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17.09.2015

The scientific team of Arcturus recorded a recovery in the bears’ population

Evidence of a large carnivore population recovery.pdf
Management implications for releasing orphaned, captive-reared bears back to the wild.pdf
Intraspecific predation in bears.pdf

The scientific team of Arcturus had a three year research regarding the population of bears in Greece, the results of which were encouraging. The first systematic mensuration which took place from 2007 to 2010 in the forest area of Pindos Mountain showed that the number of bears in our country is increasing!

The mensuration process took place in an innovative way, using the method of collecting genetic material with “hair-traps” (special wires which do not harm the animals). These special wires were placed in electricity columns where the bears have the tendency to go and scrub themselves. Subsequently, this genetic material is afterwards collected by the Arcturus research team, is then sent abroad for analysis and then what returns is a kind of “identification” which is registered in the National Bears Register*. At the moment, 360 bears are registered there, which shows that the population of bears has increased in relation to the previous mensuration which had showed an amount of 250 bears. Based on the number of registered bears, the scientific team of Arcturus estimated that the number of bears in Greece is at least 450.

The recovery of the population of bears in Greece is a practical confirmation of the effectiveness of Arcturus’ actions. However, it should not guide us to misleading conclusions, as the bears are still a highly endangered species and their protection will have to continue taking place in the same way.
The results of Arcturus’ research were lately published in the reputable scientific magazine Journal for Nature Conservation.

Two additional publications


In 2015, two more articles were published in international scientific magazines by the Arcturus Scientific Team. The first one is concerned with the phenomenon of cannibalism in bears that was recorded during field work. This has been recorded very rarely among the brown bears and more studies have to be conducted to grasp the reasons for the phenomenon. Moreover, Arcturus’ researchers have taken part in a research by the ex-President of the International Association for Bear Research and Management, John Beecham, on the subject of the reintegration of orphan bear cubs, such as the case of Zoe, Little John and Nikita. The article released in the Journal of Wildlife Management contained 550 cases of bears returning to their natural habitat, arguing that it is a successful practice with noteworthy results among many countries.

Arcturus’ research work for the bears and the wolves is continued, aiming at an optimal management and protection of wild animals.


*Note: The DNA of every animal, similarly to the fingerprint of humans, is unique and can be used to identify the members of a population. The detailed study of the DNA of an animal can offer us information concerning the species of the animal, the relations among the members of a population, the relations between different populations, even the health condition of an animal. The cells situated in the roots of the hair of the bear contain enough DNA for genetic analysis, and the processing of the genetic material of the brown bear is very promising as it can help us understand the behavior and ecology of the bear. In 2003, Arcturus began the first genetic study of the brown bear in Greece, aiming mainly to estimate the minimal population of the species in the country.




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