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Taiwan releases Formosan black bear into wild for second time

Forestry Bureau hopes bear named '711' will stay away from food left by humans this time

Formosan black bear 711 returning to freedom on April 12. (Forestry Bureau photo)

Formosan black bear 711 returning to freedom on April 12. (Forestry Bureau photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A Formosan black bear who bothered farmers was released into the wild for a second time but in a more remote part of Taichung City’s Mount Dongmao, the Council of Agriculture’s (COA) Forestry Bureau said Friday (April 22).

The large male, known by the number 711, was found injured in 2020 and freed after treatment. However, he “harassed” residents of Dongshi District, eating animal feed prepared by farmers and forcing his way into chicken coops, the Forestry Bureau said in a news release.

After he was caught a second time, experts discussed how the bear should return to freedom. The conclusion was that he should be returned to a natural habitat where there was plenty of suitable food, but far away from areas inhabited by humans, so both sides should feel safe.

Alarm systems and a satellite tracking device were installed in order to monitor the bear’s movements after he ended captivity on April 12. If the animal returns to villages the authorities said they would catch him.

The main problem was that once a bear becomes used to eating the same food as humans, it is difficult for him to stay away and return to his original diet, according to experts. The Forestry Bureau called on hikers and residents not to leave any trash and unfinished food outside.