Somiedo

Bear cub returned to wild

November 14th, 2008

The bear cub found injured in June was released back into the wild on Tuesday in Somiedo.

Lisa notes: “The movements of her family (mother and two sisters) have been monitored closely and the release was made in the same vicinity. As nothing like this has ever happened before in the Cantabrian mountains, the outcome is far from certain although Fapas are hopeful that she’ll be accepted back into the family group. They recount the story of bear cubs orphaned in the Pyrenees and later adopted by another female bear. She’s been tagged and is carrying two radio-transmitters which they say will be lost when she moults next spring.” Read more on this by Lisa on the forum

Bear cub found injured on road in Somiedo

June 28th, 2008

Injured bear cub found in Somiedo

A couple on holiday from Madrid found an injured bear cub by the side of the road near Villarín, Somiedo this Thursday afternoon, 26th of June. Disorientated, she was wandering from one side of the road to the other. After waiting a while to see if the mother would appear, the couple took her to the police station in Somiedo where the Guardia Civil contacted agents from the Natural Park to take charge of her. The 5-6 month old cub, who weighs 4 kilos, was examined by vets and found to have received a blow to the right-hand side of her head but otherwise appeared to be healthy so the decision was taken to try and put her back into the area where she was found, with help from personnel from Fapas and the Fundación Oso Pardo. Three attempts were made but each time the cub returned to the road. On the fourth attempt, the cub was taken further into the mountains but didn’t get out of the container she was transported in and stayed the night in it. First thing Friday morning her health had deteriorated so she was taken to a veterinary clinic in Oviedo where she was put on a drip in an incubator. Providing she recovers from the severe head injury sustained, the authorities are determined to reintroduce her into the wild and a search is on for the two female Cantabrian brown bears known to be in the same area, one of which has three cubs and the other just one. If all goes well, she’ll be tagged on release.

News from La Nueva España

Follow the Cantabrian brown bears on Iberianature forum

Update on the bear cub – After being moved to the Cabárceno safari park in Cantabria for a few weeks, where it was felt she would be better able to receive the correct treatment, the cub has now been moved again. This time, a step nearer home, to the brand new breeding centre for Capercaillie in Sobrescobio, Asturias. In the peace of this new temporary home, it is hoped that she will continue her recovery with even less human contact and the opportunity to forage for her natural food, hopefully leading to her eventual reintroduction into the mountains of Asturias.

Eco-tourism and bears in Somiedo

May 9th, 2008

Following a rather sensational article in El Pais, an interesting polemical discussion is currently going on in the Spanish press. The original article centres on the dangers of bears becoming accustomed to human presence and approaching villages and their food sources, such as beehives, with the ensuing possibility of attacks on humans that this could incur. It refrains from mentioning that, in the north of Spain, bears and humans have lived side by side for hundreds of years resulting in no, or very little, danger on the part of the humans. In fact there exists a certain admiration and respect among the people of the Cantabrian mountains for their Ursine neighbours. The article also omits the very important factor of the lack of carrion around (an important part of the bear’s diet) due to the BSE laws enforcing the removal of carcasses from the countryside. Another concern raised is that foreign tour companies, in particular the British wildlife tour company Naturetrek, are endangering the future of the bears by disturbing them in their natural habitat.

Naturetrek deny they cause the bears any disturbance, a spokesman stating that their tours look for bears at a distance using public footpaths, though they don’t guarantee sightings. The Asturian tourist board and ecologist groups are of the opinion that this kind of tourism is endangering the growth and survival of the precarious Cantabrian brown bear population. However, bear specialist organisations and the mayor of Somiedo all envisage a future of guided and regulated wildlife-watching tours contributing to the local economy without disturbing the bears. A delicate balance.

 lne.es

Dead livestock to be left in Picos

January 27th, 2008

Good news. Dead livestock is to be left uncollected in the Picos de Europa for the first time since 2001 when the EU banned the practice due to Mad Cows’ disease. At present some 20,000 dead animals are removed every year from the Spanish countryside which otherwise would have formed part of the food chain. (Fapas)

I am at present unsure as to whether the dead livestock is to be collected in special areas only for carrion birds, or whether, mammals such as brown bears will also be able to benefit. Attacks by bears on fruit trees and beehives have increased dramatically since the ban as carrion forms an essential part of their diet.

Below a bear in Somiedo tucks into a mule (?), exempt from the Mad Cow rule. (Fapas)

See also archive on BSE and wildlife in Spain