Bear hunting in the Pyrenees

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.