Greece’s brown bears in the winter resort of Nymfeo, in the Florina prefecture of extreme northern Greece, hibernated for the winter after the recent temperature plunge and snow in the area, NGO Arcturos announced on Friday.

According to the NGO, which focuses on conservation of Greece’s bear population, this is the first time in the 31 years of its operation, that the brown bear has gone into hibernation so early.

The Nymfeo sanctuary that hosts brown bears stopped receiving visitors on Sunday, Dec 17 due to the early hibernation and will remain closed until March 2024.

However, visitors can visit the Brown Bear Information Center in Nymfeo and the Wolf and Lynx Protection Center at Agrapidies, another village in Florina.

Both the Wolf and Lynx Protection and the Brown Bear Information Centers will operate daily up until Jan 7, 2024.

The lynx and wolf in Greece are also considered as protected mammal species.

“Human factors and activity even in the almost inaccessible, secluded areas, including construction projects, the opening of uncontrolled forest road networks, the expansion of pastures and the reduction of forest areas endanger their existence”, according to Arcturos.