BEAR AND MAN: On the brown bear trail.. Iški Vintgar gorge in central Slovenija

In Slovenija wilderness is just a few big steps away from urban capitol or major cities. One of wild locations is natural gorge Iški Vintgar.

At least 3 brown bears (Ursus arctos) are active in Iška gorge and its influx streams. The villagers from nearby villages, especially Osredek, learned to share their life with largest Slovenian wild animal. The bears frequently wander in the vicinity of farms, where they search for ripe fruits, pumpkins and other food. Most of the time during night. Sometimes the hunger si great if you are a big brown bear – and with the power in paws you are not gentle with the tree branches full of delicious fruit. In Slovenija brown bear is on protective species list (IUCN Red list). The hunting is prohibited – only if the bear presents direct threat to the human.

Up till this year, farmers got state compensation for bear damages. This year there is no money available in the compensation funds. So farmers will have to magane on their own (e.g. Flashing lights in orchards, leaving some food on the outskirts of village for the bears). From village Osredek I decended into the gorge and followed the bear trail. Not deliberately – the bears also hike on easiest way possible – on the human trails. I was happy no to have a close encounter. Saw a fresh feces and couple of earth hole – bears love to eat ants. And creased grass, where one was having a pleasurable roll. Camping in brown bear territory demands some safety precocious: – loud talking or noise making (bears will hear you and most of times go away before you will see it) – all-night fire at camp site (animals back from fire (not rhyno :-O) – all-night watch – urinating around camp (human urine has strong odor, animals don’t like it) – no food preparing at camp site (special site, at least 500 m away)

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Sources: Dr. Boris K., Jože S., Andreas H., Wikipedia

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