Iberianature Forum

Spanish mammals (lynx, bear, wolves, cabras, moufflon and the little furry creatures too). => Mammals of Iberia => Topic started by: lisa on August 07, 2008, 17:48 PM

Title: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on August 07, 2008, 17:48 PM
This is a new thread for news etc. about bears in the Pyrenees.

A female bear and her two cubs (probably last year's)  have been observed in the western-most part of the Sierra de Cadí in the Pyrenees. Nick has the news on the blog. (http://iberianature.com/natura_iberica/2008/08/06/osos-en-la-sierra-de-cadi/) Not that far from Tremp, I see.
Title: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on August 08, 2008, 06:03 AM
Well I was wondering what was happening to our picnic hampers lately  :technodevil:

I'd like to know more about the exact location. Not that it's that near to Tremp (actually it's not that far away, about an hour in the car, we can even see a bit of Cadi  from our terrace, poking out from behind the Sierra de Boumort) but that there is a thumping great piece of wildlife reserve that lies between the val d'Aran and points west, i.e. where the exitsting populations hang out, let's say around the Pic de Aneto, and the Sierra de Cadi. This reserve is called the Parc Natural d'Alt Pirineu (http://mediambient.gencat.net/eng//el_medi/parcs_de_catalunya/alt_pirineu/inici.jsp) and it's really huge (110,000 ha, and this totals to over 150,000 ha if you add the he Aigüestortes i Sant Marici National Park which is next-door).

The point I'm getting to (eventually, it is 05.00  >:D); there are two major highways and a lot of tourist areas in the valleys that lie in between Cadi and Aneto that dovetail into the area of the park. So if the bears seem happy traversing this is that it's a great success for this model of environmental management :dancing:. The National Park is all well and good (and it is fabulous) but it's impossible to seal off an entire mountain range and I always worry that if you parcel up 'the environment' in a park the rest of the world can just carry on regardless messing up the rest. I always thing of Joni Mitchell's 'Big Yellow Taxi' when I consider National Parks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Yellow_Taxi)
, "Took all the trees, put 'em in a tree museum/And charged the people a dollar and a half just to see 'em"
and it makes me sad to feel that so little has changed in all the years since I was only 13!!!

Anyway, enough of my ramblings I gotta a book to write! Thanks for alerting us all, Lisa, I'll try to keep up to speed on 'our' branch of the bear community over here in Catalonia and update this post. Or maybe start a separate one, what do you think?



PS Oh for a cup of tea (06.02
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees.
Post by: lucy on August 08, 2008, 08:17 AM
Areas like the Cadi and Boumort, which are "pre-Pyrenees" and nearer to civilisation, are often wilder and with much less tourism than the Pyrenees themselves.  The scenery isn't as spectacular and they're not packaged in the same way.  Wolves have been seen in the Cadi in the last years too.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on August 08, 2008, 10:58 AM
More here on the Cadi bears http://www.pirineos.com/index.php/article/articleview/2452/1/1/
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on August 09, 2008, 08:12 AM
Thanks Ed  8) Let's see if we can dispel some of the confusion as to the territory of bears in Spain. First I'm copying a map from Pays de l'Ours (http://www.paysdelours.com/) giving an idea of where the bears are in the Pyrenees.


Anyone know any other Pyrenean bear links?

Basic info;

There are only two indigenous bears left in the Pyrenees (ie, the same race as the main population of bears further west in the central area of the Cantabrian mountain chain) and they are both male.

Reintroductions were recently started using European brown bears from Slovenia.

The Pyrenees currently has a bear population of around 20.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on August 09, 2008, 10:22 AM
This often has useful news too

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on August 12, 2008, 08:50 AM
Hi Guys,

I'm just rising to the surface from working intensely, and Oh, the air feels so good  8), but tomorrow I submerge again  :speechless:

Great to see the Pyrenees Bear post up ad running.

Thanks for the map, Lisa, from this it looks like our bears (note the possessive!) may have come down from east of Andorra - I hadn't realised they were over there too. But in any event the area on the map includes the Sierra de Cadi anyway!

After a brief trawl through the news I haven't come up with  anything new yet, apart from this reference to interchange of ideas and experience on the part of the forestales; good work!  :dancing:

A nice pretty link to an external website (http://www.europapress.es/catalunya/lleida-00378/noticia-forestales-catalanes-asturianos-intercambian-experiencias-val-daran-lleida-20080806111717.html)

Sorry about the ugly link but try as I may I can't get any sense out of the 'Insert hyperlink' button on the toolbar  :banghead:

More soon I hope


Fixed the ugly link... Clive...see http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=410.0
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on August 12, 2008, 11:26 AM
Here's another map I've found which shows the bear territory of both the Cantabrian mountains and the Pyrenees.
From historianatural.net. (http://www.historianatural.net/inform.php?t=20080508115139)
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on August 12, 2008, 11:39 AM
Thant's a good map, Lisa, it really gives a sense of scale and the whereabouts of the territory.

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on August 17, 2008, 18:01 PM
A minibus hit a bear (http://www.lamanyana.es/web/html/lanoticia.html?id=84533&seccio=Comarcas&fecha=2008-08-17&sortida=03:00:00) (or as one report has it, a bear hit a minibus) early Friday morning on a dual carriageway part of the RN 20, Ariège, central Pyrenees. According to the driver he was doing about 80km when he spotted the bear crossing the central reservation on his left. He managed to drop his speed down to 40km (so, we'll call that 100kmph braking to 70kmph shall we  >:D) but couldn't avoid a collision. Luckily, nobody was hurt and it appears that the bear, after being stunned for a while, escaped intact. The vehicule's left headlight was broken and the bumper and radiator were damaged.The area has been sweeped within a 800m radius with no signs of the bear, although tests are being carried out on hairs and tracks studied to identify the animal concerned. It seems most likely to have been a large male named Boutxy. Basque name? Use of a radio transmitter has shown this bear to have regularly crossed this road. Conservationists say a bridge for the bears to cross the road safely is long-overdue.
I hope he's O.K.

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: tonyninfas on August 17, 2008, 19:23 PM
Hi Lisa
I think that your last comment goes for all the readers of this forum.   :clapping:
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on August 17, 2008, 22:09 PM
Hi Lisa, Tony and bear lovers everywhere,

I share Tony's feelings, hoping that Boutxy is safe and well.

Meanwhile, Lisas's query about the name raised the Simon eyebrow about an octave. I'm no expert on Basque, lest alone Basque names, but 'Boutxy', despite the juxtaposition of a 't' ad an 'x' seemed all wrong. Allied to that the French Pyrenees north of Andorra are a heck of a long way from the Basque Country!

It seems our Boutxy is a bit of a lad. See the Times article below for your first reference. Boutxy is allegedly the offspring of the late and much lamented Cannelle, the last 'true' Pyrenees female bear, shot by a hunter in 'self defence' in 2004 :banghead:. Meanwhile he's regarded as the biggest and most powerful bear in the Pyrenees. View the 2006 blog from Andorra, which claims that Boutxy was responsible for 160 of the 300-odd 'kills' during the previous year (a figure of which I am somewhat suspicious!). What is perhaps a bit more helpful, and returning to my original point >:D, is that Boutxy was named after the village in which he was born; Ger-de-Boutx in the Artiege department.

However, another blog from Josep Lainez, a local naturalist, which seems to me the more credible, identifies Boutxy as the offspring of Melba, a Slovenia bear! I think this is a big problem, the lack of a central authoritative public database on the bears. It allows all sorts of myths, most of them bad, of course, to develop :banghead:

After more serching I found the entry in the FAPAS :dancing: site, identifying Boutxy as indeed the son of Melba, phew!

That's all for now, it's been a long day.

Thanks for the update Lisa! And good luck Boutxy, whoever you are!


Here are the references:

Times: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article709435.ece

Andorra: http://blocs.tinet.cat/blog/bloc-del-catarra/category/86/retalls-de-premsa/2006/05/03/andorra-l-os-mes-fer-del-pirineu-arriba-a-nomes-deu-metres-dun-nucli-habitat-de-canillo

Josep Lainez: http://blocs.tinet.cat/blog/bloc-del-catarra/category/86/retalls-de-premsa/2006/05/03/andorra-l-os-mes-fer-del-pirineu-arriba-a-nomes-deu-metres-dun-nucli-habitat-de-canillo

FAPAS: http://www.fapas.es/noticfiep.htm

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on August 17, 2008, 22:14 PM
Thanks Simon. I read those too and in the end decided I wasn't really bothered who his mother was, knowing the first one to be wrong. That's the press for you  >:D He does seem to have caused a bit of a problem but those ref's are from 2006, no? Hopefully the farmers have settled down, as much as they can.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on August 17, 2008, 22:18 PM
I quite agree! :dancing:

PS that is to say I agree completely, not only partaillly!

I'm off to bed!


Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on August 19, 2008, 18:55 PM
From the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/aug/19/wildlife.nicolassarkozy


Bruni sides with bruin over presence in Pyrenees
Lizzy Davies in Paris The Guardian, Tuesday August 19 2008

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the first lady of France and scion of Europe's urban elite, has risked the wrath of shepherds, trekkers and farmers by supporting the reintroduction of brown bears to the Pyrenees.

In a letter addressed to several environmental groups, the wife of President Nicolas Sarkozy rejected the idea that the animals had disrupted the rural calm of the mountains and put local residents at risk since their arrival in 2006. Although difficult, she said, it was possible for people to live peacefully with their ursine neighbours.

"There should be no question, in our country, of choosing between bear and man," said the supermodel-turned-singer. "We must find a balanced means of coexistence. On the one hand, the presence of bears in the Pyrenees reflects a willingness to protect biodiversity ... on the other, the support of the local population is essential."

Bruni-Sarkozy's letter was greeted with delight yesterday by those in favour of the bears. But it will do nothing to increase her popularity among those in rural areas who are against them - and who claim her urban background disqualifies her from passing judgment.

The arrival in the mountains two years ago of five Slovenian bears sparked fury among shepherds, who claimed the animals threatened their livestock. It also worried the tourism industry, which said visitors would be put off the region.

Opponents of the release mounted a sustained- and occasionally violent - campaign, blocking roads, leading demonstrations and even planting honey pots laced with glass shards in the countryside. But their protests were largely in vain; there are now about 20 bears roaming the Pyrenees region.

News of Bruni-Sarkozy's letter came days after a minibus carrying disabled children was attacked by a bear in the south-western Ariège region. The incident, in which no one was harmed, prompted opponents of reintroduction to call again for the bears' removal. "The animals have been transported to a territory they are not used to," said a local critic. "They should have been left at home."
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on August 19, 2008, 20:04 PM
Hi Nick et al,

Thanks for this 'good news' story.

I was concerned, however, to read that the Guardian described Boutxy as "attacking" the minibus, and have written a stern rebuke to their environment editor!" :sign:



PS It's been a long time since I had a letter published in the Gruniad, but by golly they were great. Maybe I should start again! :technodevil:
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on August 19, 2008, 22:20 PM
OK Clive, that is a Nice Pretty Link to a website, but what's the secret recipe :technodevil:
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on August 19, 2008, 23:02 PM

I was concerned, however, to read that the Guardian described Boutxy as "attacking" the minibus, and have written a stern rebuke to their environment editor!"

And another from Livid of Liébana is winging its way to said Ed. I do hope they can put it right even though I have faith in the intelligence of the Grauniad readership...............
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on September 05, 2008, 20:47 PM
Just an update from  IbNat (http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/2008/09/adapting-to-bears-in-the-aran-valley/) about Aranés* shepherds adapting to life along with the bears. :sign:

*  i.e from the Val d'Aran on the north flank of the Pyrenees,

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on October 23, 2008, 20:41 PM
Bad news for bears in the Pyrenees. A boar hunter in the Vall d'Aran was bitten today by a bear and has suffered minor injuries to his foot and hand. Although this is the first time a human has been attacked by a bear in the Pyrenees since the reintroduction programme began in 1996, it has led to calls from the Aranese government for the removal of all bears from the range, claiming that the "bear reintroduction experiment has failed". The bear in question is "called" Arbala.


They're going to a report on this on the TV3 news tonight so I may be able to add something else
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on October 24, 2008, 09:39 AM
I caught the story in passing on this morning's news. The 'hunter' loked well into his 'seventies and din't seem too bothered by the whole affair. He said he let off his gun into the air and the bear made off!

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on October 24, 2008, 09:40 AM
I think the Aranese gov. have been looking any excuse to stop the programme
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on October 24, 2008, 09:44 AM
Thant's what it looked like to me too!

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on October 24, 2008, 13:13 PM
Vote for the bears here. Vote No to reconsidering the reintroduction programme



The bear in question is "called" Hvala, the same bear which was filmed last month, not Arbala as I had said

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on October 24, 2008, 13:26 PM
Also front page of Avui


¿Esteu d'acord amb la repoblació d'óssos al Pirineu?

Vote this time "Si"
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on October 24, 2008, 16:20 PM
The video of Hvala only shows half of the story. A month ago she, unusually, still had her 2nd year cub with her. About 18 mths old I think. So, either it's him or her.......or both.
i'd like to interview the dog.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lucy on October 24, 2008, 17:35 PM
74% of Avui voters so far agree with the "repoblacio", and 78% in La Vanguardia.

Luckily the hunter wasn't trigger happy, only firing in the air.  I read that he first reacted to the presence of the bear by shouting, which made the bear come towards him.  He obviously hadn't picked up the leaflet "Tourists and bears"

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: tonyninfas on October 24, 2008, 19:30 PM
Well that's my votes cast for the bares bears
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on October 26, 2008, 10:05 AM
Update 26/10/2008. The Aranese authorities are now searching for the bear Hvala with the objective of shooting it with tranquillising darts and removing it from the wild. They claim this is to avoid a “generalised vendetta” against all bears in the area (El Periodico) Meanwhile, the ecological organisation Depana while lamenting the injuries to the man, lay the blame at poorly organised boar hunts, and note that bears and boar hunting are perfectly compatible when managed properly, citing the example of the Cordillera Cantábrica.

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on October 27, 2008, 00:15 AM
The Catalan government considers the attack as an isolated incident and is still defending the reintroduction programme. I'm assuming that they have given permission for Hvala to be "taken out" of the wild.

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lucy on October 27, 2008, 13:11 PM
The media covererage of this incident seems totally out of proportion as well as the reaction of the locals, who are behaving like a lynch mob, or at least that's the way they're being portrayed.  The comments in El Periodico are very interesting - there seems to be an unbridgable gap between the locals and outsiders. The resentment of the locals towards the bears and what they see as intruding city-folk is very strong ("move the bears to Collserola" says one).


All this is a reminder that Val d'Aran has undergone a dramatic change in a short space of time - many people becoming very very rich from the rampant urbanisation and ski-ing industry, all on the doorstep of one of the Pyrenees' most wild areas.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on October 27, 2008, 14:28 PM
The news on Catalonia's TV3 this morning featured a meeting to be held today between the Generalitat's environmental department and the Aranese local government, the Conseth. Meanwhile the forestry police were standing by ready to capture Hvala to see if he is 'injured' after his ordeal.

What shocked me even more than Lucy's point above was on Saturday's El Periodico, which gave priority to the opinion of leaders of the hotel sector, who insist that all the bears be removed as they damage the image of the Val d'Aran as a tourist resort - so now I know that if I want to find out how to make a really good cup of coffee I'll ask the environment authorities.

Just to add my twopennorth: the Val d'Aran is a vile place, with rampant over development ruining the aspect of both rural and urban areas. The rich cultural heritage, exemplified by the array of Romanesque churches which have been written about with awe at least since the time of Richard Ford (Handbook for Travelers in Spain, 1845) through to E.L. Robson (A Wayfarer in the Pyrenees, 1929: one of my most prized possesions!) right up to Alastair Boyd, a.k.a. Lord Kilmarnock (The Essence of Catalonia, 1988: his 'The Road to Ronda' is a genuine classic and would be of much interest to our Andalusian factions - have you got a copy of this Clive?). These authors would turn in their graves (with apologies to you Mi-lord) if they saw the state of the Val d'Aran now. If ski resorts are  cancer on the landscape then the hideous housing 'development' in the villages are its metastases.

The tragedy here as in so many other places is that the scourge is in the hands of just a few people, hungry for the usual filthy lucre of money and power. The Aranese themselves are, in my limited experience, fine folk and came out in good shape on several documentaries that I've seen about the bear release program, especially in contrast to some French 'activists' who disrupt bear releases over the border.

I think a hidden issue here is with the powers that be in the Aran government, the Conseth, who, keen to make yet more cash and see the example of Andorra only just over the next mountains, are after quasi independence, and virtual tax haven status, like Ceuta and Mellilla enjoy. The Conseth takes every opportunity to rankle the Catalan government. For their part the Generalitat seems to relish the opportunity to play the big boy over Aranese issues, taking the boot to the other foot from its relationship to Madrid, perhaps.

I'd like to have peppered this post with humorous or ironic emoticons but I'm sorry to say that as the story has unfolded it has left me with a teeth grinding anger. To paraphrase the words of an Aranese shepherd who had the final say on the TV documentary, "The only animal species that is a threat in the Val d'Aran is homo sapiens, as always!"

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on October 27, 2008, 19:13 PM
Good post Simon. Totally agrree
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on October 27, 2008, 19:42 PM
Just posted this on the blog:

Update 27/10/2008. It is clear that this story has been blown out of all proportion to the facts and the risks involved. A man received slight injuries to his foot, and the result is the call for the removal of all bears from the Pyrenees. How many slight injuries to feet are sustained every day in the Pyrenees due to a whole host of reasons? Skiing accident. Let's ban skiing. Iron falling on your foot. Let's ban ironing. Children playing in the park. Let's ban playing.

Thankfully the Catalan authorities are seeing sense in this matter and are refusing to listen to the yuppie owners of Vall d'Aran. As Simon on the forum points out the Catalan Minsitry of the Environment should no more take into account the opinions of hotel owners than these should listen to the former's advice on how to make beds. For me, the underlying problem is the ridiculous amount of local automony and respect afforded to a small area, just because they happen to speak a different language. The Aranese have powers in the environment, while the next valley along which doesn't happen to speak a different language, doesn't. This means that they can I think, in effect, legally remove the bear in question. These small number of persons, in many cases greedily linked to the skiing and hotel industry, are going against what by all accounts are the wishes of the majority of people in Catalonia who want to maintain the bear reintroduction programme. It's a mockery of democracy.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on October 27, 2008, 22:20 PM
Thanks Nick. I totally agree. And if there is any clout that IbNat has, then this is an issue that should count for something! Speaking as a complete amateur, and someone who has very limited access to time/space etc. to be an 'activist' in such matters, I promise t do my utmost to help this cause. To quote Bob Dylan:

How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fools hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game.

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lucy on October 27, 2008, 23:50 PM
Nicely quoted Simon.  Can't the hotel owners see that what's damaging the image of Val d'Aran as a tourist resort is their handling of this incident, not the bear! It's throwing a very ugly light on all kinds of shady practices.

But those in charge probably don’t care about the opinion of people who might visit the area to enjoy its nature, as they're not big spenders.  They see the mountains as a play ground for hunters and pijo skiers. In the El Periodico forum there are allusions to scams involving illegal foreign hunting parties allowed to do what they like.   So it must be a nuisance to have bears in the territory, at least strictly protected ones, with attendant monitors and agentes rurales.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on October 28, 2008, 07:21 AM
You're so right Lucy! The illegal hunting thing is a big and dirty business!

On a brighter note - I see on the news this morning that the snow has intervened, causing the 'surveillance' operation to be cancelled  :dancing: and with the expectation that the bears will now begin hibernating. Let's hope that they wake up next spring to a more bear-friendly environment :sign:

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on October 28, 2008, 07:59 AM
But if Hvala keeps on moving, which is likely for a while now, the snow will make it easier to track her movements. Once it stops that is. Her cubs should have dispersed from their mother now and I too hope they're all three holed up somewhere for the winter where hunters won't stumble across them.
Fapas visited the Catalán Pyrenees recently to share their knowledge with the people in charge of the reintroduction programme there. They also gave advice on working closely with hunting parties/clubs to avoid incidences such as this. Really it should be much easier than in the Cordillera Cantábrica given that there are far less bears and the fact that these are closely monitored. It's simple, no hunting in bear territory. Tough! Which is how the Generalitat should be acting on this matter. (Thanks for the insight into the Aranese (Aragonese?) government Simon).
Here's some cyber action for anyone interested. In September, a bear (Balou) was shot in the foot by a hunter. Pays de l'Ours (http://www.cyberaction.paysdelours.fr/) have put together a letter, that can be modified, and sent to the French environment minister calling for improved protection for the bears. I think now is a good time to show support for their cause.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on October 28, 2008, 09:10 AM
The outcome of yesterday's meeting was, in summary, that the reintroduction will continue but that the bears will be even more closely monitored (which I read as that the humans will be even more closely monitored, see Lucy's point above).

Good point. Lisa, about the ease with which the Hvala could be tracked in the snow. I thunk tough that the snow will close much of the terrain for access, even to the forestals, either that or it's a handy smoke screen for winding down this somewhat farcical operation.

Aranese and Aragonese refer to two completely different places (and indeed languages), i.e. the 'comarca' of the Val d'Aran, which is within Catalonia and the autonomous region of Aragon. There's very little intercourse between them as they are separated by Aneto, which is a mountain that ranks fairly high on the, "Cor, that's a thumping great big hill, isn't it!" scale that I've just invented!

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on October 28, 2008, 10:38 AM
So can the Aranese legally remove Hvala and are they going to?
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on October 28, 2008, 14:08 PM
I believe not as the bears are a protected species - hence the farce element!
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on October 28, 2008, 14:29 PM
It's certainly a criminal offence for a hunter to shoot a bear, but I'm also certain it is legal for environmental authorities to remove any protected animal under certain circumstances. My doubt is not the legality of this but whether the wardens working for the Aranese council are allowed to usurp the Catalan government which is opposing action.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on October 28, 2008, 15:18 PM
Thanks for putting me right on that one Simon. I hope sense will prevail in this matter and that a lesson is learnt.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on October 29, 2008, 07:41 AM
From this morning's El Mundo, (http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2008/10/28/ciencia/1225221136.html) the Generalitat and the environment ministry have decided to start a new group to monitor even more closely 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.
My Mum was bitten by a neighbour's dog in our village yesterday. I haven't asked for its removal.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on October 29, 2008, 09:39 AM
Thanks for that Lisa, I've modified the post.

The above link alos notes 20 hunters are killed by other hunters a year in Spain.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on October 29, 2008, 09:55 AM
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.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on October 29, 2008, 10:19 AM
How about the death/injury toll for ski resorts!

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on October 30, 2008, 10:14 AM
I've just sent this letter out to the Aranese Council. It was written by Depana. If you can find a minute to send an email...(don't forget to change the name at foot). Email to info@conselharan.org

Magnífic Sr. Síndic,
L’ós bru no és perillós per l’home. L’accident succeït a Les el 23 d’octubre cal entendre’l com un fet desafortunat, en que un ós acorralat i perseguit va ferir lleument a un caçador. En cap cas l’ós va tenir voluntat d’atacar el caçador.
L’ós i les activitats humanes poden conviure perfectament tal com s’ha demostrat aquests darrers anys al Pirineu i com succeeix a zones properes d’Europa on també habita l’ós bru.
La conservació de l’ós bru és una prioritat de la Unió Europea i totes les administracions de l’àmbit pirinenc tenen el deure de vetllar per a la seva protecció. En aquest acord, la Val d’Aran no pot ser una excepció.
Arreu del país la conservació de l’ós bru compta amb el suport indiscutible i majoritari de la societat, tal com han demostrat les enquestes i opinions que s’han conegut aquest darrers dies.
Per totes aquestes raons, li demanem que reconsideri la seva posició contra la conservació de l’ós i adopti les mesures més adients i prudents perquè la convivència entre l’home i l’ós sigui un fet. Les persones i la natura hi guanyarem!
Nicholas Lloyd
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on October 30, 2008, 10:21 AM
As you wish my liege  :sign:


PS Nicholas! :technodevil:
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Aegithalos on October 30, 2008, 12:00 PM
In the url http://www.ecologistes.cat/ossa/index.html you will find another campaign against this mad bear hunt. Its manifest is very well written. Please adhere!
In a region that lives mainly on tourism, it is very important that they see that there are many people in Spain that do not approve this behaviour.
You can write too to the Aranese Tourism Office torisme@conselharan.org
Many thanks!

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on October 30, 2008, 13:10 PM
Signed up
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on October 30, 2008, 17:53 PM
Copied, pasted, signed and sent to both.
Apparently the area was combed for signs of bear before the hunt started. Hvala was holed up enjoying some honey before she was rudely interrupted.
Title: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Jesus Contreras on October 31, 2008, 12:36 PM
Sorry, it´s in spanish but I think it is highly important, although here in the south we are very far about the bears issue.


Jesús Contreras


Asunto: [lista_integrantes] Por la libertad de la osa Hvala

En nuestra opinión, el comentario de la Asociación de Naturalistas por las Generaciones Futuras lo dice todo...... léelo y decide quién merece la libertad.

"Estaban advertidos de que estaba la osa por seguridad para ella, pero hicieron caso omiso. Acosada por perros y gritos, asustada, acorralada, preñada y con oseznos recientemente independizados o no. ¿Qué más queremos de la osa? ¿Qué queremos que haga cuando ya tiene encima al cazador y los perros?.

Esto sucede 20 veces al año con jabalíes pero nadie se entera a pesar de que destripen al cazador con sus letales armas. Pero con un oso, al que ni cazadores ni ganaderos quieren ya en el Pirineo, se abre una polémica. El gobierno del Valle de Arán dice que \"es prioritaria la seguridad de las personas en la montaña\". Decirle al gobierno aranés que, en ese caso, debe prohibir terminantemente la caza, algo que ejercita tan sólo el 4% de la población pero que lo sufrimos todos.
Disparan 3 millones de balas, 150 millones de cartuchos y dispersan por la naturaleza de perdigones, que suponen además 6.000 toneladas de plomo contaminando campos, humedales, acuíferos, etc... con lo que producen la muerte absurda y demostrada (por plumbismo) de entre 30.000 a 50.000 aves cada año además de los 30 a 50 MILLONES de animales que asesinan exclusivamente por un extraño y oscuro placer que habría que estudiar psiquiátricamente. En 2007 murieron por accidentes de caza en España 21 personas, el 99% por balazos durante las batidas a jabalí, las mismas en las que caen osos también. Pero además hubo otros 863 heridos, 13 de ellos inválidos para siempre. En 2005 hubo 2.000 heridos y según la mutua Mutuasport 44 cazadores mueren cada año en España, más de la mitad por disparos.

De no haber sido acosada durante toda la mañana por perros y personas, la osa no habría aparecido ante la vista de nadie. No hay ningún peligro. El único peligro para montañeros, transeúntes, recolectores de setas, etc, está en los cañones de las escopetas. No queremos convertir la montaña en un parque temático absurdo sino que queremos montañas vivas, con toda su fauna, y el oso es la especie emblemática de las montañas. No envilezcan el Pirineo ni manipulen la información con intereses. ¿Tenemos nosotros que aguantar el que un 4% de la población, enferma, machaque nuestra ya maltrecha fauna? ¿Tenemos que aguantar que exterminen nuestras especies, que destruyan nuestra biodiversidad?
¿Tenemos que aguantar que nos pongan en peligro de muerte cuando vamos al campo? ¿Tenemos encima que soportar sus quejas, mentiras, manipulaciones interesadas y sus amenazas?"

si quieres firmar..... http://www.sosossospirineu.org/

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on November 01, 2008, 21:56 PM
Well done Jesús. I'd read that there was a Catalán petition and spent ages looking for it but with no luck. Signed now.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on November 04, 2008, 09:38 AM
Fapas (http://fapas.es/notifapas/2008/hvala/20081103_osos_peligro_personas.htm) have put together a page of facts on this incident. It makes very interesting reading, especially the figures from the hunter's insurance agents. I'm going to copy the whole thing in Spanish and at the end translate a little;


Desde el FAPAS queremos  aclarar una serie de puntos sobre lo que ha acontecido tras el encuentro de este cazador con la osa Hvala el día 23 de octubre, así como  difundir nuestra opinión sobre otros aspectos relativos a la caza y  la seguridad de las personas.

¿Puede un oso resultar peligroso?

Es habitual tener miedo a todo menos a lo que realmente es peligroso. Si bien en otros lugares del mundo existen osos que acostumbran a predar sobre grandes presas, en el caso de los osos europeos nos encontramos con plantígrados sumamente pacíficos y que suelen pasar desapercibidos cuando hacen una vida salvaje; de hecho, a los osos eslovenos no se les ve. Los osos nos evitan y se mueven como fantasmas. Podremos ver sus huellas, algunas de sus señales, pero nos tiene que sonreir la suerte para poder observar un oso salvaje, pues son muy precavidos y procuran evitar el contacto directo con los humanos; estos, los humanos, sí que son peligrosos. Sólo en el caso hipotético de que se moleste a un osezno, mamá osa podría realizar un ataque, y nunca cebándose si no, muy al contrario, un ataque intimidatorio con el único objeto de alejar los posibles peligros para la cría; las osas son madres amantísimas de sus pequeños; pero no os preocupéis los miedosos, que no os caerá la breva de ver una osa con sus oseznos.
¿Qué fue lo que sucedió, entonces?

El jueves a mediodía había una cuadrilla de 5 cazadores en batida al jabalí en la montaña de Portet, en la zona del Valle de Arán, en el Pirineo catalán. Los cazadores estaban avisados de que por la zona se movía una osa y sus dos oseznos ya prácticamente independizados del año pasado (llamados Polem y Bambou) por lo cual deberían haber evitado dicha zona, no por el peligro que para ellos pudiera representar la osa, ni mucho menos, sino por el peligro que puedan representar ellos para la osa, para el proyecto de reintroducción del oso en el Pirineo y la conservación de la fauna silvestre.

¿Qué sucede en una batida? Escándalo de perros y vocerío humano, lo que va acorralando a la osa desde todas partes como a cualquier otra “pieza” de caza.

Y hay un gran riesgo, enorme, para la osa y sus hijos porque los cazadores pueden
1º) confundir muy fácilmente al oso con el jabalí, como pasa muchas veces

2º) hacer como que se han confundido, como pasa muchas veces

3º) disparar a bocajarro, sin mirar a qué, como lo demuestra el que son capaces de matar a su propio padre, hijo o amigo al moverse tras un matorral. Como pasa muchísimas veces.

La osa, que amaneció tranquila, comiendo por el monte como cualquier día, en un momento en el que necesita precisamente mucha tranquilidad para irse a la osera a hibernar bien alimentada, se encuentra de pronto con el lío de hombres y perros estropeando la mañana. Se oculta como buenamente puede. Los perros la van acosando poco a poco. En un momento dado, uno de los cazadores llega con un perro, escopeta en mano, hasta donde está la osa, y hasta el punto obligarla a un cara a cara con el hombre, al que, a buen seguro, ya temía. Nada de lo que allí sucedió puede ser ahora demostrado fehacientemente. Lo que cuenta el cazador, jubilado de 72 años, es que el perro huyó y que él se puso a gritar y a gesticular para ahuyentarla y ella le atacó.
Ciertamente, las heridas que presenta son muy leves. Es posible que, como dice él, la osa permaneciese quieta hasta que él decidió gritar, entonces pudo asustarse y realizar un ataque intimidatorio, tras el cual el hombre cayó. A partir de ahí existe confusión pues unas fuentes dicen que se le disparó la escopeta y otras que disparó dos tiros al aire para asustar a la osa.

Una osa acosada por perros y gritos, asustada, acorralada, preñada y con oseznos que no sabemos con certeza qué grado de independencia tienen. ¿Qué puede hacer cuando ya tiene al cazador encima?. Esto sucede unas 20 veces al año con jabalíes pero no trasciende a pesar de que a menudo las heridas son de consideración.

Y es que se ha querido asustar a la población aprovechando la coyuntura para así dar un fuerte golpe al programa de reintroducción del oso en el Pirineo. Y para ello se han utilizado multitud de argucias. Se ha dicho que “hay que dar gracias a que el cazador iba armado porque si hubiese sido un buscador de setas o un pastor, posiblemente estaríamos lamentando otra cosa”. Estas afirmaciones insustanciales son tan apresuradas como atrevidas. De no haberse dado las circunstancias que se dieron aquella mañana desafortunada, nunca se habría producido semejante encuentro. De haber sido un buscador de setas, un pastor o cualquier paseante, nunca se hubiera producido el encuentro y la osa tampoco habría estado estresada por el acoso.

Paradójicamente, los cazadores van en batida e invaden el territorio vital y de pleno derecho de otras especies, dispuestos a matar, pero no admiten respuestas de defensa vital de la fauna hostigada que reacciona desesperadamente.

Paradojas. ¿Cuál es el peligro real en el monte?

Tras el “suceso” (si se puede llamar así), el gobierno del Valle de Arán dice que “es prioritaria la seguridad de las personas en la montaña”. Analicemos este punto.

Según Mutuasport, la mutua de los cazadores, el año pasado hubo 21 muertos por disparos de caza y 863 heridos, de los cuales 13 quedaron inválidos para siempre por amputaciones o daños oculares. En 2005 se alcanzaron casi los 2000 heridos por accidentes de caza, con 29 inválidos para siempre; en 2002 murieron 23 personas y en 2004, 18. En 5 años hubo 5.263 heridos con casi 200 inválidos para siempre, y decenas de muertos por disparo. La media anual, según la mutua, es la siguiente: 2585 accidentes de caza, con más de 24 muertos por disparo, 2448 heridos con 91 inválidos.
Y recordemos que cualquiera puede sacar la licencia de armas, pues es un mero trámite fraudulento. Es francamente habitual que un cazador mate a su hermano, padre, hijo, cuñado, yerno, suegro o mejor amigo. Pero es imperdonable que un hombre que pasea tranquilamente con su mujer por el campo sea asesinado por un cazador que no aseguró el tiro. Esto sucede a menudo; hace un año, sucedió eso en Lugo. Pero sin ir más lejos, la semana anterior al encuentro entre la osa y el cazador, también en Lugo un hombre que trabajaba en su maizal fue disparado por un cazador que le destrozó la pierna creyendo que era un jabalí. El mismo día, en Albacete, otro cazador mató a su mejor amigo al escuchar ruidos y creer que era un jabalí. Y es que una bala es letal a más de 1 km de distancia y un perdigón te puede dejar sin un ojo a más de 100 metros.

Pero esto no les preocupa mucho porque han manifestado que “hay más probabilidades de morir en accidente de tráfico”. El vicepresidente de la Oficina Nacional de Caza, además, dice que “el número de accidentes de caza no es tan alarmante”. Al fin y al cabo, estos accidentes de caza no tienen repercusión penal porque son sólo “accidentes”. Parece demostrado que el animal más peligroso para el cazador (y para el excursionista) no es el oso, ni el lobo ni el jabalí sino otro cazador.

En cambio, tras este suceso de la osa, han armado un enorme revuelo, y denuncian que el oso “pone en peligro la seguridad de las personas y es algo que no se puede permitir”, que “se asocia al oso con inseguridad y peligro”, que “es una amenaza real” y que “casi mata a una persona”. Mientras, periodistas sin escrúpulos intentan compensar su falta de profesionalidad con titulares absurdos como "Brutal ataque de una osa a un cazador".

En todos los encuentros entre hombre y oso conocidos en la historia de España, cuando ha habido un muerto, siempre ha sido el oso. El programa de reintroducción comenzó de nuevo en 2006 tras la muerte en 2004 de la osa Canelle por el disparo de un cazador (ver “Crónica de un exterminio”, publicado por Fapas). Fue absuelto (era el padre del alcalde del lugar). Pero años atrás también había muerto la osa Melba asesinada en otra batida. Y posiblemente más osos, hoy desaparecidos, hayan muerto por disparos desde entonces y quizá nunca lo sabremos. Tras la reintroducción de 2006, la osa Franska fue perseguida ilegalmente por los ganaderos; acosada, llegó hasta una carretera donde murió atropellada; entonces se descubrió que también había sido tiroteada días antes. Ya sólo quedan 3 ejemplares aquella última reintroducción y uno de ellos, Balou, está herido por un disparo en una pata durante una batida al jabalí el pasado 7 de septiembre. Hvala es una de las últimas esperanzas.

Desgraciadamente, los montes pirenaicos  parece ser que solo son  de los que salen a matar. Asistimos al temible deambular de hombres legalmente armados por esos montes. Estos sí que son un peligro para las personas, para nuestros niños, para la conservación de nuestros osos y de otras especies que la mayoría de los ciudadanos de España queremos preservar


El cazador de la discordia es de Les, municipio en el que hace dos años y medio demostraron estar radicalmente en contra de la reintroducción de osos; incluso boicotearon el día de la liberación. El alcalde de Les protestaba fuertemente en 2006 contra el Programa Life, el Gobierno de Francia, de España y de Cataluña a causa de la reintroducción.

¿Es verdad que los osos son un peligro para el ganado? En el Pirineo se tienen grandes rebaños de ovejas y se trabaja con una parte de ellas mientras la otra corretea libremente por la montaña y ellos cobran las subvenciones. En vez de estar atendiéndolas y vigilándolas con mastines como se hacía hace no tanto tiempo y como se hace en Europa del Este conviviendo con osos y lobos.

Los osos tienen necesidad de carne en su espectro alimentario, pero pueden suplir dicha necesidad con carroñas, algo cuya importancia viene remarcando Fapas desde hace tiempo. Para evitar cualquier posibilidad de ataque al ganado se debe trabajar con el rebaño; en el Pirineo se han hecho muy cómodos dejando los rebaños pastar libremente. Han de tenerse mastines y apriscos, y esto es subvencionado dentro de las ayudas agroambientales asociadas al oso. Qué cómodo es cobrar ayudas y subvenciones para preservar los ecosistemas de montaña, oso incluído, y protestar si el oso se encuentra con nuestras ovejas dejadas a su suerte.

Amenazas de delito de caza. Daniel Boya, en representación de colectivos de cazadores y ganaderos amenazó con que batirían el monte por su cuenta, ilegalmente y sin permiso de nadie, en busca de la osa para matarla, aprovechando la coyuntura y el opoyo de algún sector político y con total apoyo del Síndico, Francès Boya. Finalmente, se ha montado un absurdo y desproporcionado dispositivo de búsqueda que incluye 30 guardas, vehículos y un helicóptero. Para capturarla viva pero sin saber qué hacer después y cuando, además, tiene que hibernar pronto.

¿Qué intereses pueden tener los cazadores?. Muy sencillo: los cazadores quieren que se les permita cazar sin restricciones por todas partes, y por eso no quieren que haya osos; y además parece que están encantados de poder matarlos.
Pero, desgraciadamente, los cazadores tienen un poder económico y político fortísimo en muchos lugares, como Fr4ancia o en el Valle de Arán  donde precisamente; muchos políticos son cazadores, incluso furtivos. Y ahora aprovechan los ganaderos también para hacer presión. Asaja, por ejemplo, se atreve a decir que la presencia de osos va a espantar al turismo por miedo y constituye un obstáculo para el desarrollo económico; qué sorprendente que vayan a tener más miedo a los osos que a las balas de los cazadores. Olvidan que el turismo respetuoso con la naturaleza y la cultura tradicional del lugar acostumbra a ir a estos lugares porque en ellos vive el oso, asociado a una naturaleza generosa. Pero pretenden aprovecharse del desconocimiento de la gente.

No queremos convertir la montaña en un parque temático absurdo sino que queremos montañas vivas, con toda su fauna, y el oso es la especie emblemática de las montañas. No envilezcan el Pirineo.

Es triste que un pequeño colectivo de cazadores tenga más fuerza que nadie porque maneje la influencia política de un pueblo."

The hunting party of 5 + dogs were told that the bear, and possibly her cubs too, was in the area and shouldn't have continued with the boar hunt.
Hunters themselves are the most dangerous animals in the countryside. The figures from the insurers, Mutuasport;
Last year there were 21 deaths caused by hunter's shots and 863 injuries of which 13 were incapacitated for life through amputations or eye injuries.
In 2005 nearly 2,000 people were injured through hunting accidents with 29 incapacitated for life. In 2002, 23 people died and 18 in 2004. In 5 years there have been 5,263 injuries with nearly 200 handicapped for life, and tens of deaths by gunshot. This company's yearly averages show; 2,585 hunting accidents, with more than 24 shot dead and 2,448 injured, 91 handicapped for life.

Just the week before this hunt took place, a farmer working a field in Lugo was shot in the leg by a hunter and in Albacete, a hunter was shot dead by another who thought he was a boar.

Is anyone else having trouble accessing the signature page (signas)?
http://www.sosossospirineu.org/ (http://www.sosossospirineu.org/)
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on November 04, 2008, 11:03 AM
Hi Lisa et al,

Many thanks for this post - fascinating if rather terrifying reading! This is even more alarming when one thinks of the number of people who also hunt without insurance and/or completely illegally, who therefore don't report their injuries, i.e. pass them off at the hospital as due to another cause or patching up their own stupid selves (it takes one to know one department: me an' my best mate put ourselves more or less back together with half a bottle of TCP and a roll of elastoplast so as not to tell our mums we were out riding his motorbike, illegally of course, when we were about fifteen - over thirty-five years later I still have the scars to show for it!).

More seriously, the leader of the Aranès Conselh is now turning the whole issue into one of politics, arguing in a personal article in last Friday's La Mañana (not on-line as far as I can see, maybe you have to be a subscriber) that the issue is only for those who understand country living - oh heavens, that old chestnut!!! And that the Conselh is taking its stance so as to preserve the population, traditional way of life, etc. etc. Oh yeah, what 'traditional' way of life is that then?

Notwithstanding that this same Conselh has presided over a planning disaster which has rendered the ratio of full-time occupiers to domiciles as about one third (2,848 dwellings out of 7.876) with 4,411 being second homes and 517 vacant. (NB these and the following statistics are taken from the Catalan Statistics Institute (http://www.idescat.cat/territ/BasicTerr?TC=3&V0=2&PDF=FALSE&V1=39&VOK=Confirmar#T16)), it seems rich that the Conselh is making this spurious claim. The  consequences to the community of this planning binge has led to a loss of social integrity and economic inequality, i.e. being priced out of the housing market, leading to yet further disintegration, i.e. actually destroying the 'traditional' way of life - about a quarter  of Aranès (1,230 out of 4,989) work outside of the comarca!

Furthermore, although the Aranès economy and population has grown this is overwhelmingly in the services sector, accounting for 76.4% of jobs. Assuming that a large proportion of this employment is based in tourism, which is notorious for providing unsustainable and precarious economic development, this is hardly conducive to maintaining a community. This is borne out by the fact that over a quarter of all employees within the comarca (1,073 out of 3,759) are not resident there, i.e. that they are seasonal workers who come and go. I would say that it's is hardly a record to be proud of!

Just to add some independent, qualitative data: "Scyth-wielding hay-reapers of past summers have been replaced by Massey-Ferguson balers, the hayfields themselves overlooked by holiday chalets that have sprouted at the edge of every village. The increasing number of restaurants and sports shops and the constant year-round traffic on the C28 valley-floor road combine to make the Val d'Aran one of the most expensive, overdeveloped and (unless you're skiing) overrated corners of the Spanish Pyrenees." Marc Dubin (2004), The Rough Guide to the Pyrenees: p 273 (http://books.google.es/books?id=SSynY9B7XrIC&pg=PA272&lpg=PA272&dq=Val+d%27Aran+rough&source=web&ots=Bl7k7O9yDh&sig=SDnJ1cbYrDx_qIEnzKjI2CyGMBQ&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA273,M1)

Phew, I'm glad to get that off my chest. back to work!



Lisa, I too couldn't sign up to the FAPAS petition, the 'Signa' button led to an 'Address not found'. so maybe you'd better get that fedback to them sooner rather than later1
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on November 08, 2008, 07:13 AM
The petition against the capture of Hvala (http://www.sosossospirineu.org/) is up and running again. Had it been nobbled? Now heading towards 3,500 signatures.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on November 12, 2008, 08:56 AM
Signed, sealed and delivered  :sign:

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on November 14, 2008, 07:18 AM
From webmurcia.com, (http://www.webmurcia.com/nacional/6359-se-acuerdan-medidas-para-fomentar-el-conocimiento.html) the French and Spanish governments, via their respective environment ministries, have come to an agreement to follow the introduced bears more closely, continue with the education and protection plans, especially aimed at farmers and bee-keepers, and to set up bear patrols such as those of FOP in the Cantabrian mountains.
Amazing that this last hadn't already been organised. Still, better late than never.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on November 14, 2008, 14:54 PM
Latest on Hvala - she's safe for the moment - by Anna on naturaiberica - more on the plans for naturaiberica soon...

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Technopat on November 15, 2008, 01:35 AM
Greetings All,
Fascinating, ooh-it-makes-me-mad reading. As you've all summed things up, and you all know my views on this sort of issue, there's nothing for me to add but my signature, and forward the link to other like-minded, and on the whole, pretty decent human beings...
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Simon on November 19, 2008, 10:09 AM
Dear All,

I was in the Val d'Aran on Monday, more or less by accident! While I was in Vielha I called in at the tourist office and picked up the pamphlet that Lucy referred to earlier. It really was most odd that this excellent little guide, in English, French and Catalan, was so prominently displayed whereas the Aranese 'government' is so vehemently opposed to the creatures on the basis, amongst others, that they will be bad for tourism!

I think I need to write a longer post and I will - when I've got a few chapters of may lastest oeuvre in :banghead: the can!



PS Good to see you here Mr Teeps!  :dancing:
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on March 24, 2009, 18:19 PM
I've been playing a game on the Depana website. It's for Catalan hunters children and involves looking for signs of bear activity, preceded by a video of mother and cubs. Also involved is quite a hunky spooky ranger, who at least is an improvement on Ranger Smith  :) http://www.depana.org/jocos/index.html (http://www.depana.org/jocos/index.html)
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: nick on April 06, 2009, 01:10 AM
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

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: tonyninfas on April 06, 2009, 08:30 AM
Thanks for this marvellous news, Nick.  Please keep us updated.   :dancing:
As you say, may she be left in peace to raise them.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on July 04, 2009, 07:56 AM
Pays de l'Ours have a video of Hvala with her two cubs (http://www.paysdelours.com/fr/exceptionnel--4-ours-filmes-dans-les-pyrenees.html?cmp_id=50&news_id=620&vID=249#620) and an unknown sub-adult bathing in a mountain stream. I think I can make out the radio collar on Hvala.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: Jan on July 05, 2009, 10:07 AM
I read she had two cubs: mother + 2 cubs + unidentified bear = 4 bears observed simultaneously on the same slope! See http://www.ferus.org/

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on July 05, 2009, 17:15 PM
Ooops, my maths. Thanks Jan, I've corrected that.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on September 06, 2009, 07:46 AM
A group opposing the reintroductions of bears in the Pyrenees claim to have killed two bears this spring. Could be rot, but then could be true. News from Pays de l'Ours. (http://www.paysdelours.com/fr/ours--les-associations-exigent-louverture-dune-enquete.html?cmp_id=50&news_id=644&vID=249#644)
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on September 16, 2009, 17:46 PM
Spanish Ecologistas en Acción (https://www.ecologistasenaccion.org/spip.php?article15362) have joined in the call for action from the French government to investigate this claim. It does seem odd that neither of the two bears have been sighted since the spring. But why announce their killing?  :noidea:

"Ante la sospecha cada vez más fundada de la muerte a tiros de dos ejemplares de oso pardo en el Pirineo francés, Ecologistas en Acción se ha dirigido al Ministerio de Medio Ambiente de Francia para que abra una Investigación urgente que esclarezca las razones de la posible desaparición de estos dos ejemplares, depurando las posibles responsabilidades y relanzando el programa de reforzamiento de esta especie.

La semana pasada miembros de colectivos opositores a la presencia del oso pardo en el Pirineo, realizaban varias declaraciones en las que anunciaban que dos osos habrían sido abatidos esta última primavera en la zona de Haute-Ariège, midi-Pyrénées (Francia). Estos colectivos han venido destacando por su beligerancia a la presencia de esta especie en la zona pirenaica, realizando habitualmente declaraciones que incitaban a la captura de algunos ejemplares (Franska, Hvala…), sobrepasando con ello el marco legal, al tratarse de una especie protegida. Por ello, en un primer momento las autoridades francesas no han dado veracidad a este último anuncio, a pesar de su gravedad, por considerar que de nuevo se trataba de simples declaraciones en la línea que nos tienen acostumbrados.

Sin embargo, varias organizaciones francesas relacionadas con la conservación de esta especie y personas encargadas de su seguimiento, empiezan a considerar que estas declaraciones pueden ser ciertas, por cuanto ha transcurrido mucho tiempo sin tener noticias de boutxy y balou, dos ejemplares de oso pardo, que precisamente tienen parte de su campo de actividad normal en la zona de Ariège. Por este motivo, Ecologistas en Acción se ha unido a otras organizaciones del país vecino y ha solicitado al Ministerio de Medio Ambiente de Francia, que abandone la pasividad y actué diligentemente, iniciando de manera urgente una investigación para datar la veracidad de la noticia, y en caso de ser cierta se depuren las oportunas responsabilidades.

La coexistencia entre el oso pardo y las actividades humanas es perfectamente posible. Por ejemplo, el oso puede ser un factor de apoyo y mantenimiento de la ganadería extensiva, que al mismo tiempo es una actividad crucial para la conservación del Pirineo. En muchos valles esta convivencia se viene realizando sin mayores problemas, pero es necesario seguir con las campañas y programas que apuestan por esta vía. Ecologistas en Acción, colectivo que ha venido defendiendo los programas de reforzamiento realizados por las autoridades francesas, considera que el éxito de estos sólo se puede asegurar si cuenta con el respaldo de la población local.

Sin embargo, Ecologistas en Acción considera que no se puede aceptar el chantaje de los colectivos que actúan al margen de la Ley y del sentir general de la población y la respuesta debe ser contundente. Por ello, las peticiones de la organización ecologista son claras a las autoridades francesas: en caso de comprobarse la muerte de estos ejemplares, además de las oportunas investigaciones de los culpables para depurar responsabilidades, se debe relanzar el programa de reforzamiento de esta especie introduciendo nuevos ejemplares. La administración debe reaccionar de manera clara y firme para que las personas que actúan de esta manera tengan claro que no van a conseguir su objetivo de eliminar esta especie del Pirineo, sino todo lo contrario, y con ello se pueda animar a que los “anti-osos” sigan realizando este tipo de acciones delictivas y totalmente reprochables.

Boutxy es un ejemplar macho nacido en 1997, que sobrevivió con muy pocos meses a la muerte de su madre (Melba) que fue abatida ese mismo año por un cazador. En 2008 también fue un protagonista mediático al salir ileso del atropello que fue objeto por parte de un autobús cerca de la localidad de Merens. A pesar de no llevar radiotrasmisor, es un ejemplar de oso de bastante fácil localización, no en vano en 2008 fue avistado doce veces por el personal que hace el seguimiento de esta especie, por lo que se considera muy preocupante la falta de noticias de este ejemplar durante los últimos meses. Balou es otro macho, en este caso introducido en 2006 en la segunda parte del programa de reforzamiento de esta especie en Francia, que también fue noticia hace un año, como no, al recibir un disparo en una pata por parte de un cazador durante una batida de jabalí, lo que le provocó en un primer momento una importante cojera que le obligaba a desplazarse sobre tres patas, de la que ya se habría recuperado."

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: lisa on February 22, 2010, 10:40 AM
Apparently the respective heads of the French and Spanish environment ministries got together in a meeting last year regarding the "Year of Biodiversity" and discussed the bear reintroductions in the Pyrenees. The French have since officially asked for reproductive females from the Cantabrian mountain population now the Slovenian supply/programme is exhausted. I'm still reeling  :o
http://www.thepicosdeeuropa.com/picos-de-europa-mammals/bears/91-spanish-bears-for-the-pyrenees.html (http://www.thepicosdeeuropa.com/picos-de-europa-mammals/bears/91-spanish-bears-for-the-pyrenees.html)

Also found on "Le forum" of Pays de l'ours (http://www.paysdelours.com/forum/view.php?site=paysdelours&bn=paysdelours_forumpublic&key=1266392924) that there's going to be a demonstration in favour of more reintroductions of bears in the Pyrenees in Ansó on the 28th of March. (Regardless of their provenance I suppose).
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: CasaLila on January 15, 2014, 23:29 PM
Is there any recent news about bear in the Pyrenees ? Did the re-introduction programme go ahead and if so where ? It would be great to know if anyone has any news.
Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: davejsy on January 18, 2014, 14:54 PM

This is a good site for news of bears in the Pyrenees.


I think overall the situation is better than it has been for a while.

Title: Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
Post by: CasaLila on January 18, 2014, 17:00 PM
Thanks for the link, great reading. On looking at the map of distribution for 2013, the spread is better than before. We often use the Bielsa tunnel and the region crosses that completely. It seems that Ferus.fr is also concerned with wolves and lynx and that 80% of the people questionned as to whether they feel the brown bear has a place in the Pyrenees gave a positive reaponse. Things are looking up and we now need to convince the local hunters to reduce their destruction of food sources, especially for the Lynx.