türkçe links to original Turkish article
(Hürriyet Newspaper, 31 March 2017)
"Does a bear sit in the woods?"
Hamit Karataş lives in Güneyce village in Rize's İkizdere district.
Last Friday he was driving along the road when he saw what he
thought was a large stone. But when he got out of his car he was
horrified to see that the 'stone' was in fact a human skull.
Gone white with fear, Karataş rushed to village chief İsmail Hakkı
Taşdelen to tell him what he had seen. The villagers all went to the
scene, put the skull in a bag and began to check all the graves in
the village, where there is no common graveyard. Because of the
hilly geography of the area each family buries its dead on its own
Suspect remains at large...very large.
As they approached the home of the village imam who died two
years ago they noticed the giant footprints of a bear. Then they
saw that the imam's grave had been opened and ransacked. Since
then the villagers have been keeping watch for the bear, as villagers
in Şimşirli village have been doing for two months after a young
boy's grave was plundered by a bear.
Anti-bear barbed wire instead of headstones anymore.
All the villagers agreed that they have lived peaceably with the
area bears for generations but something has changed. Village chief
Taşdelen explained that "I've lived here all my life and never heard
of bear incidents like these before. "
According to the villagers, the main reason the bears are plundering
graves is the construction of HES (hydro-power) plants that have
altered water routes in the area, along with human-generated pollution.
Bears awakening from hibernation have not adapted to the new
environment and plunder the graves for food. Villager Halim Çankaya,
a 50-year resident, said that "no one wants to hurt the bears. If we do
the fine is between 15 and 18,000 TL (about $4-6,000)."