'Tartu bear' now spotted in various locations of town, caution urged

Eurasian Brown Bear (Ursus arctos arctos). Photo is illustrative.
Eurasian Brown Bear (Ursus arctos arctos). Photo is illustrative. Source: Gerd Schaefer / Pixabay

Members of the public in Tartu should exercise vigilance after a bear recently spotted roaming around the Ropka district, to the south of the city center, has been seen again, multiple times and in different parts of the city.

While the bear is young, the species is still Estonia's largest predator, zoologist Marko Mägi told "Ringvaade" Wednesday.

Mägi said: "You never know how a bear will act in an urban environment," adding the bear was likely disorientated and, as a young specimen, still trying to establish its territory.

Leaving the animal well alone would be best for all parties, Mägi added, or viewed from afar – something he has even been able to do himself after seeing the animal close to his window.

"Early morning sometimes a very common time for me to go for a run, right on the same street that this bear was walking along. So I was pretty happy I didn't go out this morning."

"We don't know where he is heading next. He has been in Ropka, and was in Supilinn today. We can hope that maybe he left that area, but since there are no particularly large forests in the immediate vicinity of Tartu, I'm not very optimistic that it will get out of the public eye any time soon."

The first spotting had been on another side of the city from subsequent sightings, Mägi added.

"Whether he really only roams around at night and secretly sleeps in the undergrowth during the daytime, or whether he has traversed the city during the day is anyone's guess," Mägi added.

Local daily Tartu Postimees reported (link in Estonian) that specialists from the Environmental Board (Keskkonnaamet) are attempting to trap the bear, with a view to releasing it into a more sparsely-populated area.

The bear was caught on camera on a main road, albeit very early in the morning, earlier in the week, and is one of several recent sightings of bears close to human habitation in recent weeks, a spate which has sparked controversy over culling quotas and whether these should be increased.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: 'Ringvaade'

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