Road takes toll on young bears

While the road connecting Siatista with Krystallopigi across the Egnatia Highway in northern Greece may provide a valuable shortcut for commuters, it is proving a death trap for the region’s dwindling brown bear population, conservation groups warn.

Animal welfare groups Arcturos and Callisto said Wednesday that since the road opened at the beginning of the year, 11 brown bears have been killed by vehicles, with the most recent victims being two cubs killed earlier this week.

According to Alexandros Karamanlidis, Arcturos’s scientific director, all of the road accidents involving bears in 2012 concerned young 1- or 2-year-old animals, a fact that raises fears of an entire generation being wiped out, which would be deadly for the population.

The animal welfare groups added that bear deaths on the roads of northern Greece, amid the natural habitat of Ursus arctos, have this year exceeded deaths by hunters or poisoning. 

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