By Jamshid Parchizadeh

Prolonged drought may increase Asiatic black bear-human encounters in Iran

October 15, 2021 - 20:31

Iran is facing its worst drought in 50 years which has resulted in water shortages for humans and wildlife species.

With drought going on, animal species including the Asiatic black bear have had to leave protected areas for other places where they can find food and water resources (e.g. within or around human-populated areas), which can result in encounters between black bears and humans.

The Asiatic black bear is a rare and vulnerable species in Iran that occur in the mountainous areas around Sistan and Baluchestan, Hormozgan, and Kerman Provinces. Reduction of natural foods within bears’ familiar home ranges due to droughts may make bears leave their habitat and become highly attracted to anthropogenic sources of food in human-populated areas, which can result in increased encounters with humans. Consequently, to reduce unnecessary encounters between humans and Asiatic black bears at this critical time, it is recommended that the DOE consider: (1) educating local people about the difficult situation the black bears are currently in as a result of prolonged drought, which can result in sharing some water resources between humans and bears, and (2) establishing a program to compensate for any agricultural (i.e. livestock, or crops including plants, fruits, beehives) losses inflicted by black bears.

By Jamshid Parchizadeh is PhD student from the State University of New York

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