These bears just wanted a little smackerel from the honey pot.
And beekeeper Ibrahim Sedef is using their honey-loving palates to his advantage.
Sedef, an agricultural engineer in Turkey, is constantly trying to protect his hives from the many sweet-toothed bears in his neighborhood, on the country’s Black Sea coast. His efforts got downright scientific when he began experimenting with various tactics to divert their paws away from his liquid gold.
He first tried guarding his hives with cages, but the bears found their way around them. He also left food such as bread and fruit to lure them away.
“I put outside several kinds of bread,” Sedef told Turkish daily Hürriyet. “For instance, there’s a kind of Trabzon-style bran bread prepared with whole wheat. It has always been their first choice among different breads. Their second choice is the sourdough bread, and their last choice is the bread bought from the market.”
His research also found that the bears eat a lot of hazelnuts. But, still, they always eventually made their way back to the fresh honeycomb.
Ever the scientist, Sedef eventually decided that if he couldn’t beat them, he could at least learn from them — particularly their expert taste for honey.
So he set up a night-vision camera on his bee farm, and laid out a table with five varieties of honey for the bears to taste test.
Sedef told Turkish outlet DHA that the bears, in fact, had a very refined sense of smell that led them first to the rare Anzer honey from the Ballıköy plateau region, which they slurped up the most. According to Ahval News, the Turkish honey goes “1,000 liras ($171) per kilo,” and is considered “among the most expensive honeys on the market.”
While Sedef also told Ahval he was concerned about his bees, he can’t help but appreciate the bears’ dedication to the honey game.
“When I watch the video, I forget all the damage they do. I love them.”
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