Mountain clean-up launched to discourage foraging black bears

Some 700 kilograms of trash and kitchen waste was removed last week from an area near the Siangyang Cabin on the Jiaming Lake (???) trail in Taitung County, one of the main habitats of the Formosan black bear, the cleanup organizers said Sunday.

The cleanup last Thursday and Friday was part of an effort to prevent the endemic species of bear from encroaching on areas of human habitation, the Taitung Forest District Office said.

The office said it also hosted a series of seminars during the summer to inform people about what to do if they encounter a bear and how to discourage foraging bears.

During the two-day mountain cleanup, 30 volunteers collected 700 kg of trash and food scraps in the vicinity of the Siangyang Cabin, where several sightings of the Formosan black bear have been reported in recent years, the office said.

It said the bears have been venturing into the area because of improper food storage and kitchen waste disposal by hikers near the cabin.

In fact, the office said, the Siangyang Cabin was closed for two months from July 10 to Sept. 8 because of the frequency of such sightings, including two on June 3 by a hiker.

The Siangyang Cabin, which sits at altitude of 3,520 meters on the trail to Jiaming Lake, was reopened on Sept. 9.

Jiaming Lake, Taiwan's second-highest mountain lake, is a popular hiking destination, drawing some 30,000 visitors per year, most of them in the period April to June, according to the office.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel