A hungry bear made a noticeable impact on the surrounding area of Mount Paiko in Northern Greece after it was spotted feasting on honey and destroying beehives. The mischievous bear is believed to have eaten 40kg (88 lbs) of honey!
The sizeable animal was unexpectedly recorded by automatic cameras that had been set up by members of the environmental group “Kallisto”. The group was alerted to the havoc caused by the creature in the broader region of Goumenissa by local residents.
The bear was first spotted in February, causing problems for honey producers in the area, whose beehives were damaged. The presence of a bear has been noted in the region for about 10 years.
Bear caught eating honey
“The honey that the bear ate was last year’s honey that the producers have put in to feed the bees. It still doesn’t have this year’s production, there isn’t that much flowering. The bear also ate the brood of the bees”, George Theodoridis, the communication manager of the Kallisto environmental organization explained.
“Especially this year, there were a lot of chestnuts left on the trees because the producers didn’t get good prices and didn’t harvest them, so there was plenty of food, either on the branches or down on the ground,” Theodoridis added.
Starting in February, beekeepers noticed the destruction of their beehives and promptly informed both the Forest Service and Kallisto. Officials from both organizations visited the site to provide the community with guidance on strategies to manage the situation and prevent further harm.
“Our recommendation, which was followed by producers, was that they move the beehives inside electrified fences and put a small radio playing, in order for the noise to scare the animal and drive it away,” said Theodoridis.
During the most recent incident, this particular bear is thought to have eaten about 40kg of honey and in the process destroyed between 15 and 20 beehives.
The bear population in Greece
This is not the first time that a bear has been caught pilfering food in Greece. In 2021, a mother bear and her cub were caught red-handed as they climbed over an enclosure to raid a cherry orchard in the region of Kastoria, northern Greece.
Greece is currently home to an estimated population of 450 brown bears. The majority of these bears live in the mountainous regions of northern Greece, including the Pindos and Rhodope Mountains.
The bear population in Greece has faced numerous challenges in recent years, including habitat loss, poaching, and conflicts with humans. However, the Greek government and several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have implemented various conservation measures to protect the species and mitigate these challenges. These include the designation of protected areas, such as the National Park of Pindos, and the installation of electric fences around beehives to reduce conflicts with local beekeepers.