Kamchatka's Bear Population Grows

The population of Kamchatkan brown bears is growing. According to Vsevolod Voropanov, the chief hunting specialist of Kamchatka's Regional Hunting Administration, a recent census conducted from an airplane revealed that there were about 10,800 bears in this Far Eastern territory, contrary to calculations that said there were only 6,500.

Of the 10,000-odd bears, 600 inhabit the Kronotsky reserve and some 1,000 the Yuzhno-Kamchatsky game reserve.

It was also reported that the bear population is getting younger, thanks to the fact that there are less large he-bears and more she-bears with cubs. According to Voropanov, a he-bear is not a breeder and moreover often acts as a cannibal, attacking she-bears and cubs.

Over the autumn hunting season, the local authorities issued 282 bear hunting licenses, including 84 permitting hunting tours with the participation of foreigners. 8 cases of poaching were revealed. 6 bears were killed on force-shooting grounds /aggressor bears who posed a threat to people or to agriculture/.

In the 2003 hunting season, the authorities will issue 550 bear hunting licenses /50% for the spring and 50% for the autumn season/--100 licenses more than the number issued in 2002.