There is a half-breasted bear, nicknamed 'Columbus'.

The official name is 'KM53'.

This is a male half-moon bear born in Korea, and it is the 53rd individual that was released into Mt. Jirisan.

Since 2018, he left Mt. Jiris and lived in the Baekdudaegan forest in the central region of Sudosan, Gimcheon, Gyeongbuk, Hapcheon, Geochang, Yeongdong, Chungbuk, and Muju-gun, Jeollabuk-do.

This is the first individual to move from Jirisan Mountain to Baekdudaegan Mountain in the central region since 2004 when the restoration project of the first-class black bear, an endangered species, began in earnest. It has been living stably for three years by pioneering a new habitat on its own.

KM53 hibernate until the end of March in Hapcheon, Gyeongnam. After waking up from Dong-myeon, he went up to Gimcheon, Gyeongbuk at the end of April, passed through Yeongdong, Chungbuk and Muju, Jeollabuk-do, and then moved to Geochang, Gyeongsangnam-do at the end of May.

It was on the night of the 6th that KM53 appeared on Mt. Jirisan in Namwon, Jeollabuk-do. It has been 7 days since I left Geochang Namdeokyusan. Since it is about 55km in a straight line to Mt. Jirisan, it means that it has moved southward at an average of 10km or more a day. It has been three years since I returned to my hometown of Jirisan.

The movement of KM53 is captured in real time by researchers at the Southern Conservation Center of the National Park Service. It tracks transmitter signals on the bear's ears to determine its route. KM53, which started from Namdeok Heritage in Geochang on the 31st of last month, appeared in the forest of Mt. Jirisan two days after entering Hamyang on the 2nd, Jangsu on the 3rd, and Namwon on the 4th.

KM53 is 7 years old in our way.

Born in January 2015, he was released to Mt. Jirisan in October of that year.

The news was cut off in September 2016, a year later, after acclimatising well to the wild.

Because the transmitter was broken, the location could not be tracked, and even life or death could not be known.

KM53 reported the news on June 15, 2017.

It was found in Sudosan Mountain, Gimcheon, Gyeongbuk, about 90km away from Jirisan Mountain, and when it was captured with a live pot, it was written KM53 on the identification tag attached to the ear.

It is not known exactly when it left Mt. Jiris, but it is presumed that the KM53 went up to Mt. Sudo in Gimcheon between September 2016 and the spring of 2017.

It is not known whether he went up to Sudosan Mountain before winter to hibernate or whether he hibernated at Jirisan Mountain and then ascended to the central region of Baekdudaegan in the spring.

The Ministry of Environment and the National Park Service brought the KM53 to Mt. Jirisan for the safety of hikers and residents in Sudosan, Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do, and released them again on July 6.

He explained that it is too early to release it outside the Jirisan area.

However, KM53 again left Mt. Jiris and was found in Sudo Mt. Gimcheon after 20 days, and was captured on July 25 and returned to Mt. Jiris.

The KM53, which received anti-population training at the natural adaptation training center for two months, was again released into the forest of Mt. Jiri on October 5th.

The expectations of the Ministry of Environment, which wanted to live in Mt. Jirisan, did not break KM53's will to challenge and pioneer.

At the dawn of May 5, 2018, KM53 left Jirisan Mountain and was going up the Baekdudaegan Mountain Range when it collided with a tour bus near Sancheong Saengcho IC in Gyeongsangnam-do, Daejeon-Tongyeong Expressway.

Eventually, he was seriously injured and had to undergo surgery.

In response to KM53's constant challenge to pioneer new habitats, the Ministry of Environment and the National Park Service eventually gave up the release of Mt. Jiri and returned it to Mt. Sudo on August 27, 2018.

In the pouring rain, KM53 ran into the forest.

Three years passed like that.

What is the reason that KM53, who left Mt. Jirisan and settled in a new habitat in Gimcheon, Gyeongsangbuk-do, came back to her hometown after a car accident?

Jang Jeong-jae, director of the Southern Conservation Center of the National Park Service, paid attention to the time of return and the age of the black bear.

The mating season for black moon bears is from June to August.

He also said that KM53 is 7 years old, but in terms of human age, it is about 30 years old.

It is the age of fertility.

Center Director Jang analyzed that for this reason, KM53 must have returned to Mt. Jiri in search of a female.

Just last night, on the night of the 6th, KM53 arrived and stayed for two days. Five black bears, including three females, live near the forest of Mt. Jirisan at an elevation of 950 meters above sea level.

Until the 14th, KM53 has been searching for habitat by expanding the range of activities from near Namwon to Gurye, Jeollanam-do.

You may have met your partner along the way.

There are about 74 black moon bears living in Mt. Jirisan.

Black bear researchers are observing the movement of KM53 24 hours a day. It is difficult, but every step of the black moon bear with this unique character becomes a valuable record for the study on the restoration of the black moon bear. I hope that KM53, who has been running a long way for the first time in three years, will meet a wonderful partner in his hometown and make his wish come true. I hope that the babies will be born healthy early next year, and that the sons and daughters of KM53 will follow in the footsteps of their father and go up to Sudosan in Gimcheon and live. Daddy Bear may go first and wait. We hope that KM53's family and descendants will live happily by expanding their habitat to Seoraksan Mountain beyond the central Baekdudaegan region. Until the Japanese colonial period, the Baekdudaegan mountain range from Seoraksan to Jirisan was originally the home of the black bear. You need to help the owner come in and live.

▶ After 3 years of navigating the Baekdu-daegan Mountain Jirisan… Green light for half moon restoration