Pyrenean bears

The last autochthonous Pyrenean bear dead?

October 28th, 2010

It appears that Camille, the last autochthonous Pyrenean bear, may have died, after 9 months without any sign of him. His death at the age of 20 comes as no surprise but is a sad symbol of the disappearance of bears in the range.  Now the hope lies in the 20 or so bears which have introduced (or born of introduced animals) in the Pyrenees by the French government from Slovenia. In the photo Camille sits next to the tasty feast of a dead wild boar, somewhere in the Navarran Pyrenees. 20 minutos

This article from Wildlife Extra is also interesting. New research suggests Cantabrian female brown bears do not hibernate while cubs are still young proves anecdotal evidence first recorded many centuries ago.

Bear breeding success in Pyrenees

August 3rd, 2010

http://www.elperiodico.com/resources/jpg/1/3/1280779201631.jpg

Bears in the Pyrenees have had their best breeding year for decades this year with two females raisning two cubs each, in territories between Vall d’Aran and y los departamentos franceses de Ariège y Alto Garona. El Periódico

Bears spotted close to Pyrenean tourist area

July 2nd, 2010 Foto de la Noticia Three bears have been spotted by wildlife photographer Oriol Alemany close to a tourist area in the Vall d’Aran. The two sub-adults and one adult are almost certainly Hvala and her offspring Nhèu’ y ‘Noisette’. The animals are being tracked to reduce the risk of tourists disturbing them. Here

France wants Cantabrian bears for Pyrenees

June 9th, 2010

France has asked the Spanish government for Cantabrian bears to help repopulate the Pyrenees, where less than 20 animals survive. Given the fragile state of the Cantabrian population this is unlikely to be agreed. La Crónica Verde

In the photo the bear called Camille sits next to the tasty feast of a dead wild boar, somewhere in the Pyrenees.

The bear Hvala with cubs

June 6th, 2010 Latest news on the bear Hvala, the bear which kicked up such a fuss last year in the Vall d’Arán. Glad to see she’s alive and with cubs.
Voila! Hvala!” exclaims Pierre-Yves Quenette, standing in a snowy clearing in the forests outside of Pyrénées National Park. He’s reading a message on his cell phone. Hvala, a 200-pound brown bear with two cubs, has been found. National Geographic

Contrasting attitudes towards bears

November 26th, 2009 Interesting long article on bears in El Pais contrasting the acceptance of bears in Asturias with the general opposition in the Pyrenees. Read

No livestock killed by bears in Catalonia

November 7th, 2009 The improved protection for shepherds and herders in Catalonia has meant for the third year running no livestock has been lost to bear attacks. Fapas

The Pyrenees need more bears

October 30th, 2009 A new French study has shown that at least 13 bears should be released in the Pyrenees in the near future if the species has any chance of becoming viable. La Mañana On another story, Camille, one of only two bears in Navarra has killed four sheep in Roncal, as he fattens up for hibernation. Here

Timid French support for bears?

October 23rd, 2009 France has promised to “replace” any bears killed by hunters in the Pyrenees as part of its commitment to the animal, but does not seem likely to release any additional bears. Whether this means that the four bears killed in the last decade are to be replaced is still unclear. Fapas With only 20 odd animals in the range, freezing the reintroduction programme in this way may very well lead to its extinction.

Pyrenees bear hunt

October 23rd, 2009

I came across this rather harrowing photo in a book review of Historie de l’ours dans les Pyrénées in El Pireneo Digital. It was taken in 1928 after a hunt in Urdós, Valle de Aspe across the border in France. In 1935, some 200 bears still survived in the Pyrenees and Pre-Pyrenees. The last bear steak was offered in restaurant in French Pyrenees in 1960. A ban on hunting came in Spain in 1967  and in France several years later. Today, with just 20 odd animals in the entire Pyrenees – most of which were brought from the Balkans, further reintroduction is the only way of re-creating a viable population of bears in the range.