Archive for the ‘Pyrenees’ Category

Pyrenees bear hunt

Friday, 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.

Future of Pyrennean bears in doubt

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Without further reintroductions, the low number of bears in the Pyrenees (15-20 odd) make the conservation of the species inviable. For the time being, the French government has no plans to continue its reintroduction plans. Public support for bears in Catalonia is as high as 80%, but strong local opposition particularly in the Vall de Aran prevents any reintroduction programme from this side of the mountain range.

Fapas from La Mañana de Llerida

Pyrenean bear map

Friday, August 28th, 2009

I thought this map from Fapas showing the latest bear numbers in the Pyrenees was interesting

http://fapas.es/images/imagenes_cyc/2009/20090814_esquem_oso_pirineo.jpg

Pyrenean bear with cubs

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Hvala, the bear at the centre of the furore last autumn after biting a hunter, has been photographed with two cubs by wardens from the Vall d’Aran. Another bear, Sarousse, which was also released in 2006, may also have cubs, and if so could spell the beginning of a rise in the Pyrenean population.
Pireneodigital

Hvala awakes

Sunday, April 5th, 2009


Hvala, the bear who bit a hunter last year in the Vall d’Arán, has woken from her winter slumber. She was probably pregnant when she went into hibernation and the biologists monitoring her suspect she may have a cub or two, as she is staying in the same area (Bossòst, Vall d’Arán). Let us hope she is left in peace to raise them.
El Periodico

Disappearance of glaciers in the Pyrenees

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Another study has highlighted the likely disappearance of the glaciers in the Pyrenees in the next 40-50 years.

Since the first study by French geographer Franz Schrader in 1894, the Pyrenean glaciers have lost 88 percent of their 1,779-hectare surface area, according to a report by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment. Low rainfall and the rise in temperatures is leading to their rapid melting, and it is estimated that by the middle of the century, they will have vanished altogether. This has accelerated in recent years with the glaciers losing 72 hectares between 2002 and 2008. One of the most striking examples is that of La Madaleta glacier, one of the largest in the Pyrenees, whose thickness has shrunk by 180 metres since 1991 at an average rate of 11 metes a year. The absence of snowfall in summer in recent years has exacerbated this regression. Lower snowfall is also likely to spell long-ter, disaster for the skiing industry.

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Otter watching in the Catalan Pyrenees

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Simon chanced upon this beautiful otter in the Catalan Pyrenees.

There could hardly seem a less promising place to go naturalising than the stretch of the Noguera Pallaresa just downstream from Tremp, ‘capital’ of the Pallars Jussà comarca in the Catalan pre-Pyrenees.

Read on iberianture

Freedom for Hvala!

Monday, November 3rd, 2008

If you’d like to show your support for the bear, Hvala, currently being persecuted in the Pyrenees (see previous post), there is now a petition in Catalan that can be signed. Click on “Signas per l’ossa” (nom = first name, cognom = surname).

sosossospirineu.org

Petition against the capture of Hvala

 

Idea to reintroduce Eurasian lynx in Spanish Pyrenees

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

Two Eurasian lynxes (Lynx lynx) have been acquired by Les Planes de Son (Pallars Sobirà) run by Territori i Paisatge. The director of Territori i Paisatge Jordi Sargatal made it clear that these lynxes will not be released but does not rule out a release of their offspring. There is however still much work to be done before any reintroduction. Sargatal noted “A viability plan needs to be drawn up a consensus reaached”…but “We all need to understand that reintroducing the Eurasian lynx  would be very positive for the ecosystem and for the economy”, noting that “the lynx is at the top of the ecosystem and plays a very important role of predation on the smaller predators such as foxes, wild cats and genets, which would have a positive effect on other species in the area”. There were Eurasian lynx in the Pyrenees until a few decades ago, possibly more recently, and the species may have also lived in the Cordillera Cantábrica.

Catalan government to monitor bears more closely

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Following the hysteria surrounding a hunter who was bitten by a bear last week (full story here on iberianature), the Catalan government has decided to study bears in the Pyrenees more closely and are to set up a new group to monitor the bears in the Aran valley to avoid any similar incidences in the future. Fapas have commented and point out that while this is the first incident of its kind in the Pyrenees, hunters are far more likely to suffer injuries (and death) at the hands of other hunters (20 hunters are killed by other hunters a year in Spain.) The bear in question Hvala is currently in France and so is safe for the time being from the attempts by the Aranese authorities to capture her. Ecological organisations are threatening legal action should they be successful. El Mundo

The images above (El Mundo) are the first of Hvala since the incident took place.