutí DUHA Olomouc.

Map of the route taken by the bear Ema over the summer

Ema’s movement from 9 July to 8 September. Source: FFWT MENDELU

"Bears are very smart and skilful animals. It is very common in the telemetry monitoring of bears that the tracking collar wears off and gets lost. It is hard to predict and avoid such kind of situations," says Tomasz Zwijacz-Kozica, bear telemetry expert of the Polish Tatra National Park Administration which lent collar for Ema's monitoring.

Each animal is unique according to zoologists and Ema is proof of that. "During her telemetric monitoring, we had a chance to observe how the bear that had been quite bold at first changed behavioural patterns and gradually learned to avoid people. We will use this knowledge in the preparation of the brown bear management plan; the plan should provide solutions to different situations that arise from the coexistence with these critically endangered carnivores. The Beskydy PLA Administration is already working with livestock farmers and beekeepers to advise them on better protection of their properties and available financial support. As demonstrated by Ema and other bears that have been recently visiting our region, large carnivores cause damage mostly to inadequately protected animals and beehives, often within the large forest complexes," says Václav Tomášek from the Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, Beskydy PLA Administration.

Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic has set up a telephone line for the Beskydy Protected Landscape Area (+420) 731 568 413, where it is possible to report damage by large carnivores (bear, wolf, lynx).


Translation: Martina Dušková



Friends of the Earth are able to carry out projects on protection and monitoring of large carnivores thanks to generous support of individual donors – Friends of Large Carnivores. Please join us here.

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