The “Brown Bear” which killed on the Iraqi border Was it really a Syrian bear?
SIRAJ: Ahmad Haj Hamdo
A unified news was published lately by most of the Syrian – Iraqi media, which contains that “the Iraqi’s Security Forces has killed a stray bear at Al Ramadi city and on the Syrian – Iraqi border , after its fleeing from Syria to Iraq, due to the fierce battles between Syrian’s Democratic Forces ” SDF” and ” Isis “.
This news have accompanied with a spreading of a pictures on the social media websites, which are demonstrated a killed brown bear laid on the land and the blood filled its face & body, and were surrounded by a group of armed soldiers with their weapons, and was said that “the Iraqi’s security forces killed the brown Syrian bear, which is endangered to extinction”.
The early Iraqi news, which posted in 29th eve of the last October are explained that “The Ninth Regiment forces that affiliated to Al Anbar police were enabled to kill the bear “.
Three days was passed after the incident , a media hype happened in most of the Syrian –Iraqi media from the report of killing the bear , and the media mentioned that , the posted picture is belong to “the brown Syrian bear” which it is a rare and a semi extinct , was the killed bear really of the Syrian brown bear species?
“Daraj” website investigated in corporation with “SIRAJ” Syrian Unit for Investigative Journalism” , at what was mentioned about ” killing the brown Syrian bear ” which it is threatened with extinction at Al Anbar Iraqi’s governorate before days ago, and that by tracking the temporal and spatial path for the bear ,which it is supposed to be a rare and threatened with extinction , and by intersection of the information that posted across the opened resources on internet , in addition by making an interviews with a specialized experts at the wildlife & biology , and all of them have been doubting that the bear is Syrian and threatened with extinction .
Path and life cycle
Appearance of what supposed to be a “the brown Syrian bear “killed in Iraq, it is like a shock for experts & researchers at the wildlife, in the same time some of them doubted that this bear is originally Syrian and from a rare species.
by tracking of the Syrian bear path which threatened with extinction and based on what were supported by the scientific & specialized research patrols, thus there are several data refuted the report that this bear is Syrian , and above of all , it is the life cycle for this bear , where it is giving birth in May and in this period it should be in hibernation status at closed areas like caves , and it is often refuses living or stability at the flat desert areas , where the necessary water & herbs for its life are not available .
We showed pictures of the killed bear on the Syrian – Iraqi border ,on Mr. Div Gharshlis , the joint president for Specialized Bears Group (IUCN Bear Specialist ) , of the united states of America , who is concerning at wildlife in Syrian , and he has a published writings about that , and he is doubts about the bear is Syrian and said ” I think that its source of Iraqi Kurdistan territory , especially that lately they are released some of the captive bears over there , and some of it killed due to its approaching to the people “.
He explained that, if this bear’s source from the Iraqi side, it will not be a Syrian bear.
The Iraqi researcher, Al Laith Alubaidi has agreed with Gharshlis in the wildlife, who resident in south of Iraq and concerned in the wildlife and saying:” the bear that killed at the Iraqi lands its source neither from Syria and nor of Kurdistan of Iraq also, because the numbers of bears are limited over there and the distance between Kurdistan and Al Anbar (south), so far away “.
Alubaidi explained who has done researches on bears ,that the killed bear mostly ran away from one of the local farms or domestic, to be killed later.
Alubaidi referred to that the border areas between Syria & Iraq impossible to be an incubator zones for natural bears due to that it’s a desert areas.
The Syrian – Iraqi border, which stretching along 599 km, and nearby Al Anbar Iraqi governorate ,from Syrian side the Deir Azzor governorate, and Iraq’s Kurdistan territory north, Al Hasaka Syrian governorate.
About “the Syrian brown bear”
“The Syrian brown bear” is considered one of the “brown bear’s” ancestor, in 2010 was chosen as the year’s animal, that according what was announced by the animals protection’s project in Syria “Sbana”, in corporation with Ministry of Culture during the fourth ceremony for the International Day to Animal, that in consideration that the ” Syrian brown bear” is living in Syria, and threatened with extinction.
The “Syrian bear” alongside the “Syrian Hamster”, they are both the only animals which they are carrying the name of “the Syrian” is living in Syria and threatened with extinction.
The main habitat for the Syrian brown bear is centered at the mountain areas especially at Series Mountains of Al Kalamun and mountains of eastern Lebanon, in addition highlands of Al Rammoun & Al Julan in south of Syria , and most ancestries of the bears are origin at Al Caucasus from the mixing of the Syrian and Eurasian bear , but the Syrian bear is from purebred ancestry .
In year of 1969 the Syrian authorities issued a prohibition for hunting the “the Syrian bear” to protects it from extinction, especially that this is a rare animal.
And about the physical attributes, the Brown Syrian Bear head size is between 30 & 40 cm and its tall about 150 cm, and often its color is brown or gray.
The reappearance after despair
Most of the environmental life experts considered that “the Syrian brown bear” was extinct really from Syria , Lebanon & north of Palestine , especially that the last appearance of it was in 1917 , and never has been seen after that any trace of the Syrian bear , With researchers believing that it had been extinct since 1950.
According to “The Syrian Researchers ” website that there are consensus of disappearance of the bears in Syria since 50 years, but in year of 2004 , there are traces of it appeared at Snair village south of Syria , the matter which refresh hopes that it is still existed .
And the first appearance for the Syrian bear ,was recorded at the last of 2016 ,when the night telescope monitored a video for the “Syrian bear’s “female at border mountain area between Syria & Lebanon , in spite of that the experts were sure of its extinction.
The new appearing for “the Syrian Bear”, represents that it had enabled to live along the last fifty years and it coped on the natural circumstances, but it couldn’t cope on the war.
Div Gharshlis saying:” there are subtypes of Brown Bear, called historically (the Syrian bear) in Turkey, Syria & Iran, in addition to Caucasus Mountains in Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan”.
And according to his believe that the bears in Syria was eliminated in mid-fifties, and its trace were see little times in years of 2004,2011,2015,2016 , and he asserts that all these sights were at the west of Syria , at places nearby to Lebanon , and these traces maybe belongs to one bear .
Running away from the cage
Based about what we has monitored in Tracking traces of the killed bear which it is supposed to be from the rare “Syrian Bear’s “ancestry which is threatened with extinction, and according of witnesses & local population at the Iraqi side of the border at Al Anbar governorate & Al Ramadi city, that Iraqi civilians have seen a running away bear from Al Ramadi city towards the Euphrates River, and the its is consistent with the stories of the specialists ,that the bear’s source not from Syria and didn’t come from the Syrian lands .
The Iraqi journalist Suliman Alkubaisi, manger of “Al Anbar News” agency accredited at the Iraqi Journalists Association, he clarifies that he communicated with Iraqi security authorities, whom notified him that the bear was at one of the large farms western of Al Ramadi.
And Alkubaisi added that the security forces were anticipating to be the bear is an animal attacks the human, especially with what happened previously of attacking by a predator animals at Al Faluja & Al Ramadi , and that pushed them to shot the fire on it in “Al Taamim” area south western of Al Ramadi, before they know that it was a bear.
And he denied being the killed bear, of the “Syrian Brown bear’s” family, and that citing Iraqi security authorities.
Alkubaisi asserted that Al Anbar Environment Directorate ,went on 31 last October to “Park & Garden of Alard Alsaeeda” at Al Ramadi city, after it had made sure of the bear’s running away from that park.
And after inquiry of “Al Anabar Environment’s” team about the incident, has shown that the bear lost its children at the cage, what caused of its running away towards the another side of the city , which is controlled by the Iraqi security forces ,according to the park’s owner .
According what was cited by Alkubaisi on behalf of Al Anbar Environment’s Directorate, that the bear was going aggressively to one of the security patrols, that pushed its individuals to kill it, in referring to that the killed bear is female and its children are still existed into the park.
And through follow-up the research, we obtained a picture to the park, which the female of the bear run away of it, and which killed later and was suspected that it is a “brown Syrian bear “.
And through deny of most experts to be the bear a Syrian , is likely to be of ” the brown bear’s” family, which contains a several types ، unlike the “brown Syrian bear ” , especially that the size of the killed bear was smaller than the normal size of the brown Syrian bear , and its killing’s time is coincided with its normal hibernation throughout the winter period , in addition to concentrated of presence this kind of bears when it was existed clearly in Syria ,in south & west of country towards the Lebanese border, and it is impossible of being the bear crossed the Syrian lands from the far its west to the far of its east.
* This investigation was carried out under the supervision of the Syrian Investigative Reporting for Accountability Journalism-SIRAJ.