Saving a bear cub from a snare

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On November 22, at around 4 AM, we have received a phone call from one of the gamekeepers with whom we work in the brown bear conservation and research project. A bear cub was ‘stuck’ in a backyard fence in the village of Iliesi (near the town of Sovata, in the mountainous model area of our program). The extremely agitated mother and the other cub were nearby in the forest, under the cover of a thick undergrowth. Our vet, DVM Levente Borka-Vitális was out of the country, so we went there with DVM Gergely Gal, one of his colleagues from Vets4Wild. By the time we arrived, we could not spot the mother or the other cub. Still, we tried to undertake extreme caution (the police and the Gendarmerie were also there, securing the area) during the operation. Anesthesia went smoothly. The male cub from this year (weighing approx. 40 kg) was actually caught by one of his front legs in a snare mounted on the fence (the police started an investigation, but the owner of the property claims the wire was just used to stabilize the fence). Most likely, the bears tried to reach the backyard, as there were some apple trees with fruits on and under the trees. After we freed him (fortunately he was physically unharmed), together with the gamekeeper and the vet we took him up on a forestry road, behind the hill starting just in the back of the courtyard. We than waited a few hours, until he fully recovered and left. We hope he eventually managed to reunite with his mother and sibling (we suspected that the other 2 bears were still on the hill, close to the village, as we haven’t seen any tracks in the snow, leaving the area – so they should’ve been close).

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