Posts Tagged ‘Fundación Oso Pardo’

Increase in brown bear population

Monday, 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

Liébana’s bears

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Residents of the village of Caloca, high in the valley of Liébana, Cantabria, had been observing a female Cantabrian brown bear and her cub on the other side of their valley through the first half of December last. Their tranquility was broken however when a boar hunt, followed by the noisy arrival of the frozen fish van, disturbed a young male bear who was forced to find refuge and entered the village. A neighbour walked out of his front door on his way to feed his livestock and was stunned to see the animal just a couple of metres from him on the road. The peaceable young bear just carried on his way while the man quietly stood witness. Once the media got wind of the story however the village has been a hive of activity during the Christmas holidays. Members of the autonomous community’s environmental department, the Picos de Europa National Park and the Fundación Oso Pardo have been kept busy monitoring the traffic flow and ensuring that visitors don’t disturb the plantigrades whilst enjoying the priviledged views of these rare jewels of the Cantabrian mountains which, even though the snow is thick on the ground, are not hibernating and able to find enough nuts and berries to make foraging worthwhile.
Among the happy locals are the owners of the village restaurant who, I’m reliably informed, took more money in a week than they’d taken all year.

See the video here on YouTube

Bears in the snow FOP

More photos here on


New book on Spain’s bears

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

While we cross our fingers and hope that Hvala settles into hibernation mode before the Aranese authorities can get their hands on her, a new book has been officially launched. Titled “Osas. El comportamiento de las osas y sus crias en la Cordillera Cantábrica” (Bears. The behaviour of female brown bears and their cubs in the Cantabrian mountain chain), the book is a compilation of information garnered over ten years of study by the Fundación Oso Pardo and is accompanied by an extraordinary dvd with footage of cubs playing and the darker, natural side of bear behaviour, infanticide. Contact Fop or the Fundación Biodiversidad, who financed the project, for your free copy.


 The new book, Osas.

Bear run over and killed in Leon

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

Image by FOP

A young brown bear has been run over and killed in Leon in El Bierzo. This is the first confirmed case of bear being killed by a vehicle (a lorry) in Spain. The incident took place along the A16 dual carriageway (autovia). Experts from the Fundación Oso Pardo (FOP) are trying to find where the bear entered the autovia as it is fenced. According to the Fundación Oso Pardo, although bears are not common in El Bierzo, it is an area of dispersion from the nearby Alto Sil which supports a small but rising breeding population of brown bears, and so the bear was probably from this latter area. This bear formed part of the much smaller eastern population of Cantabrian bears with at most 30 individuals and so the loss of one is of some concern.

Illegal trapper apprehended

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

A person has been caught in the act of checking his illegally laid snares in the valley of the Ibias river in Asturias. The Fundación Oso Pardo and agents of Seprona have removed 17 traps in all in this area, near the borders of León. So far this year, 172 traps have been removed from the areas of the Alto Sil and Alto Narcea.

The young bear with the trap caught around his abdomen has not been able to be caught and treated. It’s not known whether or not he is still alive.

Members of the Fundación Oso Pardo with snares

From La Nueva España.

Bear caught in snare

Friday, August 22nd, 2008


The young bear with the snare embedded around its body

A team of specialists was mustered on Wednesday to track a bear that had been caught in a snare trap in the Páramo del Síl, Bierzo area of León. The bear had managed to detach the wire snare from a tree where it had been illegally laid but escaped with it still around its middle. The regional governments of Castilla and León, Asturias and Cantabria are collaborating with experts from the Fundación Oso Pardo, the Cabárceno wildlife park and the University of León to try to anaesthetise the injured animal and treat its abdominal wounds although their efforts are being hampered by problems in getting close enough to succesfully dart the bear. The dark colouring of its fur leads the experts to believe the bear to be a male, and definitely young. It has been observed feeding but the team are concerned that the wounds could become infected. The digiscoped image of the bear shows how the snare is embedded around its abdomen, in the area of its kidneys, and highlights the thin state of the animal, who has been suffering now for a week since it was first spotted. The fine for causing the death of a bear ranges from €200,000 – €2,000,000.

News from La Crónica

More on IberiaNature forum

Connecting Cantabrian brown bears

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

The Fundación Oso Pardo has nearly finished a study to find a communication corridor for the two, at present, separated bear populations. The study has identified problem areas and will propose at least four possible crossing points. It won’t be easy however as the zone to be used, through the Huerna Valley and over the Pajares mountain pass, is criss-crossed by roads and railways, including a dual carriageway and high-speed train linking Asturias with the Spanish central plains, which will have to be bridged. Also in the way are the odd ski resort or two. Deforestation is proving to be another stumbling block in the bears’ passage so they will also be recommending the replanting of trees to provide cover for the animals during their crossing. The study will be handed to the regional governments of Asturias and Castilla and León later this year.

Tunnel under construction for the AVE high-speed train, Puerto de Pajares

 News from

Photo from Mundo de Gea

More on Spain’s bears on the forum

Remains found in the Cantabrian mountains are not of bear

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

The remains of a young bear were found late on Monday in the Riofrío, an area of high pasture below the highest peak, Peña Prieta, in the Cantabrian mountain chain. Estimated to be some weeks old, the skeleton was discovered by a member of the Fundación Oso Pardo (Brown Bear Foundation) during a routine patrol. This latest discovery brings the number of bears found dead in the last decade to eleven, eight of which have been proven to have been poisoned. The animal remains have been taken for an autopsy.

News from

Update 24.7.08 Tests have shown the remains to be of canine origen. Samples are being taken to the laboratories of the Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos de la Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha to ascertain exactly which canine species the dead animal did belong to. Toxicological tests will also be carried out due to the recent spate of poisoned Griffon vultures and foxes found in neighbouring areas.

See the Diario de León .

Bear cub corpse found in Palencia

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008

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.

New conservation management project for Cantabrian brown bear

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Following the news of the creation of a third patrol for the Fundación Oso Pardo which will be financed by the Obra Social Caja Madrid to further and coordinate the work of the existing two, today comes news of a new investigation into the conservation management of the Cantabrian brown bear. The project will be headed by the environmental department of the Asturian government and the Doñana Research Centre of the Spanish National Research Council (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas). Yesterday, no lesser personages than Miguel Delibes de Castro, respected Spanish biologist and mammal expert, and one of the leading European brown bear experts, Jon Swenson, met in Asturias for a working meeting to oversee the start of the investigation which consists of three phases. First is a study of the demographic evolution of the Cantabrian bears in order to diagnose their current conservation status, followed by the identification of possible communication corridors and the analysis of damages to agriculture and livestock. Delibes and Swenson finished their meeting with José Félix García Gaona, head of the Asturian Biodiversity and Countryside Department (Biodiversidad y Paisaje) with a visit to Proaza from where the Asturian Bear Foundation (Fundación Oso Asturias) is sponsoring a doctoral thesis by Andrés Ordiz Fernández, titled “Análisis de patrones de movimiento y actividad del oso pardo en Europa. Aplicación a la conservación de pequeñas poblaciones amenazadas. El caso de la Cordillera Cantábrica.” (Analysis of patterns of movement and activity of the brown bear in Europe. Application of the conservation of small, endangered populations. The case of the Cantabrian mountains.)

Doubtless, they also visited Paca and Tola with their new, hopeful mate Furaco.


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