Go to contents

Unmanned Camera Captures Images of Half-Moon Bear in Mt. Jiri

Unmanned Camera Captures Images of Half-Moon Bear in Mt. Jiri

Posted November. 17, 2002 23:21,   


A government environmental research agency took pictures of a Korean wild bear, also known as a half-moon bear for its distinctive half moon-shaped mark on the chest, in mountain Jiri in southwest part of the country.

The National Institute of Environmental Research said that it captured images of a half-moon bear living in the mountain using its unmanned camera installed with a heat-detecting sensor early last month, and released the images of the bear on Nov. 17.

˝Since a broadcaster’s report on the presence of half-moon bear in Mt. Jiri, we have been tracing signs of wild bears in the mountain,˝ said NIER.

˝We sent the newly-taken images to expert organizations at home and abroad including a half-moon bear research institute in Japan, Seoul National University and the National Environment Research Institute, and they all agreed that the bear is a wild half-moon bear,˝ an official at the institute explained.

The bear in the images is about 100 to 120 kg and looks like some 6 to 7 years old. The grown-up bear was looking for water to drink when it was caught in the camera.

˝After examining hair, excretions and traces on the tree, we reached a conclusion that there are more than five half-moon bears living in the mountain,˝ NIER went on to say. ˝It not a large number, but it is encouraging that they are still there.˝

The institute earlier in September estimated that there are some 21 half-moon bears living across the country.

In an effort to protect the wild bears, the Ministry of Environment and NIER now plans to control access to Mt. Giri National Park and strictly ban hunting in the region. They are also set to launch a wildlife project to save those bears on the verge of extinction in Korea.

Half-moon bears are living in Southeast Asia region throughout Korea, Russia, China and Japan. Their bodies are covered with black or red-brown hair except for V-shaped white hair on the chest. MIE designated the half-moon bear as the nation’s natural treasure in 1982.

Jin Lee leej@donga.com