Jiaming Lake National Trail in eastern Taiwan closed due to intrusions of Formosan black bears into mountain huts

(photo courtesy of 天馬登山社提供)

(photo courtesy of 天馬登山社提供)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News)—Jiaming Lake National Trail will be closed for 15 days due to recent intrusions of Formosan black bears into mountain huts, starting Wednesday (August 22), while authorities are trying to figure out how to improve the situation, according to a news release issued by Taiwan’s Forestry Bureau on Monday.

The news release said four incidents of Formosan black bears intruding into Xiangyang and Jiaming Lake lodges along the national trail had happened from August 9 to date, and on the night of August 18, high mountain collaborators captured close-up images of a Formosan black bear inside a mountain lodge being totally unafraid of the presence of humans.

To prevent conflicts between bears and humans, Taitung Forest District Office has decided to close the national trail as well as the two lodges along the trail as an emergency measure, Forestry Bureau said.

Formosan black bears, which are listed as an endangered species, have frequently appeared near the lodges and warehouses along the Jiaming Lake National Trail, and it has also been reported that the black bears had made away with storage boxes for food.

Forestry Bureau said it is necessary to close the trail immediately to prevent conflicts that might arise from close contacts between bears and numerous lodgers who stay at the huts overnight.

During the 15 days, Taitung Forest District Office will invite wild animal experts, mountaineering groups, local high mountain collaborators, and the mountain lodge management to discuss the issue of how to improve the situation, the Forestry Bureau said.

During the trail closure, Forestry Bureau said it will also improve the environment around and inside the lodges frequented by the black bears and increase infra-red video cameras to strength monitoring of intruding bears.

Taitung Forest District Office urged mountaineers to properly pack their food and not leave leftovers in the mountains.

As for those who had registered to stay at the lodges during the time of the closure, they can choose to get a full refund or reserve the right to stay there at a later time, Forestry Bureau said.

For issues related to bed reservation and application, please call Taitung Forest District Office during office time (8 a.m. – 5 p.m.) at 089-324121, extensions 705, 708 and 713.

(photo courtesy of 天馬登山社提供)

Jiaming Lake from Flickr by CHU WayNe