Mountain patrols capture video of rare sighting of Formosan black bear

Startled by the animal’s sudden movement, the two workers instinctively spun around and darted away

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(photo courtesy of Forestry Bureau's Chiayi Forest District Office)

(photo courtesy of Forestry Bureau's Chiayi Forest District Office)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Two Forestry Bureau mountain patrols captured video of a rare Formosan black bear sighting, as it crossed a river and climbed up a steep hill when they were walking along the Nanzihsiian River valley in Kaohsiung’s Namasia District on Monday during a patrol mission.

Lai Lung-hui (賴龍輝), director of Chiayi Forest District Office's Alishan Work Station, said that the duty mountain patrolmen, surnamed Wong and Fang, were walking along the Nanzihsiian River valley, which is situated 2,100 meters above sea level, when an oversize creature jumped out of an alpine oak tree four meters in front of them on the right-hand side. Startled by the animal’s sudden movement, the two workers intuitively turned back and sprinted as if they were running a 100-meter dash, Lai said.

After pausing for a moment to collect themselves, they turned to watch, and saw a strapping Formosan black bear crossing the river to escape what it perceived as a danger, after it was also frightened by the appearance of the two rangers, the Director said.

Lai said that according to the judgment of the mountain patrols, the black bear weighs at least 150 kilograms and is a healthy adult, adding that the two patrols looked at the tree and saw a bear lair on the tree made of twigs and leaves about eight meters from the ground.

The Formosan black bear usually live in remote mountain areas unfrequented by humans, and because their number is small, it’s rare that mountain patrols have such close-range contact with the protected animals, the director said, adding that the agency wants to share the pleasant and surprising encounter with the public. However, he also recommended to the public that, anyone who is lucky enough to encounter the Formosan black bear should keep a good distance from the animals and quickly get away from them.

(video courtesy of the Chiayi Forest District Office)

(video courtesy of the Chiayi Forest District Office)