Fundación Oso de Asturias

Paca and Tola

November 23rd, 2007

Paca and Tola are two female bears which were orphaned 1989, at the age of four months when a hunter killed their mother and took the two cubs. The cubs were rescued by Fapas and Seprona after a tip-off and now live in semi-captivity in a large mountainside enclosure. Now they are to be mothers.

Photo of Tola and additional research by Lisa of picos-accommodation

The Fundación Oso de Asturias plan to mate them with a another male bear used to captivity in spring 2008, when they come into heat after hibernation. (LNE) The problem is that there is currently no captive male Cantabrian bear, so a bear from another “group” is probably to be used. I use the term “group” as the extistence of Ursus arctos Cantabricus as a separate sub-species is under debate.

The two bears live in a 5000m2 mountainside enclosure and have become a popular tourist attraction and have played a very important role in raising environmental awareness about bears in Asturias. Watch them here . There are references to bears almost every week in the local press and people love talking about them. One has the impression that bears in general and Paca and Tola specifically are quasi-nationalist symbols in Asturias, and much loved…unlike wolves.

Most of the time you can’t see them as their hidden in the rocks, scrub and trees, but they come down at 12:00 am every day to eat. I saw both Paca and Tola taking a bath this August as we all watched on, sweltering outside their enclosuse. The enclosure is in the beautiful Concejo de Trubia. Paca at the end of an excellent cycle path which runs along an old mining railtrack, known as La Senda del Oso. The path (or rather network of paths) runs through tunnels, across bridges and through a spectacular gorge. Reasonably-priced cycle hire is available at each end. They’ve also got cycle with back seats for little kids which is what we used. More here

Read the forum thread on Paca and Tola here