Since late December last year, a Formosan black bear rescued by the Dongshih Forest District Office of the Forestry Bureau and tagged with release number 711, had been wandering into several orchards and settlements. From late December to January 23, it caused disturbances in four farms in Miaoli and Taichung consecutively, during which the affected farmers and tribal communities actively cooperated with the Forestry Bureau to protect and remove the bear. On February 2, the Forestry Bureau praised the two bear-friendly tribal communities and four farms that actively reported the bear and supported preventive measures, as well as 17 residents who helped remove traps. The Forestry Bureau also thanked the members of these communities for their willingness to create a friendly environment where bears and people can live in harmony.
The Dongshih Forest District Office mentioned that a Formosan black bear that had been mistakenly caught in a trap was rescued from Mt. Tungmao during the Mid-Autumn Festival last year and released into the Syue-Shan-Keng River Major Wildlife Habitat in early December; this bear began being monitored daily after its release. For the first half of December, Bear 711 roamed around Shei-Pa National Park according to its past activity patterns. However, on December 16, this bear started to crawl towards the orchards and settlements in Miaoli, entering the area protected by the satellite electronic fencing that had been set up. Moreover, in late December last year, early January, and mid-January, Bear 711's movements concentrated between orchards in Miaoli's Mapihaw Tribal Community and Taichung's Tgbin Tribal Community, where safety concerns were heightened among residents. The bear's activities included wandering into four orchards, damaging and invading farmhouses and blockhouses made from corrugated steel, destroying fridges and cupboards, eating farmers' food supplies and dog food, as well as invading coops to eat the chickens and chicken feed.
As soon as the Dongshih Forest District Office noticed that Bear 711 was moving towards these tribal communities, they immediately dispatched personnel to provide guidance to the residents and assist them in various preventive measures. The Mapihaw Tribal Community and Tgbin Tribal Community, the two most affected areas, actively complied with the various bear-friendly preventive measures. Seventeen tribal residents helped remove more than 200 traps that were set up around the orchards for pest control; four affected farmers reported bear sightings as soon as they happened, hid the food around their farmhouses, and cooperated with the Forest District Office to set up flash grenades and automatic camera monitoring systems. The tribal residents even teamed up with forest rangers to drive the bear away in a non-harmful manner, patrolling day and night between the communities and the orchards, hoping to drive Bear 711 away and back to the protected areas to achieve a mutually beneficial outcome. During a large-scale removal operation on January 23, Bear 711 was accidentally caught in a pest control trap due to the daily tracking and patrolling efforts; as soon as this was discovered, the Forest District Office rushed to its rescue. Bear 711 is currently under medical care at the Low Altitude Experimental Station of the Endemic Species Research Institute.
Lin Hwa-Ching, Director General of the Forestry Bureau, added: "The members of the Mapihaw Tribal Community and Tgbin Tribal Community were aware of the presence of the Formosan black bear in the area, yet they showed great tolerance and willingness to cooperate with the Forest District Office to implement various environmentally-friendly methods, so that bears and humans in mountainous settlements could coexist in harmony, becoming a model for other tribes.” In recognition of the environmental conservation spirit shown by the Mapihaw Tribal Community in Miaoli and Tgbin Tribal Community in Taichung, Director General, Lin Hwa-Ching of the Forestry Bureau visited the Tgbin Tribal Community Activity Center, and in the presence of more than 60 residents, presented these communities with an award to thank them for their efforts in protecting the Formosan black bear. He also presented certificates and gifts to the four farmers who actively reported the bear sightings and to the 17 residents who helped remove traps. Director General Lin hoped that this small token of appreciation would allow the spirit of bear preservation to gradually take root and grow among these tribes; he also hoped that in the future, everyone living in these communities could become bear conservationists. Thanks to the cooperation between tribal communities, the Forestry Bureau, and the Forestry District Office, the conservation of Formosan black bears in Taiwan has taken a big leap forward.
The Dongshih Forest District Office would like to once again remind landowners that they can apply to the county and municipal governments for subsidies to install electric fences around farmlands in mountainous areas. They can also hand over old traps to the Forest District Office and have them replaced with new precision hunting equipment to prevent damages caused by wild animals, reduce harm towards these animals and accidentally capture endangered wildlife.