Interview with Roberto Hartasánchez

January 28th, 2010 Interview with Roberto Hartasánchez, the president of FAPAS on Spanish National radio. An interesting ten minute overview of bears, the serious impact of the disappearance of bees, and the state of conservation of the Cantabrian Mountains in general. Listen here.

Latest news from Fapas

October 20th, 2009

Fapas have released their latest news bulletin with an interesting selection of news on carrions, vultures and bears.  In the picture a bear tucks into a cow. Read

Pyrenean bear map

August 28th, 2009

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


Beehives help wildlife

July 4th, 2009 A scientific study by FAPAS has shown that the presence of beehives increases the production of wild bilberries by 80% on which bears and capercaillies feed. Fasas

Bear cub photos

June 26th, 2009

Fapas have managed to capture some lovely photos of Villarina. the bear cub that was found alone on a road last year, and was later released back into the wild.
More on bears on the forum


July 12th, 2008

Fapas have started a new campaign with the slogan Más osos menos CO2 (More bears less co2) to give local businesses an opportunity to neutralise their carbon emissions by planting fruit trees. The idea is for any interested companies to (simply) calculate their co2 emissions and Fapas then work out how many trees would need to be planted in bear habitat in the north of Spain. The companies will benefit by being presented with “green” certificates and the bears will profit by having more, for example, chestnut, apple and cherry trees from which to feed.

+bears-co2 campaign

Cantabrian brown bears and carrion

June 19th, 2008

The new digital camaras that Fapas have installed are paying their way. They’ve made a very informative PowerPoint slideshow  of a young bear encountering a corpse of a cow (I think). On the first few visits, instead of tucking straight in as you might imagine, the bear concentrates on smelling around the corpse, eventually feeding on the maggots evolving in a hole probably pecked by ravens. Not until a month has passed does it tear apart the skin to reach the flesh that remains. Apparently, maggots and rotten meat provide more protein than fresh.
Cantabrian brown bear and carrion

Valley of the Bears

June 7th, 2008

According to Fapas, the Trubia valley in Asturias is seeing a slow but sure increase of reproductive female Cantabrian brown bears, the species having almost disappeared completely from this area. In 2004 one female of breeding age was detected. Of the sixteen individual bears identified here in 2007, two were females with cubs. In the next few months it is hoped to confirm the existence of either two or three females that could have produced cubs this year, the first having been photographed this spring by Fapas with her one cub. If  their expansion continues at this rate, it is hoped that by 2010 the optimum number of ten breeding females will have been reached leading Fapas to comment that the name of the Trubia valley should be given plural status, Valle de los Osos. The conservation organisation sees this as the first important step towards the subsequent joining together of the two separate Cantabrian brown bear populations, dispersal among Brown bears as a species being a slow process due to the philopatry exhibited by female cubs who choose territory close to their mother’s when they reach reproductive age themselves.

First female Cantabrian brown bear with cub in Trubia, 2008

See the Cantabrian brown bear topic at Iberianature forum.

Dangers of ecologist fundamentalism for conservation

April 19th, 2008

Excellent article by Roberto Hartasánchez here at Fapas and published in this month’s Quercus on the dangers of ecologist fundamentalism for conservation in Spain. I’m on the road so no time for a summary, but it’s well worth a read.

Snare traps still a threat to Iberian bears

March 19th, 2008

The Spanish Brown bear foundation, Fundación Oso Pardo, has released figures of the illegal snare traps its patrols have removed in the Cantabrian mountains. Although the numbers have declined since they started their patrols, the figures are still alarming and continue to be a threat to the bears’ survival. These lethal wire traps are set mostly to trap wild boar and deer that cause damage to crops, though some are laid just for trophies and meat. Of the 1,155 snares discovered, most were found in Asturias. In 2004 the total found amounted to 225 but 2007 saw the figure drop to 67. However, in the area of Ancares, on the borders of Lugo (Galicia), Asturias and León, 130 have been removed in the last 5 years by one of the foundation’s patrols and, in the same area, 63 snares were found in the days between Feb. 27th and the 1st of March this year. These figures are without taking into account the snares removed by Fapas who are also working in this conservation area. It is hoped that continued education and intensive searches will see figures drop further. Sadly, due to the obstacle of not being able to provide proof, most cases go unprosecuted.

According to the newspaper, La Voz de Galicia, there is hope among conservationists (and conservation-minded locals) that the bears will begin to recolonise parts of Galicia.

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Illegally set snares

Photo from Fapas

Posted by Lisa