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Wednesday, January 21, 1998 Published at 11:56 GMT



Sci/Tech

Boars bothered by bears with sore heads
image: [ Bears should be sleeping at this time of year ]
Bears should be sleeping at this time of year

Forestry officials in Poland say the unusually mild winter has led to a group of insomniac bears roaming the mountains in the south-east of the country.

The officials say the bears would normally hibernate between December and March but because temperatures have rarely dropped below freezing this winter they have been unable to sleep.

BBC Warsaw correspondent James Coomarasamy says temperatures would normally average -15C during the bears' usual time for hibernation.

The unseasonally mild temperatures have kept the bears wide awake and like many other insomniacs they have taken to wandering around the region trying to quell their hunger.


[ image: There are fears that restless pregnant bears might endanger their unborn cubs]
There are fears that restless pregnant bears might endanger their unborn cubs
Unfortunately, for the local wild boar population the bears' snack of choice has turned out to be the corn and sugar beat mixture that they would normally eat themselves.

It has been enough to give forestry officials in the region a headache. One told the BBC that in 28 years of service he had never seen anything like it.

Although he said he was confident that the wild boars would get by, he was alarmed at the plight of the bears. Just 30 of them are thought to be left in the mountains and he is worried that restless pregnant bears might endanger their unborn cubs.

The foresters say they are praying for a cold snap so that they, as well as the bears, can finally get some sleep.
 





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