Česká verze

The bear Ema mostly keeps to the Slovak side of Javorníky

1.8.2019, Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (Hnutí DUHA Olomouc), Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, Mendel University in Brno


The female bear named Ema has spent the first three months since April when she has been fitted with a GPS collar [1] in the mountains on the Czech-Slovak border. At the moment, her location signal comes from the Slovak part of the Javorníky Mountains where she stays most of the time. However, the total area over which she has travelled since the beginning of telemetric monitoring covers over 1,300 square kilometres [2]. Based on the GPS locations, the researchers discovered that she primarily keeps to the forest environment (93 % of the location data). Other favoured habitats include meadows and pastures, and agricultural areas with natural vegetation.  On several occasions during the mating season, Ema was caught by a camera trap in the company of a male bear [3]. She has damaged several unprotected beehives but no further damaged occurred since the beginning of June.

"The use of telemetry provides us with remarkable information on the bear's activity. So far we have learned from the monitoring that she regularly moves in the Vsetín Beskydy, Javorníky and Moravian-Silesian Beskydy Mountains. Compared to other radio-collared bears in the Carpathians, Ema covers a much larger area. She is a young animal, so we shall see in the next period whether her spatial activity keeps increasing or whether she gradually establishes a stable home range," said Martin Duľa, a zoologist at the Department of Forest Ecology, Mendelu University in Brno.  He further explains that when travelling between the mountain ranges, the bear must cross densely populated areas where she is occasionally noticed by local residents who report such observations to experts. The bear stays near human settlements only for the time necessary to move between the mountains. Thus, the application of aversive conditioning methods was not needed so far.

Zoologists are continuously evaluating the environment and the food sources that the bear uses. "Over the past three months, we have been able to get quite a comprehensive picture of how and where Ema spends time. She prefers old mixed forests, but since last month she also favours overgrown clearings. This is related to the food preference which currently consists mainly of various insects and wood-eating ants the bear digs from rotting tree stumps. Raspberries and blueberries ripening at the forest clearings are also part of the bear diet. Food left by hunters to attract wild game is another easily available food source for bears, Ema being no exception," said Michal Bojda, the coordinator of the large carnivores monitoring from Hnutí DUHA Olomouc who also explained that the bear prefers to rest in the dense spruce or beech thickets.

Although the bear does not cause any damage at the moment, the preventive measures to avoid conflict are still recommended and people are advised not to leave any rubbish freely accessible to wild animals. Where it is technically possible, local farmers and beekeepers should protect their livestock and hives with electric fences. This type of protection is commonly used in other bear countries where it proves to be efficient. Some beekeepers in the Beskydy and Vsetín Hills have also installed electric fences around their bee yards [4] with good results.

"We have lent electric fencing to one beekeeper, another owner installed the protection at his own expense; both have informed us that bears walked pass the location but left the hives undamaged. Here we have practical proof that these simple measures work and it makes sense to use them. We need to remember that other bears also visit the Beskydy Protected Landscape Area, Ema is not the only one here," [5] said František Šulgan of the Beskydy PLA Administration.




Martin Duľa, a zoologist at the Department of Forest Ecology, Mendelu University in Brno (FFWT MENDELU), martindulazoo@gmail.com, tel. +420 770 137 635

Michal Bojda, a coordinator of the large carnivore monitoring in Beskydy, Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (Hnutí DUHA), michal.bojda@hnutiduha.cz, tel. +420 734 233 993

František Šulgan, Nature Conservation Agency of the Czech Republic, frantisek.sulgan@nature.cz, tel. +420 724 804 161


References and annexes:

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


[2] The bear's movement during three months since she has been fitted with radio-collar; source: FFWT MENDELU, TPN

Map of the route taken by the bear Ema from April to July 2019)

[3] The female Ema with a male bear in the Slovak part of the Javorníky Mountains: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbKCYxoJiAg&feature=youtu.be

[4] A bee yard protected against bears in the Beskydy Mountains; source: Friends of the Earth Czech Republic (Hnutí DUHA Olomouc)

A bee yard protected from bears with electric fencing

[5] The bear photographed by a camera trap near the Smrk peak at the end of June 2019; source: Beskydy PLA Administration

Ema photographed by a camera trap



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