Heavy Snow in Gangwon Province Leads to Rare Wildlife Sightings | Be Korea-savvy

Heavy Snow in Gangwon Province Leads to Rare Wildlife Sightings

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GANGNEUNG, Feb. 27 (Korea Bizwire) – On February 25, amidst a serene snowfall, a rare sight was captured along National Route 6 connecting Jinbu-myeon in Pyeongchang County with Yeongok-myeon in the city of Gangneung: a long-eared owl, a second-class endangered species and natural monument, perched atop a utility pole.

This nocturnal bird, usually active at night, was spotted during the day along the busy highway, presumably forced out by the heavy snowfall that made food scarce in the mountains.

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This particular area, known for its harsh winter conditions, has recently witnessed significant snowfall, affecting not just the long-eared owls but other wildlife as well. For instance, mountain goats, also struggling to find food, were observed venturing down to villages in search of sustenance.

The heavy snow, accumulating over 70 cm in some areas, has transformed the landscape into a winter wonderland, challenging the survival of local fauna.

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Birds like the vinous-throated parrotbill have been seen rummaging through the snow-covered grass for seeds, while a solitary yellow-throated bunting was spotted fruitlessly searching for food among cedar trees before resigning to the harsh elements on a power line. 

The situation is particularly dire for the Korean goral, a first-class endangered species, with instances of exhaustion on the rise due to the difficulty in finding food.

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The Korean goral, adapted to the rugged mountainous terrain of Gangwon’s highlands, relies on tree bark and moss as winter food sources.

However, the National Park Service reports a significant increase in the rescue of these animals this winter, with 18 gorals saved compared to the usual two or three during previous winters, and sadly, eight have perished despite efforts to save them. 

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The continuous heavy snowfall along the East Coast and mountainous regions of Gangwon Province, characteristic of the beginning of spring, has made it increasingly challenging for wildlife to forage, leading to more frequent sightings near roads and villages as animals desperately search for food. 

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The National Park Service advises the public not to disturb or approach wildlife, such as gorals, that may appear near roadsides seeking sunnier spots or food.

The snowy weather serves as a stark reminder of the harsh realities faced by wildlife, turning the season into a critical period for their survival.

Image credit: Yonhap / photonews@koreabizwire.com 

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