An orphaned bear named Thomas, who was found wandering alone in the area of Florina, northern Greece last year, was returned to the wild after being cared for in the facilities of Arcturos wildlife organization.
The reintroduction of the wild animal was carefully planned by volunteers and vets. After being sedated for the necessary veterinary tests, he was fitted with a transmitter collar and taken to a forest area of Mount Vitsi.
The cage door opened and Thomas rushed off to a free life in the forest!
The bear was about three months old when it was rescued after being noticed wandering alone by the residents of the village of Polypotamos, Florina. He was “baptized” Thomas because he was found on Saint Thomas Day.
Arcturos says that he lost his mom for unknown reasons and wandered alone for at least 2-3 days at an age where his survival directly depended on his mother’s milk. He managed to survive by eating fruits and greens.
Arcturos is a nonprofit, non-governmental, environmental organization (NGO) founded in 1992, focusing on the protection of wildlife fauna and natural habitat, in Greece.
Among its other activities, it gives priority to scientific research and provides environmental education. It also raises public awareness on matters such as biodiversity and viability.
Bear population in Greece is over 450
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, including Arcturos, 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.
In March 2023, another bear made headlines in Greece when she 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.
Experts believe that the bear population in the region has increased over the past decade or so. This is due to certain environmental factors such as an abundance of food.