A bear cub was found dead on Sunday (8th of June) in the area of La Pernía, Palencia making it the first case of infanticide by a male Cantabrian brown bear to be registered in the eastern population of the Cantabrian mountains. Having been alerted to the incident by a private individual, the area was combed by members of the environmental services along with a patrol of the Fundación Oso Pardo (Brown bear foundation). Signs such as dens, droppings and tracks belonging to a female and her two cubs had previously been detected in the same area as have tracks of a large male with indications of intense activity which point to a fight. Infanticide is fairly common, natural behaviour among male bears in late spring/early summer as it can provoke sexual receptivity of a female thus allowing the male to dominate a territory through his genes, although the female will be fiercely protective of her cubs and will fight to save them. Evidence of the practice had previously only been found in the larger western population of Asturias, León and Galicia.
The partially eaten corpse has been taken to an animal recuperation centre in Burgos for an autopsy. It is hoped that the second cub survived the attack.
Discussion on the Cantabrian brown bears at Iberianature forum.