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6 December 2019

A presence to BEAR in mind

The mountains of the Aggtelek National Park seem to be becoming the must-pass-through destination for Carpathian large carnivores: after the recently spotted wolf pack, now it’s time for the brown bear. Get to know the new visitor!

By Valentina Delconte

Sightings of brown bears in Hungary are a memorable vision. No doubt about that. And, thus, the night of 25 November came to be one of those remarkable moments when an adult bear was captured by a camera trap positioned in the northern area of the Aggtelek National Park (ANP). Nevertheless, while this species is not a stable dweller in the area, its presence is nothing to be surprised about: the northern territory of Hungary offers a suitable habitat to migrating individuals, which often make use of natural corridors across the Carpathian mountains in search for food or mates (note: not necessarily in that order).

To name just a couple of examples, and in the same ANP, back in 2015 a group of Polish researchers tracked the migration of Iwo, a young male brown bear who found a temporary home in the forests of the national park. Three years later, a visitor and his dog encountered another bear along the hiking route and provided pictures to the authorities. This time around, the bear was sighted near the Slovakian border — away from populated areas. And now you can enjoy the view, too, in the below video provided by the ANP authorities.

The presence of a brown bear and other Carpathian large carnivores in the northern part of Hungary has increasingly been signalled in the last years and the ANP authorities believe that this positive trend is not expected to change. However, constant efforts to maintain habitat integrity and connectivity are vital for this trend to not be interrupted and to ensure the conservation of this iconic species. This is the aim of the ConnectGREEN project, funded by the Interreg Danube Transnational Programme,  which  has been designing and implementing conservation actions to ensure safe migratory corridors for wildlife across the Carpathian mountains since 2018.