The field team of LIFE AMY BEAR project was very efficient recently. The people of Callisto have visited many areas of Amyntaio and Florina for the needs of the project's actions. In addition, the operations of the Instant Response Team (IRT) also involved Forest Service officials, multiplying the positive impact of the actions. Progress is characterized by the following events:
- The collection of a sample of biological material (from the group of Kallisto) was completed and laboratory DNA analyzes started at the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Development of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. This action is necessary for the genetic study and estimation of the bear population size in the project area.
- Bear population density estimation: A network of 12 IR cameras has been installed and 404 photos have been registered with bears. The third round (out of 4) of the camera network is about to complete in the sampling area.
- 50 interviews with breeders and other producers in the project area have been completed to investigate any problems that arise in some bear-human interactions (damage to farm livestock, searching for food in rubbish bins).
- More than 45 shepherd dogs have been granted by the Kalisto team who is responsible for this action covering 98% of the shepherd dog needs of the Amyntaio Municipality. This action is particularly important because if a farmer does not have the necessary number of dogs to protect his flock, he is likely to be damaged by a bear, thus disturbing the coexistence of man and wildlife. It is worth mentioning that thanks to the acquaintances developed by the Good Shepherd Dog Exchange Network, a very important structure for livestock farming has also benefited: Two very good dogs were given at the Vlasti Center for Livestock and Education, which serves research and education in mountain livestock farming.
- The Instant Response Team (IRT) for bears visited in the areas of Flambouros and Ammochori, farmers who grow corn fields that have recently received a "bear visit"... The group informed the farmers of the precautionary measures (electrified fencing) and of the current compensation scheme for crop damage by bears (ELGA).
The IRT of LIFE AMYBEAR, also visited Kladorrahi to make an autopsy (and then inform the residents) of a rare incident: A female bear with her cubs was found among 3 hunters in a field of sunflower seeds. The cubs were frightened by the shots, and the female bear, in her attempt to protect them, injured one of the hunters who was hospitalized out of danger.
On September 13, the Coordination Committee on Crisis Management in Bear Approach-Intervention Incidents met in residential areas at the invitation of the Florina Forest Directorate. During the meeting there was a briefing on the above incident. The reason which makes animals reappear in areas where they have disappeared many years ago has been thoroughly analyzed, as well as what must someone do if they meet a bear on the road up-close.