Sustainable tourism program on bear sloth behavior observation around Kurile Lake is carried out within the environmental project “Brown bear and human – well balanced neighborhood in South Kamchatka”. This research is supported by Presidential Grants Fund.
Now more bears come out to the lake shores: red salmon start to enter their spawning sites so the animals start taking places according to their social status in the group which has been formed around the lake outskirts. The most attractive feeding points usually belong to dominant males excluding the parts where there are vast amounts of fish and plenty of food for everyone. However, no salmon mass arrival is expected before August. According to “umbrella” principle females with their cubs preferably stick to border posts which gives them feelings of safety and security but that works not for all families. Young bears who have recently separated from the litter normally act according to the situation.
Brown bear sloth in Kurile lake basin complex research will include various lines. This year due to worldwide pandemic situation the tourist number has significantly decreased which will help scientists compare the bears’ behavior with records from previous years when there was quite a number of visitors – an average of 5000 people within a season. Trail cameras will contribute a lot to the observation.
“We shall estimate the influence of recreation on animals’ territorial spread, their intraday activity, success in fishing and intragroup relationships between animals of different sexes and ages. An important part of the work is the interrelations of people and bears. We are as well very interested in animal seasonal spread related to different sockeye species spawning cycles and salmon abundance. Of course demographic parameters will also be considered: count, age and gender composition, average litter size, bear cubs survival rate and it’s connection to sockeye abundance”, – said Sergey Kolchin, staff research scientist in the Institute for Water and Ecological Problems, Far East Division of Russian Academy of Sciences.
Zoological research is also one of the project streams. Its sociologic aspect is important as well. Surveys for tourists about their visit expectations of the most bearish place in Russia will be continued this season.
Environmental educating activities are planned for local communities situated next to South Kamchatka Federal Reserve. Lectures will be held by experts in ecology and biology of Kamchatka brown bears, preventive information boards will be set out, brochures on how to behave on “bear territories” are ready for distribution along with other events aimed on harmonized relationship between bears and humans in South Kamchatka.
Project “Brown bear and human – well balanced neighborhood in South Kamchatka” is dedicated to help decrease anthropogenic effect on bears of South Kamchatka Federal Reserve and drop the number of conflicts between animals and humans in local communities situated in cross-border regions. The project is supported by Presidential Grants Fund and Environmental protection charity Fund “Zapovednik”. General partner – FSBI “Kronotsky state reserve”.