Cantabria

Articles in ‘Cantabria’

Brown bear population in Spain 2013

October 22nd, 2013
 The population of brown bears in the Cantabrian mountains 2013 has reached more than 200, with 34 cubs raised in  2010. More here

Bear in camera trap

July 22nd, 2013

Fantastic photo taken by a camera trap somewhere in Asturias by the wildlife group FAPAS. There are now some 180 brown bears in the Cantabrian mountains (Cantabria, Castilla y León and above all Asturias), triple the figure 20 years ago.

Summer love

September 30th, 2011 Lisa over at picosdeeuropa.com has an interesting account  of how at least one pair of Cantabrian bears has bred later in the year, in late August, instead of May-June, presumably because of climate change. More here

Hundreds of puffins found dead on Cantabrian coast

April 25th, 2011


More than 200 puffins have been found dead along the coasts of Asturias and Cantabria in the last six weeks. SEO/Birdlife, who are unsure as to the cause, suspect the real figure could be in the thousands.  More here

Altamira to reopen to visitors

June 8th, 2010

Spain has decided to reopen the Altamira cave complex in Cantabria after eight years being closed to visitors, despite scientists warnings’ that heat from human visitors damages the art. Visits are to resume next year on a restricted basis. The main chamber at Altamira features 21 bisons painted in ochre, red and black, which seem to charge against a low, limestone ceiling. The site was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1985. The caves were first restricted and then closed after scientists warned that visitors’ body heat and carbon dioxide from breath were damaging the paintings, estimated to be 14,000 to 20,000 years old. El País

On seeing the paintings of bisons, horses, fawns and wild boars, Picasso famously proclaimed, ‘after Altamira, all is decadence’. A long line of great 20th century artists from Henry Moore to Miquel Barceló have been astonished and inspired by them. See also Altmira cave paintings

The caves are inscribed as masterpieces of creative genius and as the humanity’s earliest accomplished art. UNESCO

Documentary about bears

March 2nd, 2010 Interesting documentary from TVE about bears in the Cordillera Cantábrica with Guillermo Palomero, President of Fundación Oso Pardo. Watch here

Wolves in the Picos de Europa

February 1st, 2010 Lisa has written this well researched article on her excellent Picos de Europa page on the population and status of  wolves in the Picos de Europa, the only national park in Spain where they are present:
…an estimate of 5 packs within the park and its immediate surrounding areas. Of these family groups they estimate that each consists of between 5-9 family members, giving a minimum 25 and maximum of 45 individuals, not including the few probable loners. These figures are far below those claimed by local farmers.

Picos de Europa online

November 26th, 2009 My friend Lisa who used to write the bear news on iberianature has finally brought on line her long-awaited Picos de Europa guide. This looks likely to become the English-language guide to those stunning mountains. There’s lots of interesting nature stuff on the web including Poison, Palencia and Picos and Return of the Lammergeier.

Cantabrian bear groups rejoined

August 18th, 2009

Image:mapa fop.jpg

Great news from biologists at Oviedo University; they now have positive DNA tested proof that two young bears are the progeny of a female bear from the east and a male from the west. Two hair/faeces samples taken in Redes Natural Park (Asturias) in November last year found two siblings, one male and of one unidentified sex. Another sample taken this spring in the Picos de Europa National Park has confirmed the analysis. More on this soon. Europa Press

Many thanks to Lisa on the forum for letting me know about this news, which is key to guaranteeing genetic diversity for Cantabrian bears, whose twin populations were separated more than 60 years ago.

Increase in brown bear population

July 27th, 2009

Good news – in part. The population of brown bears in the Cantabrian Mountains continues to grow. According to the latest bear census, a total of 19 female bears raised 37 cubs last year. The census was carried out in Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León by the Fundación Oso Pardo. However, the situation in the eastern populations of bears straddling Cantabria and Castilla y León continues to be “worrying”. Of the 37 cubs raised, just three cubs were raised in this area. The rest were raised by bears in the far healthier western population. El Mundo

In demonstration of the improved situation of bears in the western area, the World Conservation Union has just reduced the classification of the bears in this area from “Critically endangered” to “Endangered”. La Nueva España