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Asiatic black bear travels 80 km from Mt. Jiri to Gimcheon

Asiatic black bear travels 80 km from Mt. Jiri to Gimcheon

Posted June. 22, 2017 07:16,   

Updated June. 22, 2017 07:23


An Asiatic black bear that all but disappeared from Mount Jiri National Park in September last year has been discovered in Gimcheon, some 80 kilometers from its original habitat. The Environment Ministry and the Korea National Park Service failed to trace the whereabouts of the Korean bear, a Grade 1 endangered wild species, until its discovery for nine months, it has been revealed.

The ministry and KNPS said on Monday that genetic analysis of the Asiatic black bear that was captured in Gimcheon, North Gyeongsang Province on Wednesday last week is ‘Usuria species,’ which was born at the Species Restoration Center of Mount Jiri National Park in 2015 and released to the mountain in October that year. It is a male Asiatic black bear, which was mostly inhabiting in mountain ridges including Bulmujang in northern areas of Mount Jiri, and which remained missing since September last year.

The Environment Ministry said it put a GPS device on the bear’s ear, and has been searching for the animal using helicopters and other measures because GPS signals were not received from September last year. The Asiatic black bear that has been discovered reportedly has a scar on its ear, and the GPS device apparently fell off from the bear for some reason.

The Environment Ministry issued a press release entitled "Mount Jiri Asiatic black bear explores Baekdu Mountains," claiming that the bear’s migration to a remote region is unusual considering that the radius of the bear’s activities is less than 15 kilometers. The ministry said the bear is believed to have passed through Gwangju-Daegu Expressway and Daejeon-Tongyeong Expressway, before crossing Mount Deogyu National Park and reaching Mount Sudo in Gimcheon. The ministry went further to claim that ‘such migration of the bear is evidence that Baekdu Mountains’ ecological path has been recovered,” without confirm‎ing the route of the bear’s migration.

Mee-Jee Lee image@donga.com