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Bear trapped in illegal wire-trap for wild boars near Lefkonas Prespa

A male bear aged about 3-4 years old has been released by the LIFE ARCPROM Bear Emergency Team from an illegal wire-trap for wild boars in the lakeside area near Lefkonas, Prespa. The animal was spotted by a local farmer who thought the bear was resting near his field. After 4 days, the farmer realised that the bear probably had a problem and so he informed the Florin Forest Service. The staff of the Forest Service and the Society for the Protection of Prespa informed Callisto and the Prespa National Park Management Agency (PNPMA) who called the LIFE ARCPROM Project’s Bear Emergency Team . The team arrived on the spot at noon on Saturday, December 28, along with the veterinarian, Dr. George Hastas, associate of the Laboratory of Microbiology and Parasitology of the Department of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Thessaly, from Kastoria and managed to release the animal after many hours and in extremely low temperature (-10oC).

The necessary anesthesia of the animal was followed by the liberation from the loop and the veterinary care. The animal urgently needed stitches. The fact that the unfortunate animal was trapped for 4 days, as well as the veterinarian’s finding that the illegal wire-trap had caused a 25 cm long and 5 cm deep wound in the abdomen, had filled the entire LIFE ARCPROM Team with pessimism. The first night after the animal was rescued, the staff of the Society for the Protection of Prespa were constantly monitoring the animal, which, although it had regained consciousness, had not moved.

Following this briefing, Callisto reactivated the LIFE ARCPROM Bear Emergency Team, which resumed on the spot, now considering moving the animal to a place where it could be provided long-term care. Fortunately, this was not necessary as the new briefing from the people of the Society for the Protection of Prespa Prespa stated that the animal had now moved from the place where it had been left. In fact, the trail in the snow showed that the animal had moved about 500 meters to a forest area while the footprints were very clear showing that the bear had no symptoms of paralysis of the hind limbs from the deep trauma to the abdomen.

It is worth noting that this was the fourth case of bear getting trapped in an illegal wire-trap in 2019 and the fifth in total in the last two years! The use of the wire-traps is illegal, whether it is for hunting or as a means of preventing damage to agricultural production. The only safe and effective way to protect farms is with special electric fencing.

The LIFE ARCPROM project is being implemented in four protected areas in Greece (National Parks of Prespa, Rodopi and North Pindos) and Italy (Majella National Park in the region of Abruzzo) with the participation of the competent Authorities of the four National Parks, the Universityt of Western Macedonia and the University of Thessaly .. Its goal is to improve the coexistence of man-bear and one of its most crucial actions is the operation of Bear Emergency Teams in Greece and Italy.

The LIFE ARCPROM Bear Emergency Team, the stuff of Callisto and the Prespa National Park Management Agency (PNPMA), want to thank all those who participated in the operation, especially the Florina Forest Service, the Society for the Protection of Prespa and Dr George Hastas. Without their valuable contribution, the operation would not have a happy end.