At the Bear Cinema

It’s a memory from last summer. As a person from Covasna County, I have already seen bears, of course. In the open air. From a fair distance. 

What we were about to do, however, was a little different: we wanted to observe the behaviour of the Carpathian brown bear in its natural habitat. Hopefully, we’d get closer to the bear: we’d be safe, having been locked up, and the bear would be free.

We met our guide at Ghidfalău, who took us up in the Bodoc Mountains with a jeep. After about 15 minutes we arrived at the "stop" where we had to get out of the car; a few hundred meters away there was a clearing with the bear watching site, which should only be approached on foot.

Meanwhile, the sky had darkened, the rain had started, and the wind was blowing, as well. I think this also contributed to my ever-growing excitement. What if the bear arrived before us? Or worse: what if it happened to plod behind us? Our guide, Lajos Berde, who hunted animals exclusively with telephoto lenses, reassured us that although he had equipment that he could use if justified, he wouldn’t need it.

We took our seats in the Bear Cinema and waited. We spoke quietly, because bears have good hearing and get scared easily. Lajos dispelled the misconception that bears hibernated in winter.

And at that moment a bear walked out of the forest. It was a young male, probably not even 4 years old, and came here on a daily basis to eat. At that day he had corn. He was about 10-15 meters from the observation point. Sometimes he looked up, according to Lajos, he felt that he wasn’t alone. After eating all the corncobs that our guide had scattered, he disappeared into the forest as slowly as he had appeared.

Szidónia Fazakas Csoma

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