Česká verze

The Tatras bears can no longer raid the waste bins

30.8.2016, Loosely translated from the press release issued by the Ministry of Environment of the Slovak Republic

Slovakian Ministry of Environment responded to calls from local authorities and allocated 1.5 million euro from the Environmental Fund to securing municipal waste containers against brown bears. Dozens of lockable boxes will appear before the end of November in the city of High Tatras and the two Low Tatras villages Štrba and Podkonice.

Photo: Vlado Trulik
For some time, the brown bears have been in the habit of searching the rubbish bins located in the populated areas of the Tatras for an easy meal. They are losing their natural fear of people and can become a threat to them. “Asking the ministry for permission to cull dozens of bears is not a solution in the situation when the waste bins are freely accessible. The priority is to prevent potentially dangerous situations. That is why I have authorized the provision of grant for the installation of lockable containers in problem areas,” said László Sólymos, the minister of environment.
Pavol Majko, director of the Tatra National Park (TANAP) welcomes this step: “Securing the waste bins is a proven practice used commonly as a preventive measure in Scandinavia, Canada or the USA.”
The city of High Tatras has received the highest grant in the amount of 1,240,000 euro to secure its containers against brown bears. Štrba village has received 200,000 euro and Podkonice 60,000 euro. “This measure will not solve the issue completely but it will significantly reduce the risk of encounters between bears and humans. Protecting people's lives must be our priority,” added the minister.
TANAP, the oldest Slovakian national park, has always been the home of brown bears. Environmentalists and experts from the TANAP Administration regularly patrol in the city of High Tatras which extends into the national park – they scare the animals away and, where necessary, also provide electric fences. “Scaring the bears away has only temporary effect. Before long, the animals return to unsecured containers. Electric fences have proven effective for the protection of alpine chalets or beehives, but their installation and operation within the urban areas is complicated,” explained Majko.

Photo: Vlado Trulik
Brown bear is among the species which are protected all year round by both Slovak and European legislation. In accordance with the Nature and Rural Landscape Protection Act, the ministry may issue permits to kill individual bears. They may only do so in justified cases (nuisance individuals) based on the expert assessment prepared by the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic following the investigation directly in the field, site monitoring, gathering information from local people etc. Such exceptional cases of authorized bear killing are fully compliant with the EU Habitats Directive and the provisions of the Berne Convention. However, the ministry is not competent to issue culling quotas for brown bears.

Photos from the field by Vlado Trulík

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