KARS, Turkey

Emerging from hibernation, grizzly bears were spotted strolling downtown Kars, a freezing cold city in northeastern Turkey, in search of food.

The grizzly bears walk some 350 kilometers (217 miles) in summer to migrate to the woods in of Savsat, Artvin on the Black Sea coast. They feed on fruits there, and return to the Sarikamis district of Kars to hibernate when the weather becomes cold.

Following a winter in forestland of Sarikamis, the grizzly bears have started to emerge from hibernation as the weather gets warmer day by day.

They saunter into the town center with their cubs to find food as the snow-covered forestland does not offer any yet.

Mustafa Karadeniz, the manager of a seafood restaurant on the Erzurum-Kars highway, said the grizzly bears try to feed themselves with fish and food leftovers.

“They have begun to get close to our restaurant. We feed them, they do not hurt anyone. Once they are full, they return to the forest,” he said.

Karadeniz added that some citizens approached the grizzly bears so much and it was very dangerous. “Bears with their cubs can be more aggressive,” he warned.

Senay Vanli, a local resident, said that the grizzly bears entered even the neighborhoods.

“Especially in the evenings, they stroll very freely. Right now, a bear is searching for food right behind me; everyone should be careful,” she said.

*Writing by Dilan Pamuk in Ankara

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