Taiwan: Formosan Black Bears returning to Yushan National Park

Formosan black bears, or Selenarctos thibetanus formosanus, used to be
widely distributed in forests throughout Taiwan, but the expansion of
human settlement and land development has gradually forced the animals
to retreat deeper and deeper into the mountains to avoid humans.

In recent years, Yushan National Park Administration (YNPA) officials
said only people who often frequent forests at high elevations can
have much chance of spotting a bear. However, some rangers said they
found black bear pawprints last month around a mountain hut in the
Yushan park at a medium elevationwhere mountain climbers like to camp
out. Early this month, park rangers also spotted fresh claw scratches
made by the animals on tree trunks along a mountain trail between
Dongpu and Guangao in Nantou County’s Sinyi township. “Reports from
rangers show that a trend is taking shape with Formosan black bears
venturing into mountainous regions frequented by humans,” said a YNPA
official. As to why the bears are appearing in lower-altitude forests
again, the official said they could be attracted by the smell of food
left by mountain climbers. In addition, the official went on, the
number of other species such as barking deer and goats along mountain
trails has increased in recent years, which could also have drawn the
bears down from the heights. With the chances of encountering Formosan
black bears increasing, the official reminded mountain climbers to
remain calm and composed if they happen to come across any of the
animals. “While Formosan black bears can be ferocious and dangerous,
they will usually not attack unless they are threatened, hurt or feel
that their cubs are in danger, ” the official said, adding that the
best thing to do in the event of an encounter is to stay calm, try not
to provoke the animal, and leave the vicinity as soon as possible. The
official further said that Formosan black bears, although strong,
sturdy and skilled at mountain climbing, are less agile and slower
than other carnivores. He also advised mountain climbers to refrain
from climbing trees or feigning death should they come across a bear.
http://www.etaiwannews.com/etn/news_content.php?id=823888&lang=eng_news

Posted via email from Deane’s posterous

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