Friday, August 12, 2005

Bears in Jiri

Topic: Outdoors/hiking
Conservationists will love us, but...

Last year, the National Parks Authority released 13 Asiatic black bears into Jiri National Park. Jiri might be the largest park in Korea but bears take up a lot of space. Apparently, some of them have found the hiking trails.

Last month, an Asiatic black bear followed some climbers and pulled bags from their backs. It was subsequently captured.
Bears have been spotted by mountain climbers three to four times, according to the authority's announcement.
The parks authority advises that climbers stick to regular routes and not feed, run toward or shout at the bears.

Considering the fear many Koreans have of small dogs, I think it would take a very brave, stupid or drunk hiker to approach the bears too closely.

Similar encounter have occurred in American and probably other parks. I think Yosemite reintroduced wolves to the park, upsetting ranchers just outside the park.

I don't know which would require more room. Both animals typically cover several kilometres a day and bears are more solitary so their ranges can't overlap.

I wish it were otherwise but I just can't see the wisdom in reintroducing bears to Korea. They need more room than this crowded country can really afford to give. The bears are unlikely to stay in the wilder section of the park or even in the park at all. Then we will have bears in the nearby villages. And this is without concerning ourselves with the value of bear gallbladders and such.

No comments: