Road barriers to be set up to protect bears

Environment and Public Works Minister Giorgos Souflias yesterday heralded the construction of barriers along sections of the Egnatia Highway in northern Greece and the use of electrified wire to prevent road deaths among the local brown bear population, a dwindling protected species. «To avoid such accidents, we will put up a strong fence as soon as possible and set up electrified fencing at spots frequented by bears,» Souflias said after talks with conservationists. Until the fences and wires are up, there is to be «constant monitoring» of the area by cars mounted with flashlights, to scare off bears near the road. «The bears have certain habits and until they learn to change them, we must guide them,» Souflias said.Conservationists have increased pressure on authorities to protect brown bears after two were found dead on roads in May. Nineteen, out of a population of around 200, have died in the past decade.