Bears attacked two people this summer in the south of the Krasnoyarsk territory. The victims died of their injuries. Access to the Ergaki Nature Park is restricted until the fall. It was decided to kill the most dangerous predators.
A 16-year-old boy and a 42-year-old man were fatally mauled by bears within the span of a few hours. The young man had a side job at a local camp site. He died when he went for food through the woods. Another predator attacked a Moscow tourist right near the camp site.
Both bears were then killed by park inspectors. It was decided to shoot five more bears.
The municipal authorities made an urgent decision to close most of the nature park to visitors. The Ergaki Nature Park has become increasingly popular among Russians in recent years. During the year the park is visited by tens of thousands of fans of pristine nature. They enjoy the views of beautiful mountain ranges, relict lakes, draft taiga and animals in the wild, for which tourist camps are easy targets. In harvest years, bears prefer to eat the gifts of nature. When the weather is bad, as it was this year, they come out to forage at garbage dumps created by tourists.
Today, just a few Ergaki sites are still open to visitors. They are well-developed and located far from the forest: Lake Svetloye, Marble waterfall, Visitor Center, and Hanging Rock near Lake of Artists and Lake Svetloye. However, tourists are not recommended to stay overnight in tents, and they must inform the rescuers about all their routes. Over-zealous environmentalists have already begun to speak out against shooting bears and criticize the park administration which posted photos of killed bears. Inspectors responded that photos were needed as in this case everyone can see what human carelessness might lead to. If visitors hadn’t broken the rules, people would not have died, and bears would not have been shot.
“We have to do it. The bears are aggressive because there is no food in the taiga. All the tragic incidents happened outside the official hiking trails. That is, visitors completely ignored the safety rules,” the Ergaki administration told wek.ru.
This problem is typical for the whole of Siberia. A bear attacked two surveyors near the Ilim River in the Baikal Region in early August. They managed to fight if off, but one of the men was left with a torn leg. The management of the cemetery of Port Baikal village in the Irkutsk region had to install an electric fence this year, as if in Jurassic Park. There is a protected area nearby, and the bears frequent the cemetery where people leave food to commemorate the dead.
The situation is simple and complicated at the same time. The bear population is on the rise. According to the latest data, there are about 30,000 bears in the Krasnoyarsk territory alone. However, there is practically no motivation to hunt them. The process of obtaining a license is complicated. Chinese businessmen stopped buying up paws, since it is strictly forbidden now. There remaining useful trophies are fat, bile and hide. Nowadays, eating bear meat is very risky as one out of every three bears is infected with trichinosis. In fact, one bear would fetch you 100,000-150,000 rubles ($1,701.25 on average). It’s not much given your having to pay the fees and take risks. You can earn much more on furs or fish which do not bite. At the same time, active logging continues legally and illegally. The habitat is also shrinking because of wildfires. As a result, the predator simply does not have enough space in the taiga. The weakest and youngest are pushed out of the green pastures with berries.
According to the Federal State Budgetary Institution Tsentrokhotkontrol, the number of brown bears in Russia is now close to 300,000. The Far Eastern population is the largest. Siberia is the second largest bear habitat in Russia. According to official reports, some 10,000 bears are killed in the country annually.