Thursday, August 18, 2011

Good News And Bad News

The bad news is that a bear cub was been found dead in the Eastern Pyrenees (Ariege, Couserens) last month. The body had been partially eaten by vultures (which 'clean' the mountains of dead animals) and this made it difficult to state with certainty the cause of death. Initial inspection of the carcass suggested that it had not been shot as there was no holes in the skin. There are several possible causes of death; an illness, attack by an adult male, poor care from the mother, a bad fracture etc.

On a happier note, at least 2 ( possibly 3) bear cubs born this winter were seen with their mother playing in the snow in the same area of the Pyrenees. The group of bears was watched for over an hour by walkers who were within a 100 metres. Photos were taken by the walkers but they were not conclusive. It wasn't until after a team from the Hunting and Wildlife Commission were able to study the prints, hairs and droppings in the area that the presence of a female and at least 2 cubs was confirmed. Further study will be able to determine the sex of the cubs and their father. He is likely to be Pyros, a male bear introduced from Slovenia in 1997.

The presence of bears in the Pyrenees continues to divide the chain. For the farmers with livestock to protect, 1 more bear is 1 too many. A public meeting was organised 27th July in St Girons (Ariege) by ASPAP. For the pro bear lobby, even if births this winter have helped the total bear population in the Pyrenees to climb towards 25, this is still too few a number to guarantee the survival of the species. More introductions are necessary.

Anti Bear Lobby: Association pour la SAUVEGARDE du PATRIMOINE D’ARIEGE-PYRENEES

Pro Bear Lobby: Pays de l'Ours -  ADET

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