Bears increasingly used to interact with tourists
According to a Finnish researcher, the behaviour of the animals has changed due to human presence.
In Finland there exist many companies which offer tourists the possibility of watching bears closely. These businesses attract bears by feeding. Now some bears are observed in photography, filming and viewing sites because they might be used to humans.
“Some bears get very familiar. They do not hide, but they wait close at night for food”. This is what Ilpo Kojola, Research Professor at the Finnish Natural Resources Institute, has told Yle in a recent article.
Risk to the environment
The Finnish Safety and Chemical Agency Tukes (in Finnish Turvallisuus- ja kemikaalivirasto) has also investigated the matter when bears disturbed people at a filming site. Takes stated that the services for tourists can produce an immediate risk to the environment.
Kojola has the same opinion, there can be bear concentrations and that may increase the risk of spreading several diseases and parasites within the bear population. This has happened before in some transited areas with pigeons and other types of birds because people fed them.
Kojola also states that more research on the subject is necessary to know how to proceed for a more precise solution.
Bear population slowly growing
Bears are all over Finland, but they are more common along the eastern border and from the southeast to Northern Ostrobothnia (Pohjois-Pohjanmaa).
Finland's bear population has doubled since the late 1970’s to around 2,000 individuals nowadays.