Iberianature Forum

Spanish mammals (lynx, bear, wolves, cabras, moufflon and the little furry creatures too). => Mammals of Iberia => Topic started by: lisa on April 07, 2007, 16:01 PM

Title: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on April 07, 2007, 16:01 PM
Incredibly, many of our visitors (mainly non-Spanish) aren't aware of the existence of bears in Spain. Despite the work of conservation NGO's such as Fapas http://www.fapas.es/ (http://www.fapas.es/), who promote awareness among hunters, denounce furtive trappers, use cameras for controlled photographic tracking, establish fruit and beehive plantation, etc, the species is listed on the Spanish Catálogo Nacional de Especies Amenezadas as in danger of extinction http://www.mma.es/portal/secciones/biodiversidad/especies_amenazadas/catalogo_especies/ (http://www.mma.es/portal/secciones/biodiversidad/especies_amenazadas/catalogo_especies/)
What I don't understand is why they are not listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species? Is it because the subspecies is not universally recognised? Taken from the Fundación Oso Pardo - "Debido a esta extraordinaria variabilidad en su aspecto externo, sobre todo en lo que se refiere a tamaño y color, algunos especialistas diferencian un gran número de subespecies o variedades. No obstante, se considera que todos los osos pardos europeos pertenecen a la misma subespecie, aunque el aislamiento producido tras la última glaciación y a causa de la presión humana ha posibilitado que existan diferencias genéticas entre los distintos núcleos del continente. En el caso de los osos cantábricos se ha comprobado que pertenecen a un linaje genético diferenciado de otros núcleos oseros, lo que los hace únicos y les confiere, por lo tanto, un mayor interés biológico y conservacionista. Este valor se acrecienta por el hecho de que se trata de una de las poblaciones oseras más escasas y amenazadas del mundo, además de una de las que habitan en un ambiente más humanizado."
How can a species be internationally protected if there is so much confusion over it's identity? It doesn't make sense to me!

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on April 10, 2007, 11:15 AM
Hi Lisa,

Although the Cantabrian brown bear is genetically distinct from other bears most experts would say it is not a separate subspecies, but rather at most race, if you were. I seem to remember for reasons of glaciation it is more genetically related to Scandanavian bears than to Balkan bears hence the debate on reintroducing a Balkan bears in the Pyrenees - which essentially would have been the same "race".

Fapas seem to be doing a great job. And they've always been more than helpful with my questions. Great source for news too.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: SueMac on April 14, 2007, 12:56 PM
Lisa -  your post sent me scuttering to Mike Tomkies book "In Spain's Secret Wilderness" first published in 1989.  A book that first persuaded me that I would like to live in the high areas of Spain has a chapter of course on the bears.  On pages 227 -228 to paraphrase he says that Ursus actos pyrenaicus ought better to be called Ursus arctos Hispanicus as the Pyrenean population is almost extinct.  He refers to it as a sub species of the European brown bear. He talks then of "el gran senor" being the most seriously endangered large mammal of the country.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on April 14, 2007, 15:52 PM
Thanks SueMac, that was the book that first introduced me to Spanish bears but it's a long time since I read it. I know I pretty much answered my own question, I just find it so frustrating. Might contact some lynx people to find out about raising awareness of the bear's plight as they've done.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on April 14, 2007, 16:03 PM
Sorry to disagree.

It may or may not be a subspecies but just because an author called it one in 1980 it is doesn't make it one. I don't want to be unromantic but species are decided in the laboratory by bone structure and DNA.

It is surely sufficeint that in Spain there are only one hundred odd left of such an emblematic and beautiful beast to continue and improve upon its protection. If the only crietria to save an animal is that it is in danger of world extintion (as with the Iberian lynx), so much conservation would lose its meaning. Local extinxtion is often just as important.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Dave on April 14, 2007, 18:38 PM
Hi Nick
I agree absolutely, lots of local extinctions=world extinction. As with my Rooks, they may be common as muck in Europe, but if we lost our local population, it would be a tragedy. I remember in England (passing reference only) Sparrows were common when I was young.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: SueMac on April 14, 2007, 19:02 PM
Not sure what you are disagreeing with Nick. I thought he was making the point that it is the Spanish Bear and if someone doesnt do something about it that wont be around because of illicit hunting, human activity etc.
Tomkies' voice was a strong  naturalist voice from the 80s and had its place.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on April 14, 2007, 20:15 PM
Yes, not very clear.

What I mean is that:

1. I don't think it is a sub-species - until 300-500 odd years ago there would have been a continuous population of bears from the Cordillera Cantábrica to the Alps and from there to the Balkans. This separation would not be enough to form a sub-species, but there would of course have been subtle differences in population. The only way to decide it is by scientic means. If the DNA says its a sub-species, it is. And vice-verse. As it stands, the term "Cantabrian brown bear" is a human construct - and a valid one if we don't undertstand it to mean a sub-species.

I haven't looked into this recently and I may well be wrong. What do DNA studies say?. There is, it should be said, always great debate as to the defintion of what is a species, let alone a sub-species. I'll dig and scan in and excellent extract on this genetics expert Steve Jones.

2. I don't believe any of the above matters in terms of protecting brown bears in the Cordillera Cantabrica. It is worth protecting on its own terms, and for its role Cantabrian human history.

Hopes that's a bit clearer Nick

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: SueMac on April 14, 2007, 21:40 PM
Now I agree with you  - nothing really matters but this amazing country retains its fantastic natural diversity and and
those who can find ways to say this loud and clear - well, all strength to their voice.

However like Lisa I am amazed by people's lack of fundamental knowledge of Spain and  I love watchng people's faces when you say something about bears in Spain......
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on April 14, 2007, 23:42 PM
Greetings All,
Agree with importance of retaining natural diversity, etc. and the general need to protect whatever minority needs protecting.

As to the question of sub-species, etc., as we saw in my tropiezo with the biology kingdoms (http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=208.0 (http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=208.0)), just who is the most reliable source, who decides on the consensus? For every six reputable sources who profess to one scientifically accepted theory, there are another half-dozen equally reputable s. who would be able to argue equally convincingly the opposite (without even taking into consideration such pseudoscientific aberrations and wilful manipulations as Intelligent Design).

As for "hard evidence", DNA, like fingerprints, is only as reliable a source as the human being responsible for matching, etc., it. Over the last few years, in the US, at least, there have been an increasing number of judges who are refusing to accept fingerprint and DNA evidence due to the margin of error involved (20% in the case of the former!).

Just by way of practical example, surgeon friend of mine just this week was telling me that there was an unacceptably high number of errors in interpretation of MRI in areas other than neurosurgery (which is where the highest perfection is obviously required) and that he was constantly being sent patients with MRIs and corresponding diagnoses (?) which were totally off skew 'cos they were being interpreted by "experts" in radiology, general medicine, or whatever, and not in the specific discipline in anatomy or whatever the branch of medicine that would have to deal with the ailment on the basis of the MRI in question.


My sons were born in Spain - does that make 'em Spanish. OK, bad example. How 'bout this one: solitary stork from wherever (Paris?), (e)migrating and stopover in León. Takes a liking to the nice warm pylon he/she's perched atop, invites local bird over to share nest (roost?) and decides to settle here permanently. Chapter 2. Offspring. And so on.

Purity of the genes? The Ib. Pen. was occupied for 800-odd years by persons coming from the African continent. The Basques? An Aryan race? Last week, I was in a neighbouring valley to Lisa's Cantabrian Picos but on the Asturian side. Doddle for a bear. The list of purist beliefs is endless, but I digress. For a change.

Anyone know the Sp. for waffle? (I do - please post answers on tapas and tipple board.)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on April 15, 2007, 01:30 AM
Greetings All,
Re. DNA, etc.
These things being way over my head, and thus too complex for me to summarise in my own words, have to resort to including here the more-or-less full text of Steven Pinker's explanation of the "fallacy" behind DNA proof (even if the context is different, it's all biology, innit? Or is it chemistry? OK, it's all naytcher, anyway):

"... The argument is based on the finding that chimpanzees and humans share 98% to 99% of their DNA, a factoid that has become widely circulated ... The implication is that we must be 99% similar to chimpanzees.
But geneticists are appalled at such reasoning and take pains to stifle it in the same breath that they report their results. The recipe for the embryological soufflé is so baroque that small genetic differences can have enormous effects on the final product. And a 1% difference is not even so small. In terms of the information content in the DNA it is 10 megabytes, big enough ...with lots of room left over for the rest of the instructions on how to turn a chimp into a human. Indeed, a 1% difference in total DNA does not even mean that only 1% of human and chimpanzee genes are different. It could, in theory, mean that 100% of human and chimpanzee genes are different, each by 1%. DNA is a discrete combinatorial code, so a 1% difference in the DNA for a gene can be as significant as a 100% difference, just as changing one bit in every byte, or one letter in every word, can result in a new text that is 100% different, not 10% or 20% different. The reason, for DNA, is that even a single amino-acid substitution can change the shape of a protein enough to alter its function completely... Data on genetic similarity are useful in figuring out how to connect up a family tree (for example, whether gorillas branched off from a common ancestor of humans and chimpanzees or humans branched off from a common ancestor of chimps and gorillas) and perhaps even to date the divergences using a "molecular clock." But they say nothing about how similar the organisms' brains and bodies are."

The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker (2000) - HarperPerennial Modern Classics
ISBN-13 978-0-06-095833-6

Apologies for the denseness, but it does put a perspective on DNA. Would love to know how genetically similar Russula paludosa (edible) is to Russula emetica (inedible) - 100%?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on April 16, 2007, 00:03 AM
Dear Lisa and all,

I've been following Spanish bear fortunes after first reading about them in the late eighties in a BBC Wildlife magazine. Things are in a better state than they  have been ages. Nicks points are all spot on. They are a vunerable race of urus acrtos and should be view as such.

What is important for their long term survival is space and numbers. Probably for their short term to medium term survival a minum population of 250 to 500 need be roaming the northern Spain - 500 to a 1000 would be a much healthier popoulation ....but is there the space? These figures are ball park figures based on available habitat and minimum viable populations for large mammals that I've seen mentioned in articles, and depend on so many other parameters.

 Their should be a captive breeding programme( we are wasting the genes of Tola and Paco .... the only 2 in captivity by not using them as part of programme with other wild bears)! This is vital as Spanish bears will always be vunerable, as their numbers are never going to be great, and as such susceptable to freak events (like diseases). The 2 bear groups in the north need to be linked via secure corridors and corridors created to link islands of appropriate forest and moorland that dot northern Spain. Large roads need to be "bridged" at specific points with wide spanning structures that are vegetated. I'm not sure as to what point the carrying capacity of existing bear occupied land has been reached, but as bear numbers continue to increase, at some point it will become an issue and corridors will be vital. As Nick says FAPAS are doing a good job.....but I'm not clear on of their long term strategic plan, but it would have to include what I've mentioned....anyone got any information?

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on April 16, 2007, 00:10 AM
Interesting points Steve

How about this for a long term goal? The news was from 2005


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on April 16, 2007, 12:08 PM
Hi SteveT and all,
I'm not sure there's any point in discussing long-term goals if there are so many obstacles in the way of the short-term ones. However, a viable, healthy population in the Cordillera must be the eventual aim. I think Nick's right to doubt the possibilities of linking western Europe's bears if there are hurdles such as ******* ski resort threats obstructing the linking of just the Spanish populations.
By the way I had an interesting reply on another forum from Banff "In Canada, there are numerous down-hill ski resorts located in prime Grizzly habitat. From the developer/operator's point of view, the ski resort is running when the bears are sleeping (which is true) and, therefore, poses no threat to the bears. " Climate change combined with lower altitude excludes that theory from the Spanish equation as we've seen in the last couple of years, the Oso pardo is finding hibernation unnecessary.
 Anyway, back to corridors - these are ancient trails used by generations of bears. Both Fapas and the Fundación Oso Pardo http://www.fundacionosopardo.org/article5.html (http://www.fundacionosopardo.org/article5.html) are buying fincas to give a certain amount of control over bear habitat. There's an (old) interview with one of their directors here http://www.geocities.com/wild_spain/spains_bears_dont_cry_wolf.html (http://www.geocities.com/wild_spain/spains_bears_dont_cry_wolf.html). He also interestingly comments that FOP would like to become a stronger NGO with powers along the lines of the B.......h RSPB, (the Ramblers sprung to my mind too). Ursus International comment on connectivity here http://www.ursusinternational.org/issuesconnectivity.htm (http://www.ursusinternational.org/issuesconnectivity.htm). (See also this ref. to taxonomy of brown bear. (http://www.ursusinternational.org/en/factsbrown.html)) As to the range of the brown bear, they need between 10 and 380 sq. miles - another link http://www.bear.org/Grizzly/Grizzly_Brown_Bear_Facts.html (http://www.bear.org/Grizzly/Grizzly_Brown_Bear_Facts.html). O.K. so that's grizzlies but same species!
Hope that's a bit more info. and I forgot to say that bears cross the Picos periodically (my other half has seen tracks). Being a Parque Nacional, that particular part of the corridor should be safe at least.
That's enough bears, Ed.
(For now...)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on April 16, 2007, 12:31 PM
Thanks for that Lisa. Will foloow all of these links.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on April 16, 2007, 21:18 PM
 Lisa ,Nick.....

Thanks ..... I didn't know Fincas are being bought up to create corridors.That's good news .... a start anyway.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on April 26, 2007, 15:30 PM
Greetings All,
Came across the following Wikipedia reference re: DNA, etc. (while looking for further ID on my Asturian bird):


The Red Kite has been known to successfully hybridize with the Black Kite in captivity where both species were kept together, and in the wild on the Cape Verde Islands.

The Red Kites on the Cape Verde Islands are (or rather were) quite distinct in morphology, being somewhat intermediate with Black Kites. The question whether the Cape Verde Kite should be considered a distinct species (Milvus fasciicauda) or a Red Kite subspecies was never really settled. A recent mtDNA study[6] on museum specimens suggests that Cape Verde birds did not form a monophyletic lineage among or next to Red Kites.

However, this interpretation is problematic: mtDNA analysis is very susceptible to hybridization events, the evolutionary history of the Cape Verde population is not known, and the genetic relationship of Red Kites in general is very confusing, with geographical proximity being no indicator of genetic relatedness and the overall genetic similarity high,[7] perhaps indicating a relict species.

Given the morphological distinctness of the Cape Verde birds and the fact that the Cape Verde population was isolated from other populations of Red Kites, it cannot be conclusively resolved at this time whether the Cape Verde population wasn't a distinct subspecies (as M. migrans fasciicauda) or even species that frequently absorbed stragglers from the migrating European populations into its gene pool. More research seems warranted, but at any rate the Cape Verde population is effectively extinct since 2000, all surviving birds being hybrids with Black Kites (which merely raises further questions about their taxonomic status).


Even I can tell the difference between a bear and a kite (even if one of them is in the air) but the same confusion and lack of knowledge of hybridization, evolutionary history, etc. would surely apply to both cases.


I do realise that the kite doesn't really belong here on the Mammals of Iberia thread, and that there is in fact a specific Kite thread elsewhere (possibly under Birds?) but not sure how to cross reference it without risking losing this text, so here it stays unless someone wants to shift it.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on April 26, 2007, 22:07 PM
Thanks Technopat,
it's all relevant. Here's what I found on Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Bear (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brown_Bear) "DNA analysis has recently revealed that the identified subspecies of brown bears, both Eurasian and North American, are genetically quite homogeneous, and that their genetic phylogeography does not correspond to their traditional taxonomy." So I had to look at "phylogeography" and am still digesting - 
"Phylogeography is the study of the processes controlling the geographic distributions of lineages by constructing the genealogies of populations and genes [1]. This term was introduced to describe geographically structured genetic signals within and among species. An explicit focus on a species' biogeographical past sets phylogeography apart from classical population genetics [2]. Phylogeographical inferences are usually made by studying the reconstructed genealogical histories of individual genes (gene trees) sampled from different populations [2]. Past events that can be inferred include population expansion, population bottlenecks, vicariance and migration. One of the goals of phylogeographic analyses is to evaluate the relative role of history in shaping the genetic structure of populations relative to important ongoing processes. Approaches integrating genealogical and distributional information can address the relative roles of different historical forces in shaping current patterns."
The article goes on to cite studies of African elephants and salamanders, among others.
It's a minefield out there.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on April 26, 2007, 22:59 PM
Hi Lisa,

If it's any consolation even biologists don't agree on what defines a species. Steve Jones, in his excellent Almost Like a While, a rewriting of Origin of Species, notes there are as many as 12 different definitions, and doesn't bother getting stuck in the minefield by defining it himself.

Scanner needs dusting off.


PS I love the way we start on one theme, and from there all sorts of questions come up, and we go off at tangent and research stuff and come up with fascinating things like you've just posted Lisa. Every post is a potential opening to a new area of knowledge.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Dave on April 27, 2007, 18:03 PM
Hi everbody
Has anybody got a creationist angle on all this, apparently they have just opened a Natural history museum in the USA, with an interesting ? take on things.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on April 27, 2007, 19:09 PM
Greetings Dave and All,
Now you've really got me started - rollin' my sleeves up as I type!
Meet y'all on the Intelligent Design board - if one of the powers-that-be deigns or dares to open it up.
Regs. from the warpath,
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on May 08, 2007, 18:45 PM
Found this today while looking for something else as always, the internet is competing with the kids for time usurping (won't say wasting because neither are, I keep telling myself). Umm, oh yes on forestman, some "hijo de ****" has paid lots of money to shoot a polar bear (it's alright, related to oso pardo somehow) and found he didn't quite end up with what he expected.
Turns out the bear is a cross between polar and grizzly, the first known wild hybrid due to global warming stretching the natural boundaries.
I assume he got a licence for this. Can anyone tell me how this is possible when the rest of the world is desperately trying to save them???
http://www.espacioblog.com/forestman/post/2006/05/21/mitad-oso-polar-mitad-oso-gris-3 (http://www.espacioblog.com/forestman/post/2006/05/21/mitad-oso-polar-mitad-oso-gris-3)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Tore on May 08, 2007, 22:32 PM
I got a little excited now and I have to be carefull about what I say (having previously admitted that I have hunted) and where I say it (I'm saving up for a decent thread under hunting), however as my Spanish is still limited, I can not understand the whole article, and thus can not comment directly.
Off the cuff, I will say that polar bears are a noticeable problem in a number of areas. In Norway (i.e. Spitzbergen or Svalbard) it is forbidden to hunt them, but everyone (including tourists) has to carry a gun at all times. (when I was there dogsledding with my wife and children, we carried 2 weapons all the time). The authorities are compelled to cull (which has nothing to do with hunting) a number of them every year.
On another point, culling organised as hunting can often bring in good funds for local environmental issues.
Although I am not convinced that in this case it was deliberate, culling a hybrid can also certainly be justified for numerous environmental reasons.
Having said all this, I hope that this has not disqualified me from visiting your guest house in the Picos (in which case I immediately retract it all).

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on May 08, 2007, 23:16 PM
Greetings All,
Not quite sure where to paste the BBC link below. As Tore mentioned, it belongs more on the hunting board, which is possibly where we should repair to from now on. Anyway, given that it is the English-language version of the story Lisa posted (interesting web site, by the w., but an internal link on the story took me to Voice of America, which sort of worried me, but seeing as they've now got my cookie, not much I can do 'bout it except to warn you all that they will by now have followed me to this 'ere forum ...), I'm leaving it here:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4766217.stm (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4766217.stm)


Everyone else got their sleeves rolled up?

Don't forget to pop in at "my" page (http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=266.0 (http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=266.0)) to read the disclaimer on your way to the hunting board.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Clive on May 08, 2007, 23:20 PM

I got a little excited now and I have to be carefull about what I say (having previously admitted that I have hunted) and where I say it (I'm saving up for a decent thread under hunting), however as my Spanish is still limited, I can not understand the whole article, and thus

Sorry, not quite sure I understand your remark there Tore. On the hunting board there are threads that relate directly to hunting practices in Spain and they refer how those practices affect the natural balance and environment of Spain.

Why would these threads not be "decent" ?

If there is not a "decent" thread on the hunting board then please start one ;D

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on May 09, 2007, 09:10 AM
To save Clive or Nick a job, hunting conversation moved to here;
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=319.0 (http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=319.0)

El oso pardo to be continued here (as long as el oso polar doesn't reach the Iberian peninsula.)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Tore on May 09, 2007, 20:22 PM
On a closing note for this thread.
Forgive my non-native English....
By decent I meant "controversial", although there have been a few exchanges out there already, I sense this particular topic will raise hackles as it tends to be somewhat polarising (in fact reviewing the messages over the last 24 hours, I could almost say a retrospective touche! to myself).
I am actually a little concerned about wading into the fray now, as I am not known for my finesse.
Anyway, before I revert to another sub-forum, suffice to say that I love what you've all done so far and the quirks of humor and topical expertice have been giving me a great deal of pleasure. Bottom line, no criticism of existing threads.
P.s. I am also p........ off because I do not seem to able to activate any of the b..... icons or other effects; such as bolding, underlining, etc.
Can somebody show me the light at the end of the tunnel, please?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on May 17, 2007, 07:07 AM
Cantabrian brown bear news from Fapas;

A brown bear has destroyed bee hives in Galicia. Apiculturists are worried for the safety of themselves and the hives.

"Los osos que habitan en los montes de Galicia buscan comida y recientemente uno de ellos, un macho, ha entrado en varias granjas de abejas para comerse la miel. Los apicultores están preocupados, primero por su seguridad y además por el estado en que han encontrado las colmenas, las tiran al suelo, rompen los panales, matan algunas abejas y se comen la miel.

Es el segundo año en mucho tiempo en el que se detecta la presencia de un oso pardo en los montes gallegos. En esta ocasión le ha delatado su gusto por la miel. A su paso ha atacado una veintena de colmenas."

(I've asked Fapas if the number of cubs born last winter is available yet. Will let you all know if and when they reply.)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on May 17, 2007, 07:25 AM
And, just found here; http://www.espacioblog.com/forestman (http://www.espacioblog.com/forestman)
some lovely footage of a bear (Margarita?) with her cubs re. climate change and the recent lack of bear's need to hibernate.
(Jellyfish too!)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on May 26, 2007, 12:45 PM
Not Spain, but I thought this BBC report on bears in Italy has parallels for Spain, though as far as I know Cantabrian bears have less of a perchant for sheep than their European cousins (Lisa?)

"Italy's forestry workers are working to bring the Marsican brown bear back from the brink of extinction."


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on May 26, 2007, 22:29 PM
No, I don't think sheep enter their diet but neither were they accused of killing any in the clip, just chickens. With the bear's diet being about 90% vegetarian, they don't really pose a threat to ganaderos. As long as there's maybe the odd deer or small mammal about, plenty of wild fruits and nuts and room to roam, they're not going to pose a problem. I'll have to look into the Appenine bears, doesn't exactly look like the population has much chance of growing to a viable state.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 15, 2007, 06:20 AM
2006 figures and data have just been published on the bears in the Pyrenees. After the release of 4 females and 1 male bear from Slovenia, numbers stand at definitely 15, probably 20. Boletín Ursus (http://www.fapas.es/pprin2.htm) from Fapas.
French site on Pyrenees' bears here (http://www.ours.ecologie.gouv.fr/html/_3_.php) from which comes this photo of the release of Hvala, one of the females.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on June 15, 2007, 09:26 AM
Thanks for that Lisa
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 16, 2007, 08:40 AM
Some sad news from Fapas (http://www.fapas.es/notifapas/fapasprensa/2007/20070615_recursos.htm) today. Cub mortality rate is high for last winter; between 8-10 cubs born last year have not survived.

"La  carencia de recursos alimenticios podría ser la causa de que al menos entre 8 y 10 oseznos nacidos el año pasado en  la Cordillera Cantábrica no hayan podido sobrevivir."

Fapas attribute this to the lack of carrion/carroña due to the BSE laws, even though the autumn was fruitful, berry-wise. On the 3rd of July Fapas are going to present a study to the EC in Brussels showing the effect these laws have had on the Asturian bear population.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on June 18, 2007, 13:20 PM
Greetings Lisa,
Thanx for links.
Re. Fapas news, surprising, given mild temperatures (no hibernation?), "fruitful autumn (berry-wise)" - or is high cub mortality rate a natural phenomenon among bears anyway?
I do have the general idea that mortality is high in nature (except for mosquitoes!), though the consequences are obviously more worrying when the species concerned is at risk, and we tend to be more sensitive to every single instance.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 19, 2007, 07:17 AM
Hi Technopat,
there is a naturally high infanticide rate among bears (up to 40%) which is probably excacerbated in the smaller, eastern population with the no. of males being more than double the no. of females, according to Fapas in 1999 (http://www.fapas.es/estrategia.htm)

However, their figures for these cub deaths are from the western, Asturian population. Can only presume they've taken into account any naturally-occuring mortality rates and are attributing this year's figures to the lack of animal fat for storing over-winter and the spring building-up of fat reserves.

Good news is that the size of litters is growing towards a tendency for 3 cubs (http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pNumEjemplar=1277&pIdSeccion=42&pIdNoticia=405965), which must be handy if your neighbourhood male is going to kill one of your babies - means you've still got 2 to ( :poketongue:) raise.

"Desde los primeros censos realizados en 1989 la población ha crecido de forma imparable, sobre todo en la población occidental. Si en el ochenta y nueve se detectaron cuatro osas con crías, el año pasado la cifra se elevó hasta doce. En el caso del Oriente la cifra se ha mantenido más o menos estable y las variaciones han sido menores. En 1989 había dos osas con crías, y en este período de tiempo hubo años en los que no se registraron osas con oseznos, y en 2005 se identificaron tres osas. Lo novedoso este año ha sido la presencia de una osas con tres crías. Un hecho que no se había detectado en las últimas dos décadas."
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 05, 2007, 08:08 AM
After the recent release of the 5 bears from Slovenia in the Pyrenees (see previous post on this thread), a group of politicians and farmers are already calling for the re-capture of one of them, Franska. They claim that this particular female's "erratic behaviour" is abnormal, that she is covering large areas, not being monitored and killing for the sake of it. The group also want the reintroduction programme to be stopped.
Actually she has lost her radio collar but is still being tracked three times a week by a different system.
Her search for territory is perfectly normal and now appears to have settled. (This particular part of the Pyrenees has plenty of wooded valleys to provide food and habitat for the bears.)
The farmers are not adopting the advised protection measures (we're back to Livestock Guardian Dogs again) for their flocks which are consequently being attacked much more than would usually be the case.


Ecologistas en Acción Aragón (http://www.ecologistasenaccion.org/spip.php?article8595) and a conservation group on "the other side" ( ::)), Pays de l'Ours (http://paysdelours.com/)
have a petition to sign online -
"No to the Recapture of Franska" (http://paysdelours.com/fr/getMOD/v/vID/2260/modEND/adet/soutenir-pays-de-l-ours-adet/petition-pour-franska.html)


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on July 05, 2007, 12:59 PM
C'est chose fait!
Isso está feito!
(Done! - or as we used to say back 'ome: Job jobbed!)

The Technopat family

Nick or Simon will provide the Catalan vers. - I can't do the accent!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 17, 2007, 23:59 PM
Some good news (http://www.fapas.es/notifapas/hoy/2007/20070716_osos_belmonte.htm), for a change, from the heart of Asturias. The last reproductive female bear in the area of Belmonte was shot in 1992 but since 2005/2006 eighteen different bears appear to have settled here, of which at least four are reproductive females.
Apiarists are having to protect their hives with electric fencing. Presumably set at a pretty high voltage  8)

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on July 24, 2007, 18:03 PM
Some bear updates

Bears return to Belmonte de Miranda http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/2007/07/24/bears-return-to-belmonte-de-miranda/
Bears and wolves threatened by EU carrion ban http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/2007/07/24/bears-and-wolves-threatened-by-eu-carrion-ban/
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: SueMac on July 28, 2007, 18:56 PM
I decided to send my petition in English with an added script about my reasons. I hope it wont be like a 'spoiled' paper!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 11, 2007, 08:30 AM
A tear is rolling down my cheek - Franska, the female bear accused of having killed 150 sheep in the Pyrenees, was killed in a road "accident"" near Lourdes last Thursday (9th) at 6.30am. Her search for territory has ended. Photo below from Fapas. (http://www.fapas.es/notifapas/2007/20070810_osa_muere.htm)
Environment news from consumer.es (http://www.consumer.es/web/es/medio_ambiente/2007/08/10/165941.php) regards the death as suspicious. Had she been regularly crossing the road at that point I wonder?
Of the five Slovenian bears reintroduced to the Pyrenees, there are now three remaining. Another female was found dead at the foot of a cliff not long after being released.
Accused by some Pyrenean farmers (probably the same ones that refuse to protect their flocks) as being menopausal, Franska was only six years old. Female bears reach sexual reproductive maturity at about the age of four.
Pays de L'Ours (http://www.paysdelours.com/il-faut-remplacer-franska-et-palouma-.html?cmp_id=50&news_id=233&vID=249#233), or País de los Osos, are asking for another two bears to be released to replace the two found dead.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Clive on August 14, 2007, 10:31 AM

It's not nice to find any animal killed on a road especially when one is part of a re introduction scheme.

I do wonder though about the logic of bringing in bears from another part of Europe. It makes me think that the new bears will act as they did in their own country and attack / feed on sheep when and if they can. Also the question of hibernation. Does it not get a lot colder in their home country than in the north of Spain which may be a reason why they don't feel like hibernating...

Also if the Cantabrian bear breeds with the Slovenian bear then the offspring are hybrids.. (Although the scientific world hasn't decided yet if the Cantabrian bear should be separated) ... However they did  separate the Iberian lynx because it was cut off from other European lynx).

Is there a site that explains the arguments for and against importing the bears in this manner?

Thanks for keeping us informed Lisa...

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 14, 2007, 15:01 PM
It's starting to make me wonder too Clive. Yesterday I found a petition against the re-introduction of more bears because there is no guarantee of their surviving, but how can anyone guarantee that?
I think the Pyrenean brown bear is more closely related to the Slovenian than the Cantabrian is -going to check this out in a minute, good job Nick's not here. Re-introduction is the only hope for the Pyrenean bears.
Cantabrian bears are the ones that have not been hibernating recently, and have never been to Slovenia in their lives  ;D This being due to climate change probably means that it's likely to happen elsewhere too though.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 14, 2007, 15:41 PM
Sorry, I forgot the link Pays de l'Ours, les réintroductions (http://www.paysdelours.com/fr/reintroductions/) Hope your French isn't as rusty as mine  :booklook:
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 14, 2007, 23:12 PM
Hi again Clive and anyone else bearing (oh no  :o) with me on this. Bears, as in any other species, if isolated will develope in different ways in order to survive, and become genetically different to others (possibly eventually becoming a sub-species?) Here's a quote from the Plan para la Recuperación del Oso Pardo; (http://www.geocities.com/pacatola/plan2conservacion.htm)

"Los osos de la Península Ibérica son los únicos representantes puros de una de las tres líneas evolutivas del oso pardo en Europa. Tienen características genéticas únicas que contribuyen sustancialmente a la diversidad genética de la especie, y son la unidad evolutiva más amenazada y la que exige mayores esfuerzos de protección para preservar una parte importante de esa diversidad genética........
Además, el aislamiento entre las dos poblaciones debe ser considerado un serio problema de conservación. Cada una de ellas presenta caracteres genéticos propios y una problemática distinta desde el punto de vista genético, que sugiere que sean manejadas como dos unidades de conservación diferenciadas.

These are the bears now left in Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla y León and Galicia. Though it says the Iberian peninsula, there's no mention of the Pyrenean (Pyrenaicus?) bears. I haven't read anything about joining the Cantabrian populations with the bears in the Pyrenees - regional governmental complications? You'd think it would be possible to take a couple from the Cordillera and re-introduce them to the Pyrenees instead of taking them from Slovenia. The distinct conservation plans are just that, distinct, and there seem to be no concerted efforts. Why?
Need Nick here  ???

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 16, 2007, 09:15 AM
Re my last comment - just thinking aloud really, of course there aren't enough bears yet in the Cordillera Cantábrica to be able to afford to let a couple go to the Pyrenees, but still, maybe in the future......

Sadly, another dead bear from elmundo.es; (http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2007/08/14/ciencia/1187074757.html)
A dead bear has been found in a field in the Palentine area of the Cordillera (we were driving in the area yesterday) and tests are being carried out to try and establish the cause. As the photo shows, much of the corpse has been eaten by other animals. The bear was about 20 years old so it could have died of natural causes (on open ground??) although in the last few years, 9 bears have been found dead in this area; 6 poisoned, 2 shot and one cause of death unknown. Possibly, cubs could be added to this list affected by the death of mothers.

"El cadáver del plantígrado fue localizado el sábado por un pastor en el paraje Chozo de Emilio del municipio de Polentinos (Palencia). Enseguida se personó en el lugar una patrulla de la Fundación Oso Pardo y su presidente, Guillermo Palomero, quien explicaba ayer a EL MUNDO que el animal llevaba muerto dos o tres semanas. "Vimos que era un animal viejo, de más de 20 años. Su esqueleto estaba fragmentado. Se recogió en bolsas y la Junta de Castilla-León se hará cargo de la necropsia para determinar la causa de la muerte y si hubo o no intervención humana", explicaba ayer por teléfono.

Según sus datos, en los últimos años han aparecido nueve osos adultos muertos en esta zona montañosa: seis por veneno, dos tiroteados y uno por causa desconocida. Sólo en el Parque Natural de Fuentes Carrionas han encontrado a cuatro, y tres de ellos en Polentinos, como precisa la Plataforma de Defensa de la Cordillera Cantábrica en un comunicado. A ellos hay que sumar varios oseznos."

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 16, 2007, 09:29 AM
Some good news from Fapas though  ;D They've started a new project, POTREROS EN LA MONTAÑA PALENTINA (http://www.fapas.es/notifapas/hoy/2007/20070813_potreros.htm) working alongside farmers, in helping to build corrals/enclosures for livestock in an effort to preserve traditional farming in the Cordillera and so helping in the conservation of wild animals such as bears and wolves that need the carrion provided by them aswell as the wild fruits and nuts that will only be around if farmers can continue practising their old methods of land management.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lucy on August 17, 2007, 11:32 AM
Hi Lisa, and everyone.  Another small but encouraging story: I’ve just come back from the Babia area (where Leon meets Asturias - my favourite place in Spain) and while out one day we found a gathering of Asturian ganaderos who’d organized a small (but very liquid, judging by quantity of bottles cooling off in the river) feast near the head of a valley we were walking up.  On our way down, the sky down-valley had turned a very threatening black and the party was packing up.  We were rescued from a protracted soaking by a young Asturian in a battered land rover, who was very happy to be carrying on the family cowherding business, despite the long hours, lack of holidays etc, as it allowed him to be out in the mountains and not stuck in an office.  He also explained he was collaborating with Fapas, planting fruit-bearing bushes for bears.  This seemed brilliant to me – a change from the image of angry locals unhappy with conservationist practices.  (I’d read in the local paper an interview with a member of the Castilla y Leon government bitterly complaining about the aggressive ecologists from “outside” trying to stop their San Glorio project.)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on August 17, 2007, 11:36 AM
Greetings Lucy,
Thanx for that sharing that edifying example.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 17, 2007, 14:58 PM
Yes, thanks for that cheering news Lucy. The Fundacion para la Conservacion del Quebrantahuesos (FCQ) are also encouraging involvement of farmers in their conservation efforts, it's good to hear positive feedback.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on August 17, 2007, 20:54 PM
Hi Lisa et al,

I've a very sad postscipt to the story of Franksa, the re-introduced bear found dead on a French roadsie. I was only half watching the Catalan news when I caught the end of an update, it seemed that an autopsy revealed that franksa could have been shot first. i.e. that her body was then moved and dumped after an illegal hunt and siguised as an accident! >:(

Needless to say, this makes my blood boil.

Simon  :'(
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 17, 2007, 23:20 PM
Thankyou Simon. I've found this from the Diario de Navarra (http://www.noticiasdenavarra.com/ediciones/2007/08/15/sociedad/navarra/d15nav8.978054.php) where they say dozens of small calibre gun shot pellets were found in her body during the autopsy dating from weeks before. Her death was caused, however, by two vehicles. The poor thing must have been suffering. The autopsy also revealed her age as being 17 and not 7 as the Slovenian authorities had stated.
"El análisis posterior a la muerte ha confirmado también la tesis de quienes afirmaban que el animal era mucho mayor de lo que habían dicho las autoridades eslovenas: tenía 17 años y no siete, como aseguraron. Finalmente, fueron las heridas producidas por el atropello de dos vehículos las que acabaron con su vida, aunque el cuerpo alojaba decenas de perdigones de pequeño calibre, que revelan que fue tiroteada semanas antes. Franska llegó junto a Paluma, que murió de un disparo considerado entonces accidental."
I hope they throw the book at the culprits.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Sue on August 18, 2007, 20:37 PM
Hi All,
would this bear have been able to breed at the age of 17?

If not all that money/effort has gained nothing -not to mention the bad publicity, as she was accused of attacking sheep.
The next step perhaps needs closer scrutiny if it is not to waste resources.

Regards, Sue
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 18, 2007, 23:07 PM
I think probably not but bears can live to about 25 in the wild so it may have been possible. But yes, I'm sure the conservationists in charge of the re-introduction programme are having a good re-think about their methods.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 23, 2007, 07:50 AM
Hi All,
I've just been checking out the reactions to the latest news (http://www.paysdelours.com/remplacer-chaque-disparition-suspecte-dours-par-deux-lvchers-.html?cmp_id=50&news_id=235&vID=249#235) of Franska's "accidental" death in the Pyrenees. Her bullet-ridden body is being blamed for her erratic behaviour (farmers blame her for the death of 150 sheep in a couple of months  ???) but I can't find any mention of her discovered true age.
Am going to brush up my French language north of Spanish border to see if I can get some sig's on the petition  ;D
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on August 28, 2007, 00:40 AM
There are now only two aging Pyrenean bears left - both male and both living in the Atlantic Pyrenees (Navarra and whatever its called over the border). all the rest are reintroduced. As far as I know, it is thought that there are not yet enough bears in the Cantabrian mountains to allow transfers to the Pyrenees.

The very nice woman whose house (more about this soon) we rented in Sierra de Sueve, Asturias keeps her cows in the summer over in Leon. She told me one of her young cows had been killed a few years ago by a bear and that she had received full though somewhat late compensation. She wasn't in the slightest resentful and proudly told me about the bear signs in the field in Leon they'd seen last week and how a neighbour had chanced upon a bear with cubs at the start of the summer and had been so frightened she hadn't gone out for a week. I asked her leading questions to get her to criticise bears, but she wouldn't even say anything bad about wolves - mind you she has cows not sheep and cows can defend themselves.

I must say in my very limited experience I am impressed by the level of knowledge and interest in natural history and its protection in Asturias. Testament is the existence of an organization likes Fapas and the presence of wildlife articles in the local press. Lisa? Am I being naive? What about in Cantabria? They seem less sympathetic over there. Am I wrong?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 28, 2007, 08:32 AM
Hi Nick, you're right. The Asturian authorities seem to have a more enlightened approach to their tourism marketing and use their natural resources (including the presence of bears) as an attraction to the area. I'm afraid Cantabria and Castilla León don't share this foresightedness...yet.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on August 31, 2007, 00:04 AM
Confirmed that the dead Palencia bear was poisoned

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on September 04, 2007, 20:18 PM
I love this video I've just been sent.

Claire, who sent it me, may be joining the forum soon.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on September 04, 2007, 22:36 PM
So the paw is 500 odd years old. How is it so well preserved?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on September 04, 2007, 22:40 PM
At a guess it was sun-dried
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on September 30, 2007, 10:39 AM
Had a lovely afternoon yesterday in the village of Camaleño at a feria to celebrate the end of some environmental workshops that the school children of Potes have been enjoying. There were a few stands, leaflets, T-shirts, that kind of thing including one from the Fundación Oso Pardo. (http://www.fundacionosopardo.org/rubrique1.html) They had a video running with amazing footage of bears in the Cordillera Cantábrica - mother with two cubs and, something that delighted me, bears mating! After procuring a T-shirt for Isaac and some postcards for the house I asked if the film was available to buy. The guy became quite emotional as he described how "we" feel about this film, how close it is to "our" hearts, etc. and if it was sold to every Juan, Jose and Manuel only about 10% would appreciate what they had. I suggested that if it was sold from their website they would very likely only be selling it to people with a real interest in the bears apart from the advantage of being able to use the money towards their conservation. He eventually agreed. I find this elitist, proprietorial unwillingness to share something so important conservationally and educationally perplexing to say the least.
I couldn't stop myself (yes, you've guessed it) from pursuing my enquiries into the possibilty of any scientific advances in the genetic identity of the Cantabrian brown bear. (http://www.fapas.es/estudio-genetico-osopardo.pdf) Another man in a brown jumper was drafted in to answer this one. Sadly he knew nothing, even telling me that the Cantabrian and Pyrenean bears are genetically different. I suppose they are now but gave up on my line of enquiry not being able to say "mitochondrial DNA" in Spanish  >:(
The nice man on the Fundación para la Conservación del Quebrantahuesos (http://www.quebrantahuesos.org:9080/) stall was able to explain to the children the differences in species of Lammergeier we have here in Spain and those in Africa, the latter having been watched on video the night before at home.
Olivia spent all afternoon making honey.
We're off to visit Paca and Tola (http://www.osodeasturias.es/interior.asp?MP=44) next month - report soon  ;D

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on October 31, 2007, 08:21 AM
Last weekend members of the French association Pays de l'ours visited Asturias and Fapas (http://www.fapas.es/notifapas/hoy/2007/20071030_adet.htm) to see how they are managing conflicts there between bears and human populations and to learn about the methods of promoting tourism around the bears.
While experiencing very few attacks on livestock, Fapas were able to show how they are protecting bee-hives and how they are generating positive attitudes towards the invaluable existence of bears in this part of Spain. I'm off to Proaza for a personal experience this weekend  :dancing:
Here's a photo taken in Somiedo a few years ago that they showed to the French group in which the dog chasing the bear appears to be a Pyrenean  ???

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on November 15, 2007, 14:57 PM
 :dancing: Exciting news!  :dancing:
From La Voz de Asturias. (http://lavozdeasturias.es/noticias/noticia.asp?pkid=376917)
A bear from the west has reached the bears in the east. According to studies being carried out by the University of Oviedo and the Consejería de Medio Ambiente, the presence of a male bear from the Asturian population has been confirmed in the Cantabrian/Palencian population area. The last time this happened was in the 1990's when an injured male bear was found to have made the crossing, but sadly he died. In order for the gene pool of the eastern bears to improve, a minimum of one birth every ten years as the result of mating with a western male would be necessary. This is now a possibilty.
I'd love to know the route taken and the time of year that he did it.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: tonyninfas on November 15, 2007, 18:43 PM
May he sow his wild oats with success !!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on November 19, 2007, 21:45 PM
Great news Lisa, I hadn't seen it.

And meanwhile http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/2007/11/19/bears-breeding-near-oviedo/

According to Fapas, Bears are coming closer and closer to Oviedo in the valle del Trubia.  A female bear with cubs has been detected within 8 kilometres of the city administrative limits, the first time cubs have been detected in the Trubia for ten years. This central area now seems to comprise three breeding females and is an essential step in joining the two separate bear populations

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on November 20, 2007, 15:14 PM
Got buried under rats Nick  ;D I just hope "El Emigrante's" efforts add some ammo to the defence of the San Glorio.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on December 03, 2007, 15:01 PM
In case you haven't all seen Nick's blog, (http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/2007/12/02/bear-found-dead-in-palencia/) another bear has been found dead in the Parque Natural de Fuentes Carrionas y Fuente Cobre just a few km's away from the last one in August. At least the article in El País (http://www.elpais.com/articulo/sociedad/Denuncian/muerte/segundo/oso/Palencia/meses/elpepusoc/20071202elpepisoc_2/Tes) mentions the San Glorio threat too. According to lne.es (http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=1840_42_583980__Asturias-Aparece-segundo-muerto-tres-meses-parque-natural-Palencia) the area was combed after the discovery of the decomposing corpse on Saturday to look for other remains. They found the head. (Doesn't sound like poisoning to me unless any dead wolves are found too.) The bear was male and about one year old.

"Fuentes cercanas a la investigación han precisado que entre la tarde del sábado y ayer, domingo, agentes del Seprona, personal de la Junta y guardas han rastreado la zona donde un cazador halló el ejemplar, muy cerca de la localidad de Resoba, para intentar conseguir más restos y precisar con más detalle las características del animal y las causas de su muerte.

Los restos del oso se encontraban en avanzado estado de descomposición, aunque han podido recuperar la cabeza del animal, que será enviada hoy, lunes, al laboratorio especializado en animales silvestres que la Junta de Castilla y León tiene en Burgos. En los últimos siete años han aparecido seis osos envenenados o muertos por disparos, a los que habría que añadir el ejemplar de ayer, cuya causa de la muerte está aún por determinar. El veneno es uno de los principales peligros a los que se enfrentan los osos de la Cordillera, y las distintas asociaciones conservacionistas alertan del peligro existente en los montes debido al uso de productos prohibidos. La zona donde se encontró el pasado sábado el ejemplar muerto es especialmente polémica, ya que en ella se concentra la mayoría de los fallecimientos de ejemplares por veneno o disparo de los últimos años.

La Plataforma para la Defensa de la Cordillera Cantábrica solicitó el pasado mes de septiembre a la Junta de Castilla y León la suspensión de la caza en la reserva de Fuentes Carrionas por considerar que la muerte de ejemplares en la zona puede estar relacionado con la caza y el veneno.

Para la plataforma, «la aparición de ejemplares de oso pardo envenenados dentro de los límites de dicha reserva y de forma recurrente en los últimos años: Triollo (17 de junio de 2001), Polentinos (23 de septiembre de 2005), Polentinos (11 de agosto de 2007) evidencia el uso de veneno en este espacio»."
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on December 06, 2007, 08:39 AM
The autopsy carried out in Burgos on this latest bear has so far revealed it died an accidental death with internal haemmh bleeding from the frontal cranial area. Could this young bear have fallen?
From nortecastilla.es; (http://www.nortecastilla.es/20071205/palencia/pardo-anos-hallado-muerto-20071205.html)
"Los primeros resultados de la necropsia practicada al ejemplar de oso pardo encontrado muerto el pasado sábado en Resoba señalan que el animal falleció por una «causa accidental», según el informe del Centro de Recuperación de Animales Silvestres de Burgos, adonde fue trasladado el cadáver.

El informe recoge que se trata de un ejemplar de menos de dos años que presenta una contusión fronto-nasal con hemorragia interna. En el análisis de los restos no se ha apreciado ninguna otra lesión de gravedad, por lo que los primeros indicios apuntan a que su muerte se ha producido por una accidente aún por determinar.

MUST go and pack. Women and children first may mean you'll hear from me in Blighty with my Blue whale sightings
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on December 15, 2007, 10:48 AM
On the same same story I posted this last week. My mother has just asked me if it was meant to be funny.

An autopsy has shown that the bear found dead in Fuentes Carrionas last week died an accidental death from a cranial injury possibly due to a fall. An example, I think, of the danger of jumping to conclusions.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on January 04, 2008, 00:42 AM
Dear all,

New theory on Spanish/European brown bear genetics


Brown bears in Europe are divided in two genetic groups a western group and an Eastern group. The dividing line between them runs roughly north south from S.Albania to E. Lithuania. This division line is porous. Bears in S. Norway and Sweden belong to the Western group…..but those in the North belong to the Eastern group. These distinctions reflect ancestral colonisation groups.

It was thought that the western group retreated into Iberia, Italy and the Balkans during the last ice age and that this was at least in part the reason for genetic differences between these 3 groups. New research from Uppsala University suggests a very different story. They have found that brown bears never migrated so far south and that there was genetic similarity between all of them in this western group and so there was free flow of genes from Iberia to the Balkans, even in the coldest periods of the last ice age. They also found that the 3 main small groups of existing bears which are in Spain, Italy and the Balkans are genetically distinct from these bears that they were a part of (there are genetic difference between the Spanish, Italian and Balkan too).

As the 3 groups are different from the larger group they were part of …. perhaps as little 2000ya, their genetic variation must have been man induced, they conclude. This they believe was probably via hunting, land use change – especially forest clearance and agriculture.

I hope I’ve made sense here …….I haven’t read the research paper and only read spin off articles so there could be some errors but I’m sure the basics are correct. Very interesting theory.........and raises many more questions about Spanish bears.........


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 05, 2008, 08:43 AM
Thanks for that Steve. Where did you read the articles? Any idea where we can read more?

Back to the last bear corpse found - did he fall or was he "pushed"? In the fourth paragraph of this link from Fapas (http://www.fapas.es/notifapas/2007/20071218_cinegetica.htm) on the dangers posed to the bears by hunting, no less than four bears were frightened away by a hunt this last 9th of Dec. in the same area.
Although contrary to the Plan for the Recuperation of the Cantabrian Brown Bear, hunting in this very delicate zone is still permitted. In just one valley in León that in 1990 had 4,7km of 4x4 tracks, in 2001 had 47,9km!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on January 05, 2008, 21:03 PM
Hi Lisa,

There's loads out there on brown bear genetics/distribution?spain/iberia ......some of the search papers charge but you can get a lot from the abstracts that are free......it's fascinating stuff .......

For the new theory try



For information on the 2 genetic groups try



There's loads more ....... reading up on this has raised loads of questions on Spanish bears .....I'll post them latter.


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on January 08, 2008, 01:08 AM
Dear all,

Dna tests have been on the bear paw in the Gredos. Does anyone know if the bear dna shows it was related to bears from Asturias or from the (almost extinct) Pyrennes group or perhaps from another now extinct lineage. Also if the bear paw was analysed for age/size information ( ie was the  especially small for an adult if in fact it was an adult).

Thanks steveT
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 08, 2008, 08:47 AM
Ooh Steve, I'm excited now I've bought the article  :dancing:
I've only read the first couple of pages so far and will have to wait 'til I've got the kids back to school to print out the rest but the most important for now is that the authors have found that of the western lineage of European brown bears, which was split into two sub-groups, one is believed to have originated in the Iberian peninsula and spread north from here. These reached southern Scandanavia and not the other way round as previously thought. I'll have to re-write everything! I'll report back when I've read and digested the rest of the study which, by the way, was carried out by various European universities including Madrid.
The 400 year-old paw in the Gredos (used as part of the study) would have belonged to the same Iberian lineage of brown bear which once roamed most of the peninsula (and western Europe) and is presently only found in the last remaining refuges of the Cordillera Cantábrica. See Fapas (http://www.fapas.es/notifapas/2007/20071223_mano_oso.htm) and IberiaNature. (http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/2007/09/04/the-tale-of-the-bears-paw/)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on January 08, 2008, 23:34 PM

Yes this is really exciting news!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to buy the article too ...... who's site did you buy it from?

I had been putting together a case that Iberian bears would possibly the 'best fit' population, from which to take bears, should a bear reintroduction programme ever be done in the British Isles ( I'm sure it will happen one day......there's always talk of it..... The Iberian bear population would clearly have to be more robust if this were to happen.......).
That's why I had been doing so much reading around the subject ...... from what you are saying there is a very strong case that they would be the 'best fit'......


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 09, 2008, 09:30 AM
 :o Won't be in our lifetime. The Cantabrian population is struggling and isn't helped by new roads and possible ski resorts further invading their territory. Untill there's a population of some 500+, they won't be seen as viable and the Italian bears are in even more dire straits. I presume you're thinking of the Land of the Thistle? Is there enough room for bears? Have they reintroduced wolves yet or is that still a future possibility? While back in the LOG, I saw a great clip of cameras and crew setting up a documentary on recently reintroduced Wild boar. While they were mounting their equipment in a clearing, ready for any dusk appearances, a curious female appeared out of the undergrowth. Most of the crew retreated leaving the narrator crouching in the clearing. Personally I would not have felt very comfortable with that especially after the appearance of her piglets too. Anyway, she sniffed around and didn't seem at all perturbed by the presence of the man. I throw this in as an example of how certain wild animals are portrayed as dangerous when in fact, if not threatened, are not.
Gotta go, back in a bit with the link....
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 09, 2008, 11:40 AM
Here's the link for the study from Blackwell Synergy (http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-294X.2007.03590.x) which cost @ $45. Meanwhile I'm formulating a letter in my head to make sure the possible consequences of the study are understood by the conservation groups concerned.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Clive on January 09, 2008, 11:58 AM
Hi Lisa,

This is where I get confused on the amount of up to date information/ knowledge of the conversation groups in general... Surely as Madrid University was involved in this and the communication email address is that of someone at the university (On the abstract at Blackwell Synergy) then I would have thought that the various groups involved in the bear projects would already have copies of the paper and be acting on it... Formulating new plans and strategies etc...

I have found though that this is very often not the case (Over on the bird board the lammergeyer topic shows that one hand does not know what the other is doing...)..

Would be interested to read your letter to the various groups as I suppose it needs to be very tactful so as not to upset any experts.. Especially as this new information turns a lot of "knowledge" upside down and inside out...

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 09, 2008, 21:40 PM
Don't worry Clive, I'm thinking something along the lines of "Following the recent study by ....... will the new-found knowledge mean extra protection for....etc. etc?" Just a question or two.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on January 09, 2008, 22:48 PM
Lisa and Clive.....

Lisa thanks!

Clive your right it probably won't be in our life times ...... but I would be happy to know that it may one day. Also genetic sciences are probably going to provide the reintroduction tools of the future.

It's also worth noting that the long term survival of the Iberian Lynx has been assured via captive breeding, at a growing number of sites....it was well below the 500 mark and individuals were removed. You quote 500 - I presume as it is often thought of as a figure that is required for the medium term survival of an isolated carnivore group.

I hope I haven't mentioned it before but it is estimated by a group of researchers that the Bali Tiger may never  have consisted of more than 200 individuals..........it lasted from the end of the last ice age until last century......which they point out counters conventional thought..... just a point I thought you might find interesting.


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on January 10, 2008, 00:11 AM
Bali Tiger may never  have consisted of more than 200 individuals..........it lasted from the end of the last ice age until last century

Is this true? Seems remarkable
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 10, 2008, 08:17 AM
Can anyone tell me how long it takes for new information from scientific studies to be accepted as fact by the scientific community in general? Hard, I know, but I thought someone may know of an example....
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: SueMac on January 10, 2008, 10:23 AM
Hi Lisa

What an interesting question!
IMHO I suppose the answer is straightaway and never.............The research will be scrutinised and tested by its peers ; it may be built upon or more research will de done and will change parameters partially or for ever.  But until we know differently and assuming it has been rigorously  done using some degree of scientific method, then it stands as the "truth" now.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on January 10, 2008, 22:46 PM
Dear all,

I  didn't believe it when I first read the article ...... If you do some very rough maths you see the researchers can't be far wrong. The island is 5,600 sq km. Knock off say 1,600 sq km for land that is not tiger habitat eg beach, rivers, lakes and volcanic areas in the centre etc ( an over estimation probably but it makes the maths easy ), this leaves 4000 sq km divided by 200 tigers, which is 20 sq km per tiger. The Sumatran Tiger Trust web site gives Sumatran Tiger densities in optimal lowland forest as 1 per 20 / 1 per 25 sq km.....not the same tiger but it can be used as a guide.

As you can see a carrying capacity of 200 tigers for the island is quite feasible.....and probably realistic.

It does make you think.......what are minimum viable numbers for a large carnivore......because most things that you read say in the medium to long term 200 individuals is not viable.

BUT when human densities get too great ....... it became extinct last century.


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 11, 2008, 08:39 AM
Hi Lisa

What an interesting question!
IMHO I suppose the answer is straightaway and never.............The research will be scrutinised and tested by its peers ; it may be built upon or more research will de done and will change parameters partially or for ever.  But until we know differently and assuming it has been rigorously  done using some degree of scientific method, then it stands as the "truth" now.
Thanks SueMac!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on January 12, 2008, 22:29 PM

It is a hard question to answer. The concept for example of plate tectonics took decades to be accepted …….and even with what we would now consider over whelming evidence, people were still coming up with other explanations well into the time frame when the main stream were excepting it as the paradigm. It was not accepted over night……and opinions were not swayed easily.

There is a fantastic example of how fascinating this world of peer review operates, happening right now……at a really fast pace. You may know of it. In 2003 fossil skeletons of a hominid, 1m tall were dug up on the island of Flores in Indonesia, they have been named as Homo Floresiensis. There are 2 camps, one which believe it is a totally new species of hominid and another that believe that they are humans that have undergone dwarfism due the pressures of living on an island …… Every time one camp comes up with more proof for their point …….then so does the other….it is really fascinating and on so many levels.


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 13, 2008, 15:07 PM
Thanks steveT, I hadn't realised that one was still up in the air. And then there's the one of the earth being round.....just threw that in before anyone else does  ::)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Clive on January 13, 2008, 19:33 PM
And don't forget that the sun revolves around Andalucia! :)

Right then, back to bears on this topic.....

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on January 13, 2008, 21:55 PM
Clive and Lisa ......sorry to have have digressed.....and back to osos pardos.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: SueMac on January 14, 2008, 10:09 AM
Hi Lisa did you pick up on my bit about bears used to be here in Murcia about 400 years ago?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 15, 2008, 15:20 PM
Yes, thanks SueMac. then I started looking into how much further south seeing as much was at one time wooded but got waylaid. Back to it soon...
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 15, 2008, 15:28 PM
I've just discovered that OCA (see calling Paca and Tola "geese" (http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,905.20.html)) is an acronym for Osas con Crias del Año, Females with Cubs of the Year. Still, doesn't  apply to P and T....yet.  8)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on January 15, 2008, 15:43 PM
So we jumped to conclusions there. Pity, I thought it was a brilliant mistake.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 15, 2008, 22:08 PM
Yes Nick, brilliant mistake and a fine idea at the time  :dancing: (probably, for the translators) but I just posted the info here as I thought it's an interesting snippet of real bear knowledge.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on January 15, 2008, 23:03 PM
Greetings All,
Nice one! Almost as good as the UN translator who (mis-)translated Blue Berets as arándanos  :dancing:
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on January 15, 2008, 23:31 PM

On how far south ...... there's no reason why there weren't bears as far as Tarifa .... as long as there wasn't too much human pressure......and there is no reason thy there can't have been gene transference with barabary bears ( another urus arctos .... but extinct ) ...... via acidental crossings of the straits .....to Morocco.

The straits would have been stightly narrower in the last ice ...... how much I don't know though only perhaps only 1 or 2 km very max.......brown bears are very go swimmers and even caught in currents ..... they could have crossed ...... by accident rather than design.

The numbers that would have crossed would probably have been very small. I think that current thought is barbary bears were related to the syrian race ...... though I'm not sure....

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 17, 2008, 07:25 AM
I couldn't find a lot of info on Barbary bear apart from the that it's more commonly known as the Atlas bear, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlas_Bear) Ursus arctos crowtheri, and was probably widespread across Northern Africa and now extinct, though occasional sightings are still reported. African yeti? That remark is rhetorical  :)
My reading matter for today is Phylogeography of South European Mammals (http://www.springerlink.com/content/m146210455606803/)  :P
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on January 17, 2008, 13:38 PM
I love reading the ongoing debate and research between you two (Lisa and Steve). Essential reading

Keep it up!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on January 17, 2008, 22:59 PM
Well the story continues............

I've just found this today.........A study of 4 grizzly bear(urus arctos- brown bears) populations in Alaska in 1998. Using dna analysis concluded that stretches of sea water 2-4km were enough to stop gene flow via females and 7km for males.

The straits using the -100m contour ( the approx depth of Med here in the last glacial maximum ), reveal a 20 plus km  unclosed  V shaped channel, about 15 km wide in th east and 20 in the west ( unlike the coastline of today). The shore on both sides being straight but there are places where the width was perhaps 11km.

So in conclusion there probably was the odd bear that swam/drifted either way ( bears that were foraging on the strand line and then got into difficulties for example) but it is unlikely that there would not have been any significant dna transfer. 

Also going back to bears in Almeria. The western European bear group ( the spanish bears group) are more closely linked to the Mongolian bear group that even the eastern European bear group ( dna studies show this - believe it or not). In the Gobi desert there is an isolated group of about 50 of the them.....there is footage of them too......The link means nothing. But shows with no human interference brown bears can cope with extreme aridity and backs up the fact that the desert lands of Almeria would have supported bears, probably seasonally but perhaps year round.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 18, 2008, 22:16 PM
I suppose their diet would have been more carnivorous in that case. Bears are very adaptable in their eating habits, ie Grizzlies and salmon. I still haven't read all my homework so will be back soon........
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Dave on January 25, 2008, 16:23 PM
Hi Lisa and All
Not a Spanish story but it is about an Oso Pardo thought you might be interested
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 26, 2008, 08:26 AM
Thanks Walt Dave. All I can say to that is I hope he did "stick 'em in his ear."
Back to the Cantabrian bears. Fapas (http://www.fapas.es/proyectos/frutos/20080122_150000arboles.htm) have just finished planting 150,000 trees on 230ha of land in the area of Belmonte in Asturias. The project is a compensation measure, insisted on by the Asturian government, towards the conservation of the bears after the building of a 46-turbine wind farm in their territory. The trees have been planted in fields that were once used for growing maize and wheat and that since rural depopulation of the area, had been abandoned. In the short term the trees (mainly chestnut and wild cherry) will provide fruit for the bears before, in the long term, being used for their wood.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on January 27, 2008, 18:18 PM
Lisa and all,

I wrote this on the blog but I am unsure about the end. Does this affect bears? If so this is very good news.


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 / Asturian (??? See below) 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 dramtically since the ban as carrion forms an essential part of their diet.

In the Fapas article is say Asturian countryside - But I have the figure of 17,000 for the whole of Spain from Quercus. Surely this is correct.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 27, 2008, 21:19 PM
I'm not sure the remains will be collected - more likely to be left where they are. I posted this here (http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,467.0.html) because I didn't/don't think it's of as much relevance for the bears as the carrion-eating birds. The Picos are not really bear territory but the law could be contagious  :) (It wouldn't have to spread far to have a real effect.)
20,000 does seem a lot of carcasses, I think 2,000 would be nearer the mark.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on February 17, 2008, 08:33 AM
The Cantabrian brown bear (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cantabrian_brown_bear) is now on Wikipedia.
More will be added. Many thanks to Tp for the fiddly bits  :)

Am now off to overhaul my website  >:D
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Clive on February 17, 2008, 09:26 AM
That's excellent Lisa (and Tp) :)

It reads really well and I am sure it will raise the profile of your petition as well...

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on February 17, 2008, 21:41 PM
Yes Lisa and Tp........great stuff....!!!!!!!!!!!!

So would it have been better to restock the Pyrennes, with bears from southern Sweden?


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on February 18, 2008, 09:18 AM
Greetings steveT and All,
Mestizaje (En. anyone?) rules ...
Following Darwin, is there any research demonstration that hybrids etc. are hardier survivors than inbred flora/fauna/fungi :dancing:
After all, there is research that suggests each generation increases its IQ - at least since research started - though I have my doubts ... as to the relevance of IQ and/or definitions of intelligence. :technodevil:
Trying-to-cheer-meself-up regs.,
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on February 18, 2008, 14:16 PM
I don't suppose it would make much difference Steve as there are only two male autochtonous bears left in the Pyrenees and, as far as I remember but can't find the numbers now, not many of the western lineage left in Sweden as the barrier has been crossed and bears are breeding with the (north) eastern lineage. How dare they! There's no chance of bears in the Pyrenees and the Cordillera getting together, plus bears from Slovenia were a good deal apparently. All same species don't forget  >:D
Wiki has this on Ursid hybrids. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ursid_hybrid) Between different species of bear I think, interesting to see which are fertile (but no mention of intelligence  ::)) - actually the more I read, just when I think I've got it I read something else and I'm thrown back to square one. Just found what could be the start of a lifetime's work on Wiki  ::) There's far too much confusion re. bears and looking at either the Fauna of Spain or a List of Spanish Species (can't remember that either) bears aren't even on it  :o let alone what they're called!

P.S. Crossbreeding. What do you get if a crossdresser crossbreeds? Not here - somewhere else please  :)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on February 28, 2008, 12:53 PM
Apparantly bears now "live in colonies" (reminds me of the Castila-La Mancha lynx "packs") but it's good to see they are getting more publicity...

Brown bears make a comeback in the mountains of SpainT he endangered brown bear, which once roamed the forests of Europe, is showing signs of recovery in one of its remaining strongholds, the Cantabrian mountains of Spain.

Small colonies of brown bears are increasing in the craggy northern cordillera of Asturias and Cantabria.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on February 28, 2008, 14:44 PM
Thanks Nick. I'm trying to contact Elizabeth Nash as there's a glaring omission in the article!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on February 29, 2008, 14:59 PM
The case of the bear found dead in the Polentinos area of the Cantabrian mountains in August, last year, has been re-opened. Will be interesting. From ABC.es (http://www.abc.es/hemeroteca/historico-27-02-2008/abc/Sociedad/la-otra-cara-de-la-conservacion_1641679773833.html).
(Also posted on IberiaNature blog (http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/) on the right-hand side.)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on March 10, 2008, 07:45 AM
On Iberianature blog; (http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/)
The number of bears identified in the Trubia valley in Asturias, from Quirós towards Oviedo, has doubled from eight in 2006 to sixteen in 2007. At least three breeding females have been identified who appear to be having few problems raising their cubs, leading to a lower infant mortality rate in this area than in other parts of the Cantabrian mountain chain. An abundance of food in the lower wooded valleys for these opportunistic animals, combined with recent mild winters, have contributed to this success. From  Fapas. (http://www.fapas.es/notifapas/hoy/2008/20080307_16_osos_trubia.htm)

(More wild neighbours for the semi-captive female Cantabrian brown bears in the same valley, Paca and Tola, who are presently awaiting a suitor in their new enclosure in Proaza in a plan to test their fertility with a captive male European brown bear from the Cabárceno safari park in neighbouring Cantabria previous to finding a suitable wild, male Cantabrian brown bear.)

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: tonyninfas on March 10, 2008, 08:51 AM
What absolutely fantastic nes Lisa.  Let's hopethat it continues that way.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lucy on March 10, 2008, 10:15 AM
I've just caught up with the new page on Wikipedia about Cantabrian bears.  Congratulations Lisa, and TP too.  I like the subtle way the basic absurdity of the San Gloria project is dropped in. Brilliant!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lucy on March 10, 2008, 10:47 AM
I’m reminded of a conversation overheard about 3 years ago in a small bar not far from Proaza.  Two men were commenting on some damage recently done on some land (didn’t hear what exactly, should’ve asked) and were wondering if the culprit was a boar or a bear.  It was their complete matter-of-factness that struck me.  The normality of a bear wandering onto your land!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on March 19, 2008, 09:21 AM
Flicking through El País (http://www.elpais.com/articulo/sociedad/aislamiento/genetico/amenaza/oso/pardo/elpepusoc/20080318elpepisoc_8/Tes) yesterday I came across the news of a newly-published study which corroborates the previous one (page 5 of this thread?) which found general free-flow of bears south of the European ice caps. This latest study, led by Spanish scientists, apparently hoped to find the Iberian bears to be a genetically distinct subspecies but, instead, found gene matches between them and other bears as far afield as Eastern Europe and Russia.
Published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America; Surprising migration and population size dynamics in ancient Iberian brown bears (Ursus arctos) (http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/0712223105v1?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=cantabrian+brown+bear&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT)
Cristina E. Valdiosera*,, José Luis García-Garitagoitia, Nuria Garcia*, Ignacio Doadrio, Mark G. Thomas, Catherine Hänni¶, Juan-Luis Arsuaga*,, Ian Barnes||, Michael Hofreiter**, Ludovic Orlando¶, and Anders Götherström.
They too conclude that the Cantabrian brown bears have only very recently become isolated, due to human pressure, and that introductions from other parts of Europe wouldn't harm any conservation measures. (The Fundación del Oso Pardo and Fapas both see this as unnecessary for the moment.)
I've been pondering the size of the bears compared to the others and know there's a theory/rule named after someone (anyone know it?) which claims latitude to have a bearing ( ::)) on the size of individuals. That reminds me of terrapins and tanks which I suppose is the same idea that food supply limits the growth of individuals of a species. I'm thinking the Sun bear, being the smallest and furthest south and Kodiak and Polar being the largest in the north but am thrown a bit by Steve's Gobi desert bears which are smaller than the Iberian. An exception I suppose, being a desert with a very limited food supply. There's never a globe around when you need one.

I'm about to post on the IberiaNature blog (http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/) some recent figures of the amount of illegal traps removed here in the mountains so keep your eyes on that later.
And, I must tell you that I'm over the moon, as they say, because having joined the Fundación Oso Pardo (http://www.fundacionosopardo.org/) ages ago, they've eventually sent me my carnet along with a book - Palomero, G. F. Ballesteros, J.C. Blanco, A. García-Serrano, J. Herrero y C. Nores (2007). Osas. El comportamiento de las osas y sus crías en la Cordillera Cantábrica. Fundación Oso Pardo, Fundación Biodiversidad. Madrid, which is accompanied by a dvd - completely delightful film of cubs playing but also amazing and harrowing film of a male practising infanticide. Luckily, this last is rather distant. I'll bring it to Grazalema  :dancing:
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on March 19, 2008, 19:47 PM
Oh dear, I logged on earlier to post this on the afore-mentioned snare figures and got sidetracked by Isla Perdiguera plants and mutant ladybirds in greenhouses. Here it is, from the IberiaNature blog; (http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/)

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.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: potes on March 20, 2008, 10:10 AM
Hello Lisa

I wonder if there has been an increase in the number of new cable snares set in and around our area due to this years local hunting ban !

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on March 20, 2008, 19:46 PM
Yeah, you're probably right potes, I hadn't thought of that. It'll be interesting to see if we get overrun with boar, or not......
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on March 21, 2008, 01:48 AM
Going back to the size of brown bears ....... it's something I've been pondering on for years ....here's some ramblings.

Kodiaks have been isolated for 10,000 years on Kodiak Island  and there has been flow of genes from the mainland ..... they should have got smaller - but are the biggest!

Earlier I mentioned that Iberian bears would be a best fit for a future UK reintroduction programme ......how ever far in to the future ..... All the evidence points to this. AND as the the British Isles are islands the stock would have been smaller ..... so not only are they best genetic fit they would be appropriately smaller.

But perhaps UK bears were larger as in the Kodiak case. Also I read somewhere years ago that the Romans favoured Welsh bears for their ferocity in the Arena .... perhaps an indication of size ....a weak point I know .... but worth mentioning. So this contradicts my my idea on size......

What I do think is that dwarfing whether on islands or in restricted areas or in areas which offer low nutritional opportunities .......happens very fast ( I've read nothing on this on this and it's my own thoughts.....there must be papers on this). I never really believed the Pyreenean bears and the Cantabrian bears were that distinct. They are too geographically close and contact between the groups only stopped several hundred years ago. So the reduction in size has happened over a very short period of time. My guess is that the Asturian/Cantabrian group functioned as an island group.....and got smaller....rather than Iberian bears were smaller than average ......which they probably were to some extent also.

It is interesting to note that nearly all the European bears that don't live in the northern coniferous foests, live in mountains that are predominantly of limestone and have beech as very significant tree species - NW Spain, Italy, the Balkan bear groups, the Greece/Bulgarian group,the Romanian Bears, the Tatra group.....only the Spanish bears are significantly smaller. So food and access to den sites ( limestone would provide excellent opportunities) would have been similar for all groups.

Another observation is that a recent study of extinct cave bears in Europe, found that cave bears of higher elavations were smaller than those of lower elevations ..... access to food was thought to be the reason.....

What would be interesting to know is if the Gredos paw is of an adult, and if so is it from a  brown bear  that can be regared as small or of an average size. What ever the answer it would raise as many questions as answers.

Finally the Syrian race of brown bears is often quoted as the smallest not those of NW Spain. I know you know alot of the points already ....but I just wanted to a add a few ideas.


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on March 21, 2008, 08:36 AM
Yes Steve, you're contradicting your tank/island theory. To clarify my earlier question on bear sizes, the latitude theory is based on latitudinal lines, not altitude, ie. the further north you go, the bigger the bears become (?) I'm gathering some stuff together pertinent to the Cantabrian bears (by the way, did I or anyone say the Pyrenean bears were different to the bears left in the Cantabrian mountains? They're not, but don't forget there are only two left apart from the Slovenian bears. Doesn't matter now though - I think I'm taking the news rather well  :angel: As long as they're getting publicity, that's the important thing) um, oh yes, gathering stuff pertinent. Apparently there is thought that the Cantabrian bears' relatively small size compared to other European populations is due to the extreme hunting pressure in Iberia that they've been under in the past - the biggest bears having been more aggressive and so more easily hunted and of more value trophy-wise, leading to an unnatural selection of smaller individuals, as well as less dimorphism between the sexes (the size difference between the sexes not being as marked as it once was.)
I didn't mention the Syrian bears because a lot of people take them to be extinct already. Now I do need a globe! Which is furthest south, Syria or India? I guess India. Malaya, I suppose, is the furthest south.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on March 21, 2008, 09:33 AM
I've read (can't rememeber were) a theory that much of the difference in Cantabrian and other surviving European bears could be down to human pressures over the last few centuries:

Because of increased pressure in the Cantabrian areas larger and more aggressive bears were selected out. The smaller, more timid ones with less of a taste for sheep and cow survived while the bigger brothers and sisters were killed.

Pressure meanwhile in, say, Yugoslavia, was less so these bears were larger, more aggressive and continued to attack livestock more.

I'll see if I can find a reference
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on March 21, 2008, 23:31 PM
Lisa and Nick

Sorry Lisa I didn't meant to suggest that YOU said that NW Spanish bears and Pyrenean bears were very distinct. BUT alot of literature in the recent past focused on this....thats what I meant.

Also the altitude thing was just an interesting point I thought......

As far as latitude is concerned there will be a correlation with size .... yes it is someones law....

Also there is, I've read, a theory that there's a correlation with latitude and aggression. Basically the brown bears of the Taiga (Conifreous forest that stretches from northern Norway to to the States) are more aggressive that the bears of deciduous forests .....which lie futher south. This interestingly supports the theory you both mention ........because the reason given for this is that deciduous regions were densly populated by man and aggressive bears were hunted out and less aggressive and more timid genes ended to dominate.

So this suggests that this genetic effect caused by hunting  is working on the regional (Iberia) and global scale.


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on March 22, 2008, 08:17 AM
Yes, I suppose if this has happened in one place, there's no reason why it shouldn't have happened in others. The Iberian peninsula is a relatively small area of bear-colonised land compared to the huge stretches that Steve mentions so the effect has been fairly fast.
Nick, the info I have is from "El Oso Pardo. Un Gigante Acorralado" Clevenger and Purroy. Hang on, I'll get the book to quote....

"Los osos pardos actuales son menores que sus antepasados del Pleistoceno y parece que la fuerte presión de caza es la principal causante de este patrón. ....... Los animales corpulentos, más agresivos y detectables, fueron los más abatidos por el hombre cazador, de manera que se produjo una selección hacia tamaños más pequeños, e incluso una reducción del dimorfismo entre los dos sexos."

Another result of this phenomenon is that the Spanish bears are less carniverous than others, leading some of the human populace to have believed them to have been completely vegetarian.
I can see all the snippets I'm gleaning are going to emerge here piecemeal. I'll write them all together somewhere.

By the way, we can now access the newest genetic study (http://www.fapas.es/notifapas/2008/20080320_genetico_oso.htm) for free on the Fapas website ( ::))
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on March 23, 2008, 14:20 PM
Found it! Bergmann's rule on Wikipedia. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bergmann's_Rule) Basically, the further north the bigger the body mass so the more amount of fat stored to keep warm. (Although the more heat loss too.) Apparently, examples of arguments against the theory include the African elephant but in the article they don't mention the Woolly mammoth which was bigger and lived further north. I don't think I'll add to the article  >:D
Shall we agree on a variety of factors as to the smaller stature of the Cantabrian brown bear?
Oh, and they also mention the rule being sometimes applied to birds. Don't think I'll enter into that one  :speechless: (Except I've just thought of albatrosses and the Andean condor  ::))
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on March 24, 2008, 13:05 PM
Greetings Lisa and All,
This topic (Bergmann's Rule) cropped up some time ago - more than a year ago! - related to urban foxes: http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=18.msg427#msg427 . And I also seem to remember it cropping up re. elephants on the Ib. Pen.
And I mentioned over at the exhibition board my surprise at the similarity in size of the wild boar and the bear - it was either one mother of a boar or a weeny bear - but the fact remains that they were remarkably similar.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on March 24, 2008, 15:51 PM
Ah ha! If the words "I've read this somewhere but can't remember where" ever escape my fingertips, please ask if I've checked IbNat! I don't remember that one though - interesting about Dave's fox and squirrel both being dark.
I think Bergmann's rule should have its own thread somewhere. It certainly applies to lynx, wolves (not certain on that one) and bears. Remind me not to mention the elephants south of the equater being larger than those north southern hemisphere though  >:D
(That photo would be a young bear, they're not that small, fully-grown.)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on March 26, 2008, 08:19 AM
Ecologistas en Acción (this time the Palencian branch) have written to the Fiscal Coordinador (English please anyone?) de Medio Ambiente de Madrid to inform on the poisoning of bears in the Eastern population region in recent years. From Terra (http://actualidad.terra.es/ciencia/articulo/ecologistas_fiscal_medio_ambiente_madrid_2342519.htm) news;

"La plataforma ecologista le ha enviado un informe detallado de la situación por la que atraviesa el plantígrado en la provincia de Palencia 'ante los frecuentes casos de envenenamiento' de oso pardo en el Parque Natural de Fuentes Carrionas en los últimos seis años y 'la falta de implicación de la Junta de Castilla y León para esclarecer estos delitos ambientales'.

Según ha informado hoy esta asociación, en el escrito se ha destacado 'la crítica situación' por la que atraviesa el núcleo oriental de oso pardo cantábrico, tras la muerte de cinco ejemplares de esta especie en peligro de extinción en una breve etapa, 'lo que hipoteca de forma considerable su viabilidad y aboca a la especie a su desaparición'.

Además cuatro de los cinco osos han aparecido muertos en un radio de apenas dos kilómetros dentro de un solo cuartel de caza en la Reserva Regional de Caza de Fuentes Carrionas, en la Montaña Palentina, un escenario vital para su supervivencia, han asegurado los ecologistas.

Por otra parte, han insistido en la situación judicial de estos delitos, cuyas diligencias han sido archivadas en el Juzgado de Cervera de Pisuerga (Palencia) por falta de personaciones, antes incluso de recibir todos los informes que descartaran o aportaran cualquier posibilidad de solucionar cada caso.

Pero además el informe de Ecologistas en Acción propone una serie de medidas que ayuden a combatir esta lacra, como que la Junta de Castilla y León aplique el mismo procedimiento sancionador que para los casos de envenenamiento de fauna o que se incrementen los efectivos del SEPRONA de la Guardia Civil.

También han solicitado que se inste a la Fiscalía de Palencia a llevar una instrucción eficaz y adecuada de las diligencias abiertas hasta el total esclarecimiento de los hechos y que se aplique la normativa en cuanto a tráfico por pistas forestales dentro del Parque Natural, así como sobre la actividad cinegética

They mention that the cases have been archived because no-one has personally taken them to court but I know that Fapas and, possibly, FOP have said they are doing that. The ecologists also want more hunting controls and more policing by Seprona.

So if anyone can translate Fiscal coordinador, I'd be grateful.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on March 26, 2008, 17:53 PM
Greetings Lisa,
Thanx for that info.
Just popping in for a quick one and to set the ball rolling:
for want of an exact corresponding post, which would not be universal anyway, i.e. legal systems vary in the US, the UK and just 'bout every other country in the world, I would use a working translation of something along the lines of the Coordinator for the Madrid Public Prosecution Office for the Environment. Not a snappy title, but something I can mull over till later.
Not-my-final-word-and-looking-forward-to-feedback regs.,
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on March 29, 2008, 08:42 AM
An adult male bear has recently been attracted to the beehives in the area of Caso in Redes Natural Park. The interesting bit is what the locals make of it. According to the Voz de Aviles, (http://www.elcomerciodigital.com/aviles/20080329/cuencas/atraido-miel-caso-20080329.html) they're all for it. In quotes;
"it's more important that bears return to Redes than to eat a jar of honey",
"as long as it has food and is not molested, it is not dangerous and just needs to be left in peace",
"if we hear a noise in the night, we get up to have a look in the hope of seeing a bear".

El oso vuelve a Redes. Desde hace aproximadamente 15 días, en los montes cercanos a las localidades casinas de Belerda y Bezanes los vecinos han recogido pruebas inequívocas de la presencia de un oso pardo. Un ejemplar que se acerca durante la noche a algunos núcleos rurales del concejo casín en busca de alimento. En esta zona han sido atacadas y devoradas varias colmenas particulares, cuyos propietarios han dado aviso a la guardería del parque, al percatarse de que los ataques podrían haber sido cometidos por un oso.

Los guardas han inspeccionado estos y lugares y, según han confirmado, a EL COMERCIO , «se han tomado huellas que constatan la presencia de, al menos, un ejemplar adulto». Un oso cuyo campo de movimiento podría situarse en la falda de Brañagallones, pero que hasta el momento nadie ha podido ver físicamente.

Ahora los trabajos se centran en conocer la procedencia de este ejemplar, así como determinar su lugar exacto de movimiento. Es una tarea que se está llevando a cabo con ciertas cautelas para evitar que curiosos ronden por la zona. Se trata, en definitiva, de conocer el mayor número posible de datos respecto al ejemplar: su estado, sus costumbres, si está sólo... No se descarta que este ejemplar proceda de Castilla y León y que haya atravesado la frontera entre ambas comunidades hasta llegar a Redes. Aquí ha encontrado en abundancia miel, una de su comidas favoritas durante la primavera, época en la que los plantígrados tienen que recuperar el peso perdido durante el invierno.

Gran expectación

La expectación que ha levantado la presencia de un oso en Caso ha sido mayúscula entre los vecinos, pero ninguno ha querido especificar en qué lugar exacto se han producido los ataques a los panales. Los vecinos dicen que las pérdidas son asumibles, además, muchas de las colmenas que hay por esta zona son para consumo propio. Y todos afirman que «es más importante que vuelvan los osos a Redes que comer un tarro de miel de casa». Ninguno de los vecinos tiene miedo ante posibles ataques del oso ya que explican que «mientras tenga comida y no se le moleste no es peligroso, sólo hay que dejarlo vivir». Si bien algunos vecinos afirman que «si al anochecer oímos un ruido nos levantamos por si es el oso y podemos verlo».

Nadie ha mostrado preocupación ante la presencia cercana de los osos. Animales muy oportunistas a la hora de hacerse con la comida. Y es que los plantígrados muestran una tendencia natural a acercarse a los núcleos de población en busca de carroñas de animales domésticos, cada vez más cerca de las aldeas y cada vez más lejos de su refugio tradicional en la alta montaña.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lucy on March 29, 2008, 09:24 AM
Hi Lisa,
Great to see global collaboration on this, and hopefully the mystery of why certain nests fail year after year will be explained.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on March 30, 2008, 07:58 AM
Now then Lucy........I can understand the confusion between a Black and a Griffon vulture, but Lammergeiers and Brown bears??  :o
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lucy on March 30, 2008, 08:12 AM
I was just reading the Lammergeier thread and wondering where my message had gone!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on March 30, 2008, 08:14 AM
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Clive on April 04, 2008, 23:15 PM
Hi all. sorry if this link has already been posted. I kind of remember it but can't find it reading back through the posts here...

Anyway.. In English...

Saving Spanish Brown Bears With Help From European Bears Might Make Sense

ScienceDaily (Mar. 19, 2008) — Brown bears from the Iberian Peninsula are not as genetically different from other brown bears in Europe as was previously thought. An international study being published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows that, to the contrary, the Spanish bear was only recently isolated from other European strains. These findings shed new light on the discussion of how to save the population of Spanish bears.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on April 04, 2008, 23:21 PM
Yes, previous page I think Clive  :speechless: There's no plan to introduce any yet though as if the population can carry on the steady (slow) growth rate, it's not deemed necessary for now.
Pic's of prints in snow coming soon  :)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on April 22, 2008, 01:05 AM
latest on Pyrenean bears on the blog


The French hunter who in 2004 shot Canelle, considered the last autochthonous Pyrenean female bear has been absolved by a court, which believed the hunter’s version that he did so in self-defence after the bear attacked him. The death of Canelle caused outrage in France and led directly to the current reintroduction project of Slovenian bears. El Pais

Also in the Pyrenees, Guillermo Palomero, president of the Fundación Oso Pardo, notes that the Pyrenees still has enough habitat for a bear population to develop and stresses the role bears could play in increasing the need to combat the animal’s poor image here in contrast to the Cantabrian Mountains. (Aragon Digital). Some 15-20 animals survive on both sides of the border. And an article in ABC notes that bears are suffering in the Pyrenees from a lack of carrion.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on April 24, 2008, 23:56 PM

Just going back to your ref to Clive's points, your brilliant articles that I read still recommend not allowing the Cantabrian bears to recieve any genes from related groups.....thanks I really enjoyed reading them!!!

When the Cantabrian group reaches its maximum population density or gets significantly larger, I guess having a second wild population would be a sensible strategy or a captive breeding programme.....has there ever been talk of this?

If a second population were to be established there are still areas to do this eg Cazorla

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on April 25, 2008, 21:52 PM
I like your optimism Steve  8) You're right, of course. The nearest genetic match would be the Balkan bears and there's hardly any chance of that happening. Building confidence among the rural community and preserving habitat is the way forward at the moment. I don't know why attitudes are so different in the Pyrenees  :noidea: Does anyone know any details of the hunter who killed Canelle's side of the story? All I know is that he's claimed self-defence.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on May 09, 2008, 13:27 PM
I've been following this in the press for the last few days. Interesting what everyone makes of it.
From the blog; (http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/) (posted without realising that Nick already had it in Spanish  ::))

Eco-tourism and bears in Somiedo

Following a rather sensational article in El País, (http://www.elpais.com/articulo/sociedad/oso/habitua/hombre/elpepisoc/20080505elpepisoc_1/Tes) 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.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lucy on May 09, 2008, 14:14 PM
The logical conclusion of this article is to make the whole of the Somiedo natural park into a strictly protected reserve like the one of Degaña, where a limited number of people are escorted inside each day.

As so many people go there to walk, climb mountains and appreciate the wonderful landscape, (while those going specifically to see bears must be a tiny minority), introducing restrictions of access would probably generate anti-bear feelings.  These mountains are particularly marked by the activities of generations of ganaderos, with the brañas, paths etc.  So I don’t think the comparison with a wilderness area like Yellowstone park is much use.

There's a part of the article I didn't understand:

El oso marcado murió accidentalmente y se armó tal revuelo que nunca más se volvió a implantar un transmisor a ningún animal cantábrico.

What happened there?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: potes on May 09, 2008, 18:31 PM
Hello All

A couple of weeks ago I spent four days within the Somiedo natural park staying in Pola de Somiedo. It was the first time I had been there for several years but was shocked to see a multitude of new building projects. Firstly the main road into Pola is currently undergoing upgrading this basically constitutes the destruction of 15km of mountainsides which is  being ripped asunder in order to reduce the amount of  twist and turns within the road  also widening the road to accommodate over taking. I am sure the local Mayor will state that its for the health and safety of all. The centre of Pola is now festooned with Stepford wife housing schemes built in a very non Asturian architectural design. literally hundreds of dwellings all earmarked for the tourist industry. Pola is not alone in its attempts to reinvent itself as the tourist capital of the park. Belmonte is also undergoing the same radical changes. There is also a brand new road exiting the village of Saliencia in order to link up with the other side of the park. All this was being undertaken within a very small geographical area and this particular area was the only one that I focused on, heaven knows what's happening else where!!!

I mention the above in order to give some balance in regards to the statements attributed to the Mayor and the bear specialist organisation mentioned whom apparently " all envisage a future of guided and regulated wildlife-watching tours contributing to the local economy without disturbing the bears".

How can this type of growth do anything but disturb the bears let alone the rest of the wildlife. The stance by the Asturian tourist board and ecologist groups stating that "foreign tour companies  are endangering the future of the bears by disturbing them in their natural habitat" is astonishing, they have all this development happening on their doorstep but look elsewhere to allocate blame. 

There is no more beautiful place than the Somiedo area, it is truly breathtaking but if this is measured and responsible tourism  then I fear for it .


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on May 10, 2008, 08:21 AM
Quite potes. The only consolation there is that the building (which I suppose is of second homes) is being concentrated in the centre of Pola, urbanizable land? There's a danger of killing the goose which the authorities are taking an awful long time in waking up to. I don't think they realise yet exactly why (foreign, at least) tourists come to the area - because it's mainly unspoilt. However, the mountains (as yet) are unaffected which is why the bear population is still there, and surely responsible wildlife tourism can only contribute to their economy. I find it a little hypocritical, basing the tourism industry of Asturias on the "natural paradise" of the area but then knocking up ugly buildings, blazoning the bear all over their advertising but then saying "but you can't see them". Of course, there should be (and are) restricted areas but I don't want these mountains to become a huge no-go zone. The bear population is fragile now but if a steady growth is possible, then I see no reason why controlled visits should not be allowed. Surely that's the future for the tourism industry in Somiedo at least?
the opinion of the mayor of Somiedo, (http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2008050900_41_634296__Occidente-Fervienza-Osos-turismo-llevan-muchos-conviviendo-Somiedo-beneficios-mutuos)
and some comments from Guillermo Palomero (http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2008051000_42_634738__Asturias-Gobierno-abre-expediente-sorprender-franceses-intentando-observar-osos) of the Fundación Oso Pardo, made after two French people were apprehended last week in the park, or on the edge of the restricted zone. As he says, "siempre ha habido muchos visitantes, muchos de ellos enviados por la propia Fundación Oso Pardo, y nunca ha habido ningún problema." (There have always been a lot of visitors, many of them sent by the Foundation itself and there have never been any problems.)
Lucy, I'd love to know the story of that bear! There are allusions to it but I don't know exactly what happened. Here's what I do know. In the mid-eighties, Francisco Purroy and Anthony Clevenger led an investigation into the Cantabrian brown bear which included radio-collaring a male bear, named "Salsero". They discovered a lot of new information from that study but something happened. Salsero was drowned in the newly-filled Riaño reservoir. I think they were accused of contributing to his death although it was accidental? Since then the authorities have disallowed any kind of direct tracking, which is why the exact numbers of bears is unknown? Anyone know exactly what happened?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on May 10, 2008, 11:03 AM
Hi Lisa et al,

Re the bears in the Pyrenees. I think a large part of the problem is the international border. Basically, as I understand it the French farmers are up in arms because they don't get compensation for bear kills (if there are any!) whereas in Catalonia at least they do. Jealousy being what it is there are numerous rural myths, and perhaps a few realties, that Catalan shepherds get big bucks by falsifying claims.

However, again I'm not sure but I think the compensation scheme was introduced to operate easily in the early days, as part of a public relations exercise, whereas now if a bear kill is claimed the dead animal must be positively identified as such by a pathology report, this also excludes cases of bears feeding on already dead cadavers.

The border issue becomes more complicated still, however, when one realises that the Catalan Pyrenees are the rural hinterland of an economically rich industrial area, whereas over the border these are deprived areas, far away from the sight and care of Paris! This is highlighted in particular in the Val d'Aran, which has its own dialect, said to be derived from 'Occitan' French. Although 'Aranes' isn't recognised an official language in Spain it is recognised by the Generalitat as far as that government's purview extends, whereas  French governments are notoriously unsympathetic to regional languages and dialects, so the corresponding French 'departments' sometimes feel even more aggrieved.

The bears, which wander freely across the border of course, can find themselves being pawns in all this. Personally, I find that the judgement on the French hunter who shot Canelle completely untenable - it must have taken quite a lot of effort to even find the bear, then provoke it enough to attack, and then just happen to have a high powered rifle to hand . . . ? Not that I'm cynical, of course!

I watched a brilliant documentary of Catalan TV3 about this last autumn. It followed bears from the east to a 'Welcome committee' of French anti-bearites. It was truly horrible: the release party was forced to go to one 'secret' release site after another followed, and indeed preceded by a travelling circus of 'contra' activists. But worse still was a much bigger entourage of rubberneckers, all in their posh camper vans and with their children on tow! It seemed like it was just as big a spectacle as 'La Tour'. Eventually the bear had to brave a corridor of whooping activists and screaming children before finally reaching the refuge of encircling woods.

What I didn't understand was why the bears were not released on this side of the border, as the attitude of some Aranes farmers seemed OK about it all?


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on May 11, 2008, 18:18 PM
Thanks Simon. As I see it, the reintroductions are a French initiative so they are being reintroduced in France. Shame on them for allowing the ridiculous spectacle. French farmers are compensated and you're right, they do have to be proven kills by bear. Probably the time-lapse of discovering a kill and the eventual payment depend on the departement. Practise your French here. (http://www.paysdelours.com)
Nick's found down to earth comments from Guillermo Palomero on the Spanish part of the blog. (http://iberianature.com/natura_iberica/2008/05/11/el-turismo-y-los-osos-son-compatibles/)
(I'd still like to know about Salsero if anyone has any info.)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on May 11, 2008, 18:40 PM
Hi Lisa,

What a nice site! I think I made linguistic history being officially recorded as knowing less French over  period of three years studying it, i.e 1973 GCSE Grade 6, 1974 GCSE 'ungraded' 1975 CSE Fail! So with what  call my 'D-Day' French I just about get by!

I'm very interested in reading Guillermo Palomero's comments. He's very prescient in saying that the increase in tourism around the bears will become a problem! I know the 'pro' arguments. But I think is is really dangerous to promote ecotourism based on a given species as the animals would tend to become 'exhibits' and the environment they live in become the 'stage'. This may have the consequence that the environment's fragility tends to take second place to staging the show.

I'm probably rambling, but I think I'm beginning to focus a few nebulous concerns I had about the RUNA project. So perhaps I had better take this over to that topic, after sleeping on it for a few days (and sleeping off a very convivial Sunday lunch!)


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lucy on May 11, 2008, 19:19 PM
Looking on the internet I finally found a reference to the sad affair of Salsero on a blog a couple of years back (http://frikinai.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!F0367A5C0E92BBCD!2182.entry).

According to this source, the system of attaching radio-transmitters was the same as used in the Yellowstone bears, but in spite of having an expert from the American park come over to supervise the operation, it was still a chapuza, with the transmitters repeatedly falling off.

The information from these transmitters might be valuable, but there’s a cost.  They cause the bears tremendous stress, and there’s a high mortality rate in the first two months.  This is considered acceptable if the bear population is big.

The verdict of the autopsy on poor Salsero was death by stress.  He’d inflicted severe wounds on himself trying to get the transmitter off.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on May 11, 2008, 19:54 PM
Hi Lucy et al,

Thanks for that useful link - and your research in finding it!

I really do have to take time out to think about what I want to say about this issue, and in fact as of tomorrow morning I'll be on walkabout for a week, so that's a given! But in the meantime, in case anyone's interested, what I want to explore is just how much the use of publicity and 'tourism' actually does for projects like protecting endangered species. I have a terrible vision that:

a) these projects are driven to give access to the species in question, i.e. deliver the goods in effect, despite the consequences on the ground. to take a coup,e of example just look at the concerns expressed around exactly this issue of the Oso Pardo. Or, on a broader front, look at  issues around cruise ships going to the Antarctic.

b) the relentless drive for 'good news' stories for mass media consumption tend to negate real probelms, and real achievements, on the ground. I think issues around the Iberian Lynx breeding program show this well.

Sorry to be so broad brush and then leave it, but what the heck. maybe Nick or Clive should push this over to another topic, or maybe it should just fade away?


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Clive on May 11, 2008, 22:42 PM
I think that the last few posts on this topic could be consolidated, summarised and used to open a new topic/topics somewhere else on the forum... I would tend to leave this topic to news about Oso pardo in Iberia...

RUNA thoughts should be on the RUNA topic etc etc

But its up to you...

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on May 12, 2008, 08:17 AM
Thanks for your research Lucy. Tony Clevenger was the American in charge of the study, along with Francisco Purroy from León university. I've still to get hold of their Ecoclogy of the Cantabrian brown bear. It's next on my list. Must have been a terrible blow all round.
I think we should open a topic somewhere else on Wildlife Tourism as it applies to so many species. I'm going out today though.
Meanwhile, here's some news from León;
The Reserva leonesa de Argüellos acogerá los estudios genéticos del oso pardo (http://www.nortecastilla.es/20080508/castilla-leon/reserva-leonesa-arguellos-acogera-20080508.html)

"La Fundación Oso Pardo (FOP) estudiará 'in situ' la Reserva de la Biosfera de Los Argüellos, en León, una zona intermedia entre las dos poblaciones de osos de la Montaña Oriental y Occidental de la Cordillera Cantábrica, con el fin de diseñar actuaciones de cara a comunicar genéticamente esta especie. Así lo anunció ayer en León Fernando Ballesteros, representante de esta fundación, una oenegé conservacionista constituida en 1992, quien ha confiado en que en un «futuro cercano» toda esta zona se convierta en área de distribución del oso pardo."
After having photographed and mapped the area (which I think includes the Puerto de Pajares), FOP have announced that they are looking at facilitating a corridor for the bears to pass from one population to the other. I assume this means building tunnels and over-passes, as well as conserving optimum stretches of land, in the areas where the bears appear to have problems crossing.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on May 19, 2008, 20:35 PM
Latest  on bears from the blog


Another update on brown bears in the Pyrenees. The population of bears in the range has “stabilised” at 20 individuals, of which only two (old) males and one cub belong to the autocthonous “group of Pyrenean bears. The remaining bears are those introduced from Eastern Europe in 1996, 1997 and 2006, or are cubs of these animals.

In Catalonia, in the last year at least 12 bears have been recorded passing some time here, and as some of these are now cubs, we can now begin to talk about a second generation growing up since the reintroductions began. A sign of the increased activity of bears is the first recording of a bear In the Vall d’Arán for a number of years. Watch the video of a female bear being followed by a male here. Both have recently awoken from hibernation.

The latest DNA evidence suggests that the genetic difference between Spanish bears and those from the rest of Europe is small, and therefore there should be no reason to oppose transfers from other areas on biological grounds. See Wikipedia more on links on this. In 2007, brown bears in the Catalan Pyrenees killed 20 sheep, 1 cow and 1 horse, which the Catalan Government compensated to a tune of 6,640 euros. A small price to pay.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on May 29, 2008, 09:03 AM
More good news  :)
Caja Madrid is funding a third Fundación Oso Pardo patrol (http://www.diariodeleon.es/se_leon/noticia.jsp?CAT=111&TEXTO=6850509) for their Proyecto Oso Cantábrico - study and observation of the bears + vigilance of poachers.
And today I've just read that Jon Swenson, one of the foremost experts on the European brown bear, and Miguel Delibes of the Estación Biológica de Doñana met yesterday in Proaza to checkout the progress of a 3-year study on the current situation of the Cantabrian brown bears being developed by the latter along with the Environment department of the Asturian government. The Fundación Oso Asturias (based in Proaza) are currently sponsoring a doctoral thesis by Andrés Ordiz Fernández, entitled "Análisis de patrones de movimiento y actividad del oso pardo en Europa. Aplicación a la conservación de pequeñas poblaciones amenazadas. El caso de la Cordillera Cantábrica." (Analysis of patterns of movement and activity of the brown bear in Europe. Application of the conservation of small, endangered populations. The case of the Cantabrian mountains.)
From lne.es (http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2008052800_42_640952__Asturias-pardo-entre-Asturias)
On a more personal note, the other day I had a first-hand account of a cow, two weeks away from giving birth, having been eaten by a bear. It sounds like she had fallen and broken a leg. The bear had dragged her a few hundred metres and had started on the foetus. The Fundación Oso Pardo were called and took lots of photos. It'll be interesting to find out how long the compensation money takes, and how much.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on May 29, 2008, 14:52 PM
News now posted much more clearly (I hope) on the IberiaNature blog! (http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on May 29, 2008, 16:22 PM
Greetings Lisa,
Thanx for that - I just came across the same news - with a couple of matices (En. anyone?) - at the FIDA website:

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on May 30, 2008, 14:59 PM
Hints? Too subtle for me  :)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on May 30, 2008, 15:23 PM
Greetings Lisa,
Am too sensitive/irritable(?) these days to have my leg pulled (could be the lack of sunshine, but suspect it's more due to the trapped nerve - don't want to bring back painful memories for you, Lisa (http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=342.msg4361#msg4361)  :technodevil:) so if you really want me to give you the angle on that one, only too delighted...

But in the meantime, maybe we could start with the Comunidad de Madrid's choice of name for their website devoted to trumpeting the philanthropic side of the business community "ecology" ...

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 07, 2008, 08:37 AM
Continuing the good news, from the blog; (http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/)
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.

And, if you prefer it in Spanish, Nick's;
Según Fapas, la población de osos pardos podría quedar “totalmente” recuperada en el año 2010 en el área central de Asturias, que ha visto un aumento del número de estos animales en la zona en los últimos años. Por esta razón, Fapas propone cambiar el nombre del Valle del Trubia, por el de “Valle de los Osos”. El oso pardo, que prácticamente llegó a desaparecer como especie reproductora en la zona central de Asturias, está consiguiendo recuperarse a un ritmo muy alto. En 2007 se detectó la presencia de al menos 16 osos diferentes (dos eran hembras acompañadas de sus crías). En los próximos meses se podrá determinar el número de osas que han reproducido, probablemente dos o tres, según Fapas. La previsión es que unas 10 hembras reproductoras llegarán a ocupar los valles de Trubia (entre las montañas de los Concejo de Proaza, Quirós y Santo Adriano). Esto permitaría que los osos comiencen a colonizar nuevas áreas entre las dos zonas oseras que existen la Cordillera Cantábrica y que actualmente se encuentran incomunicadas entre sí.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 10, 2008, 09:24 AM
On Iberianature blog; (http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/2008/06/10/bear-cub-corpse-found-in-palencia/)
A bear cub was found dead on Sunday (8th of June) in the area of La Pernía, Palencia making it the first case of infanticide by a male Cantabrian brown bear to be registered in the eastern population of the Cantabrian mountains. Having been alerted to the incident by a private individual, the area was combed by members of the environmental services along with a patrol of the Fundación Oso Pardo (Brown bear foundation). Signs such as dens, droppings and tracks belonging to a female and her two cubs had previously been detected in the same area as have tracks of a large male with indications of intense activity which point to a fight. Infanticide is fairly common, natural behaviour among male bears in late spring/early summer as it can provoke sexual receptivity of a female thus allowing the male to dominate a territory through his genes, although the female will be fiercely protective of her cubs and will fight to save them.  Evidence of the practice had previously only been found in the larger western population of Asturias, León and Galicia.

The partially eaten corpse has been taken to an animal recuperation centre in Burgos for an autopsy. It is hoped that the second cub survived the attack.

Bad news for the eastern bear population but at least it's natural behaviour.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 16, 2008, 14:38 PM
There's a great video of two young bears on elmundo.es (http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2008/06/13/ciencia/1213369869.html) today. This year's crop of cubs looks likely to have superceded last year's 33 say the Fundación Oso Pardo, who are waiting to see if they can receive funding from the EU's LIFE project for their work planned on aiding the passages of the bears from east to west. (Or vice versa.) This article includes positive comments on the priviledge and financial rewards of having bears, particularly in Somiedo where the mayor says no-one now needs to move away;

"Si hay un lugar en España donde queda clara la relación entre la conservación de la naturaleza y el desarrollo económico, ese es Somiedo. El día 12 se cumplen 20 años desde la declaración del Parque Natural. Entonces, los 39 pueblos de Somiedo estaban en la última plaza del PIB de Asturias; hoy ocupan la mitad de la lista. Se han abierto 1.600 plazas hoteleras y ya nadie piensa en emigrar. "El oso y la biodiversidad nos han traido riqueza. No tenemos ningún problema en convivir con los osos", concluye el alcalde, Belarmino Fernández."

If they could just stop the setting of snares...........
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 19, 2008, 14:46 PM
The new digital camaras that Fapas have installed are paying their way. They've made a very informative power point slideshow (http://fapas.es/proyectos/documentos/20080618_alimentacion_oso_con_larvas.pps) 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.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on June 19, 2008, 23:30 PM
Fascinating Lisa. Thanks for that.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 22, 2008, 07:49 AM
Just in case everyone thinks that no-one ever gets caught setting traps, a man in Asturias has been fined 5,400€ (http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2008062000_48_648809__Sucesos-Multa-5400-euros-para-cangues-colocar-lazo-zona-osera) for laying snares in Cantabrian brown bear territory. Apparently it would have been more had he not admitted the crime. He's also been banned for hunting for three years.

"El Juzgado de lo Penal número 1 de Oviedo ha condenado a Eduardo M. A., de 82 años, al pago de 5.400 euros por colocar un lazo de acero destinado a la caza de animales, en una finca de la localidad de Viliella (Cangas del Narcea), en un área de ocupación del oso pardo.

El juez le impuso también al acusado la inhabilitación especial para el ejercicio del derecho a cazar durante tres años al considerarle responsable de la comisión de un delito contra la fauna.

Los hechos ocurrieron el 16 de abril de 2007, poco después del mediodía, cuando el acusado Eduardo M. A., fue «sorprendido» por un guarda de Medio Rural del Principado cuando procedía a rearmar un lazo de acero destinado a la caza de animales en una finca de la localidad de Viliella.

El acusado había armado otro lazo en el mismo lugar, que se encuentra situado dentro del Parque Natural de las Fuentes del Narcea, Degaña e Ibias. Esta zona está considerada de población de oso pardo. Durante el proceso el acusado admitió la realización de los hechos y aceptó la pena propuesta por el fiscal, que redujo por su parte la solicitada inicialmente.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 23, 2008, 22:39 PM
Cherchez la femme in the Catalán Pyrenees. (http://www.tv3.cat/ptv3/tv3Video.jsp?idint=439419) A video of a male bear in dogged (beared?) pursuit of Hvala, the female whose two male offspring (Pollen and Bambou), born last year, are now off on their own.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on June 24, 2008, 00:13 AM

A great bit of footage!!!!

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 28, 2008, 10:02 AM
I've just posted this on the blog; (http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/)

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 lne.es (http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2008062800_41_651510__Occidente-turistas-encuentran-osezna-herida-madre-cuneta-Somiedo)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on June 28, 2008, 11:04 AM
Greetings Lisa,
Thanx for that - it's nice to get a positive bear story for a change, which is what this one will hopefully turn into.
Any ideas as to the chances of her either being re-accepted by her mother/siblings - will she be welcomed back into the bear equivalent of the fold and/or given a clip-round-the-ear (Sp. anyone?), or by a stepmother and step-siblings? Is it only the male that commits infanticide? Just how closely can she be watched by the "authorities" without other bears in the area fleeing?

The reason she kept going back to the road is obviously 'cos she wanted to cross it - probably following the tracks of her mum...
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on June 28, 2008, 11:09 AM
Hi Lia et al,

Th's is a great news story isn't it! I think the couple must have had quite some pluck, waiting around for the mother to turn up! Let alone coaxing a confused bruin into their car!


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on June 28, 2008, 12:10 PM
Greetings Simon and All,
More than pluck, I reckon they had tremendous luck! As indeed did the baby bear - things could so easily have turned out otherwise.

Has anyone ever seen traffic signs warning of bears, like those cattle/deer/elk ones?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on June 28, 2008, 12:22 PM
Your wish is my command Oh Great One :technodevil:


Funnily enough it was in the Picos that we had a good experience of the deer sign; we'd just passed one of these leaving Fuente De and around the next bend there was a doe, leaping across the road in the EXACT same 'pose'! :dancing:

He he


PS Still here avoiding tyring* to get down to somework!
* ths was the spellcheck's take on my typo for trying!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on June 28, 2008, 12:23 PM
Er that was us leaving Fuente De, not the road sign!  :banghead:

Si X
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on June 28, 2008, 12:45 PM
Greetings Simon,
Another lucky escape - for the doe, not for you and your knuckling down to finish all that work. :angel:
Anyone - other than Simon, who doesn't have time right now - able to come up with variations of "That's what a doe does best"?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 28, 2008, 18:24 PM
Here's an even cuter photo, if that's possible. According to elperiódico.com (http://www.elperiodico.com/default.asp?idpublicacio_PK=46&idioma=CAS&idnoticia_PK=522483&idseccio_PK=1021) she's doing well and eating but her right pupil is dilated and she's wobbly on her feet. The female with three cubs has been spotted by a Fundación Oso Pardo patrol with only two cubs in the vicinity of the accident. Things that have occurred to me since reading about the cub are;

1) I'm not sure that moving her was a good idea but I suppose that a road is not the safest place to be. She'd obviously been hit by a car. I bet the mother wasn't far away though. I'm going to put Fapas, Seprona and Fundación Oso Pardo tel. no's into my mobile. Well, you never know.

2) I'm sure the mother would accept her back, though she'd smell strange.

3) I can't help thinking all these humans should be wearing gloves, masks, etc. They say the longer she's kept in human care, the less chance of a successfull reintroduction.

Tp, really! The last thing she'll need is a clip around the ear  :o

Arvak, cranial injuries affecting balance and sight - what are the chances of this cub recovering?

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 28, 2008, 18:38 PM
I'm preparing myself for the worst. Internal haemorrhage?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on June 28, 2008, 22:59 PM
Greetings Lisa and All,
Thanx for that - it's great that they've "located" the mother - hope the smell of human BO don't lower the kid's cub's status among her nearest and dearest. Re. clip round the ear 'ole, not saying that's what she needs - just wondering if that's what she'll get... for mixing with the wrong sort of people and making her ol' mum worry so?
I agree that moving her was not a good idea - if anything just to the side of the road if she were in danger of getting hit (again?).
As y'all know, I'm a staunch defender of Seprona and already have their number in my mobile - which of course is down in the car and probably in full view of passers-by... but maybe you could post the others here for all those of us who happen to pass through the Principado and outlying regions. I'd do it myself but a bit tied up right now, but if I remember, will get round to it later. Maybe a new thread somewhere on which we can add useful phone numbers at national and regional levels, email addresses and the like?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 29, 2008, 07:58 AM
Good idea Tp, I'll see if I can do that now and perhaps Nick or Clive can sticky it.
No news is good news on the cub front. Although I see in lavozdeaviles.es (http://www.elcomerciodigital.com/aviles/20080629/asturias/heridas-ojos-osezna-somiedo-20080629.html) that they reckon the injuries are more consistent with a blow from the paw of a male bear than having been hit by a car.

"Por el momento, se desconoce realmente qué le ocurrió a la osa para que fuera encontrada el jueves por dos turistas madrileños en una cuneta de Somiedo, en las inmediaciones de Villarín. Según pudo saber EL COMERCIO, los expertos barajan que «haya sido golpeada por un macho». Como ya es sabido, los machos de los osos atacan a las crías para que las madres vuelvan a entrar en celo. Según las mismas fuentes, «la herida que sufre no corresponde con los daños que le hubiera causado, por ejemplo, el golpe de un coche»."

 And why not.........

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on June 29, 2008, 11:03 AM
Greetings Lisa and All,
Thanx for update!
Re. yer
los expertos barajan que «haya sido golpeada por un macho». Como ya es sabido, los machos de los osos atacan a las crías para que las madres vuelvan a entrar en celo. Según las mismas fuentes, «la herida que sufre no corresponde con los daños que le hubiera causado, por ejemplo, el golpe de un coche»."
Something tells me that that's the journalists' take on it - far more sensational than a humdrum old car. Surely the macho would have done more than shake it up a bit? Other apparent causes of injuries we've seen have been the results of falls.
Hope she gets better!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on June 29, 2008, 16:28 PM
I would have thought that a 'golpe por un macho' would have included lacerations from the claws, but that's only my humble O. Leads me to question whether bears have retractable claws like pussy cats, surely not!

Baffled as usual

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 30, 2008, 16:58 PM
To relieve you of your baffled state Simon, they're not retractable. A male bear's front paw being so much bigger than the head of a 5 month-old cub, I think it's possible that the claws wouldn't have had contact. Just a whack from the middle of the paw could have done the damage, but then so could have the wheel or bumper of a car.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 01, 2008, 08:22 AM
The cub has a blood clot causing pressure on the brain which has resulted in epilectic fits. Today she's being moved to Cabárceno (http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2008070100_41_652319__Occidente-osezna-hallada-Somiedo-trasladada-Cabarceno-agravarse-estado-salud) near Santander where they say she can be better cared for in more adequate installations. She's sedated and is receiving anti-inflammatory drugs to try and alleviate her condition. It now seems certain that she's the smallest of the family of three cubs.
Meanwhile, the ayuntamientos affected by the new draft of the Plan de Recuperación del Oso Pardohave formally rejected it (http://www.diariodeleon.es/se_leon/noticia.jsp?CAT=111&TEXTO=6951055) and are calling for talks to clarify exactly how the new regulations would restrict their activities. 
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on July 01, 2008, 12:43 PM
Greetings Lisa and All,
Thanx for posting that. Just so that everyone knows what we're talking 'bout here:
Presentaron, avalada con la firma de los alcaldes de 33 de los 34 ayuntamientos afectados, una reclamación -en la ventanilla única de la Mancomunidad Montaña de Riaño- dirigida al director del Medio Natural de la Junta, José Ángel Arranz.
(The appeal [against the new plan to protect bears and capercaillies], addressed to Castilla and León's regional minister, has been signed by 33 of the 34 mayors of the areas involved)
Don't forget that they're not protesting about the construction of a motorway/prison in their back yard. I hate the expression "I told you so" and to come across so pessimistic, but it really is necessary to take all the angles into consideration and not just the white-washing, face-lifting and spin-doctoring that the JCL* is so adept at when it comes to dealing with the environment. It's gonna take one helluva lotta "education" to get 'em to realise the benefits of what all those d**** ecologistas demand - especially as there's so little short-term profit to be made. But I digress...

*the case in point, but extrapolatable (?) to all/most politicians

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 07, 2008, 07:44 AM
I'd missed this. An attack by a male has now been discounted (http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2008070300_41_653052__Occidente-osezna-Villarina-hirio-caida-segun-cuidadores-Cabarceno) due to lack of scratches and bites, the cub's injuries being thought to be more consistent with a fall/rockfall. She's still in a stable condition in Cabárceno.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 10, 2008, 07:30 AM
Figures were made public yesterday for the 2007 Cantabrian bear census. (http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2008070900_42_655003__Asturias-Aumenta-numero-osas-crias-cornisa-cantabrica)
The latest figures for female Cantabrian brown bears with cubs of the year (COY’s) have just been released giving 21 for 2007. This number has tripled since 1989. The 21 females have 39 cubs between them, growth being more obvious in the western population with 18 females having 34 cubs while in the east, 5 cubs were born to 3 females.  Litter-size average has also increased, now standing at 2 cubs per female in the west and 1.8 in the east. According to José Félix García Gaona, the head of the Asturian Countryside and Biodiversity governmental department, these figures call for moderate optimism and he stresses the importance of the continued collaboration of the separate autonomous communities involved in the Plan for the Recuperation of the Cantabrian brown bear. Representing the Cantabrian government, Antonio Lucio said that the eastern population is still fragile although the presence of bears in out of the ordinary areas (such as the valleys of Liébana) is a clear indicator that the population’s decline has been stopped. The president of the Fundación Oso Pardo, Guillermo Palomero, urges caution however because even though the census is the highest for two decades, the Cantabrian brown bear is still a species threatened with extinction yet to overcome obstacles such as poisoning, traps and infant mortality.
The fact that numbers have tripled sounds great until you see that the eastern population's females with cubs have risen from one to the grand sum of three. Still, they seem to be making a slow recovery.
There's a mathematical method of working out a general population from females with cubs of the year. Add the numbers of these females over a consecutive three-year period and multiply by something. I'll let you know if I find it  :booklook: (It's never exact though and, I think, most experts also look at DNA sampling from faeces and hairs to reach conclusions.)

The cub is also making a slow recovery. She can now almost walk straight though favours one leg over the other and the burst blood vessel in her eye is improving giving her 20% vision on that side. It's two weeks today since she was found - this will be interesting. I read somewhere that a six-month old cub managed to survive in the wild, (Grizzly I think) but that it may be possible to track her and make sure she's fed. I don't think her mother will have forgotten her though.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 12, 2008, 10:46 AM
(http://fapas.es/images/logo_masosos-co2.jpg) (http://www.masososmenosco2.com/)

Fapas have started a new campaign with the slogan Más osos menos CO2 (More bears - co2) to give business companies 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.
Here are some of my suggestions (providing they could find enough land for planting  :technodevil:)

Felguera Melt (http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2008061800_37_647846__Nalon-Tribuna-Felguera-Melt-absuelta)

Solvay (http://www.cantabriaconfidencial.com/actualidad/2008/junio08/21/27.htm)

Sniace (http://www.ecologistasenaccion.org/spip.php?article9022)

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on July 12, 2008, 10:49 AM
Well done Lisa, I think I could probably add more here in Catalonia with no problams at all!


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 12, 2008, 14:14 PM
I was thinking just this area but I suppose there's no reason why any Spanish company couldn't do this.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 17, 2008, 13:14 PM
It's now been three weeks since the Asturian bear cub was found. I've added a poll to get an idea of your thoughts on the possibilities of reintroducing her back into the mountains of Asturias, only in the event of a full recovery from her injuries. Bearing in mind, rehab. programmes in other countries such as Canada (http://www.animalrescueblog.org/2008/07/canadian-forest.html) and Russia (http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw/general/default.aspx?oid=9056) but not taking into account the possible lack of will of local government to finance such a project. Just whether you all think a reintroduction would work or not. Please let me know if you'd like more options.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 20, 2008, 20:32 PM
I'm sure more than three people could take an educated stab at the poll at the top  :banghead: I'll let you know soon why I've done it  >:D
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on July 21, 2008, 12:13 PM
Wrists duly slapped, Lisa!

Truth to tell I'm not only a bit an anti-polster but also the world's most useless Internet grazer, as I came to this post direct from a mail notification I didn't see the poll at the header and was wondering where it was!  :speechless:

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 23, 2008, 15:27 PM
Thanks Simon  :)

This morning's news from eldiariomontanes.es; (http://www.eldiariomontanes.es/20080723/cantabria/sucesos/encuentran-vega-liebana-esqueleto-20080723.html)
The remains of a young bear were found late on Monday in the Riofrío, an area of high pasture below the highest peak, Peña Prieta, in the Cantabrian mountain chain. Estimated to be some weeks old, the skeleton was discovered by a member of the Fundación Oso Pardo (Brown Bear Foundation) during a routine patrol. This latest discovery brings the number of bears found dead in the last decade to eleven, eight of which have been proven to have been poisoned. The remains have been taken for an autopsy.

Here's the chain of events so far;

March 1998: A young female in Cangas del Narcea (Asturias).

May 2000: A young male in Cervantes (Lugo).

June 2000: An adult male in Degaña (Asturias).

June 2001: An adult female in Triollo (Palencia).

September 2005: A young male in Cervera de Pisuerga (Palencia).

September 2005: An adult male in Polentinos (Palencia).

November 2005: An adult male in Somiedo (Asturias).

May 2006: An adult male in Vega de Espinadera (León).

August 2007: An adult male in Polentinos (Palencia).

December 2007: A young male in Cervera de Pisuerga (Palencia).
(This is the case still under investigation of the bear found with cranial injuries).

July 2008: A young male in Vega de Liébana (Cantabria).

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Sue on July 23, 2008, 21:34 PM
Thanks for that update Lisa,
it is a shame that with the date/place list of bear remains found, that they did not put cause of death with each one, it may serve to remind that poisoning is still a major problem!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on July 23, 2008, 21:36 PM
Hi Lisa, Sue, et al,

I think the real major problem is in te attitudes expressed in the comments relating to the article!

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 24, 2008, 08:41 AM
Scary isn't it? We were given some "San Glorio No!" stickers but were advised not to put them on our car  >:(

Here's this list from agroinformacion.com; (http://www.agroinformacion.com/leer-noticia.aspx?not=57884&canal=medio%20ambiente)

March, 1998. Cangas del Narcea (Asturias). Young female poisoned by Carbofuran. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbofuran)

May, 2000. Cervantes (Lugo). Young male poisoned by Carbofuran.

June, 2000. Degaña (Asturias). Adult male poisoned by Carbofuran.

June, 2001. Triollo (Montaña Palentina, Palencia). Adult female poisoned by Aldicarb. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldicarb)

September, 2005. Cervera de Pisuerga (Montaña Palentina, Palencia). Young male poisoned by Aldicarb.

September, 2005. Polentinos (Montaña Palentina, Palencia). Old male shot (de postas = pellets?/air rifle??).

November, 2005. Somiedo (Asturias). Bear (male?) poisoned by Strychnine. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strychnine)

May, 2006. Vega de Espinadera (Ancares de León, León). Adult male shot (bullets).

August, 2007. Polentinos. Old male poisoned by Carbofuran.

December, 2007. Cervera de Pisuerga (Montaña Palentina, Palencia). Young bear (male?) dead from internal bleeding caused by a blow to the front of the head. (Case still under investigation).

July, 2008. Vega de Liébana (Cantabria) Skeleton found first thought to be a young bear, now found to be a canine.

....which was compiled by La Plataforma para la Defensa de la Cordillera Cantábrica, who are persuing the case of the bear found dead with head injuries in December 2007. (I was wrong with the previous dates so I'll change it). Here's a full report from lne.es; (http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2008063000_42_652054__Asturias-Osos-muertes-castigo)

"La muerte del oso pardo en la cordillera Cantábrica no tiene castigo. En los últimos años han sido varios, hasta una decena, los ejemplares que han aparecido sin vida como consecuencia de disparos o por la acción de venenos, pero ninguna de estas muertes ha llevado aparejada una sanción para los responsables. La lista de fallecimientos es larga, y en algunos casos, las muertes han obedecido a causas naturales. En otros, no. La Plataforma para la Defensa de la Cordillera Cantábrica lleva un listado de los osos que han perecido en los últimos diez años, y la mayor parte falleció por causas relacionadas directamente con los humanos.
Los envenenamientos son la causa de mortandad más común. Así, en el año 2000 se encontró en Lugo a un macho joven envenenado con arbofurano; en junio de 2000 se repitió el caso en Degaña, con el fallecimiento de un macho adulto; en junio de 2001 apareció muerta una hembra adulta en Triollo, Palencia, envenenada con aldicarb, mientras que en septiembre de 2005 se detectó el caso de un oso joven en Cervera de Pisuerga, envenenado con el mismo producto. También en 2005 se registró un caso de envenenamiento en Somiedo. El caso más reciente tuvo lugar en agosto de 2007, con la aparición de un oso adulto envenenado también en Cervera de Pisuerga (Palencia).

Tanto el carbofurano como el aldicarb son utilizados como plaguicidas de manera habitual, y se han convertido en los venenos más frecuentes en la Cordillera. La legislación restringe su comercialización y regula de forma estricta su aplicación al estar incluidos en la categoría de muy tóxicos, pero se siguen utilizando.
A estos casos por envenenamiento hay que sumar la muerte por disparos de otros dos osos: uno en septiembre de 2005 en Polentinos (Palencia) y otro en mayo de 2006 en Burbia (León). En diciembre de 2007 apareció otro oso muerto en Resoba, en Palencia, por causas que aún no han sido determinadas.

En total, una decena de casos en los que no se han depurado responsabilidades, aún cuando el oso es una especie en peligro de extinción que se ha convertido en los últimos años en un símbolo de la lucha por la conservación y la lucha contra el furtivismo.

Javier Naves, biólogo de la Universidad de Oviedo y colaborador de la Plataforma para la Defensa de la Cordillera Cantábrica, explica que la mayor parte de los casos se archivan de manera provisional, hasta que al cabo del tiempo acaban por prescribir. Y las muertes de estos animales, tal y como sostienen los expertos, son más importantes que los nacimientos para la conservación de la especie. Porque, además de los casos conocidos, se producen otros fallecimientos «probables». La ecuación es sencilla: si cada osa fértil pare una media de dos crías, en la Cordillera debería haber muchos más de los 150 osos contabilizados en la actualidad. Muchos han muerto, y muchos casos no han llegado siquiera a conocerse, según indica Naves.

Las muertes que se han conocido y no se han aclarado destilan cierto aire de «impunidad», tal y como denuncia la Plataforma. Habría que remontarse a hace 20 años para dar cuenta de una sanción por la muerte de un oso pardo en Asturias, con un par de casos de Villaux (Somiedo) y Cangas del Narcea. En ambos se impusieron multas a los furtivos responsables de la muerte de estos animales.

Hasta hace poco los grupos conservacionistas no se personaban en los procesos judiciales abiertos por la muerte de los osos, lo que ha comenzado a cambiar. El último caso ha tenido lugar en Palencia, donde se investigan las muertes de dos osos el año pasado. El Juzgado de instrucción número 1 de Cervera de Pisuerga ha reabierto el caso del último oso aparecido muerto en diciembre de 2007, y ha aceptado las diligencias pedidas por Ecologistas en Acción para recibir toda la documentación sobre el caso. Además, ha aceptado la declaración de dos testigos: el cazador que encontró la cabeza del oso muerto y la persona que la recogió.

Este es un caso excepcional que la Plataforma para la Defensa de la Cordillera Cantábrica señala como referente de lo que debería ser en el futuro el seguimiento de las muertes de osos en circunstancias sin aclarar. Por ello, el colectivo está preparando un proyecto que será remitido a la Fundación Biodiversidad para que se revisen los casos jurídicos relacionados con el furtivismo y la muerte de osos. Este plan cuenta con el apoyo de la Fiscalía de Medio Ambiente, y podría ponerse en marcha el próximo mes de septiembre.

Un paso más en un complejo proceso de recuperación de la especie en el que, desgraciadamente, las muertes siguen teniendo más peso que los nacimientos, lastrando la recuperación de una especie emblemática

The last case to be prosecuted was 20 years ago. The case of the bear from Polentinos (Dec. 2007) is still under investigation. The Platform for the Defense of the Cantabrian Mountains are compiling a project for the future proceedings of investigations (amazing isn't it that there's nothing now?) which should be finished this September. Javier Naves reckons that there are more deaths not even discovered.......
And I should add that if this last case looks at all suspicious, ie. unnatural causes, then the case will be investigated thoroughly.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lucy on July 24, 2008, 09:55 AM
Those comments under the article remind me of Cascos, (that minister under Aznar who liked to fill his house with stuffed Capercaillies), except he used the word ecolojetas.  He particularly didn’t like the opposition to his projects to ”develop” the Lagos de Covadonga.

I’m thinking of which option to vote for.  It’s such a rough life out there for a bear that if there is any doubt about the injured cub’s survival, the life of Paca and Tola would be a tempting option.  But if the species is to recover in Spain she needs to be set free.  Would her mother take her back? 

The Russian rehab programme looks wonderful.  Is there enough wilderness in Spain to do the same?  Will attitudes change here in the next generation?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 25, 2008, 07:46 AM
Hi Lucy, I don't know if her mother would accept her back or not now that a month has passed but the question really just is whether or not you think a reintroduction physically possible. The question of whether Spain has the wilderness for a viable bear population has been foxing me too. Hard to quantify isn't it, what with human infrastructure fragmenting it? But I suppose the conservationists think there is or they wouldn't be bothering to try and help their numbers recover. As to attitudes, well, they'll have to change or we're all doomed  >:(

Latest news is that the remains found this week are not of a bear but a canine! (http://www.diariodeleon.es/inicio/noticia.jsp?CAT=113&TEXTO=100000044358)

"El esqueleto de un animal encontrado el lunes pasado en los montes de Vega de Liébana no era de un oso pardo cantábrico, como en un principio se había creído, sino de un cánido, según ha informado hoy el Gobierno de Cantabria.

Los restos fueron recogidos en el paraje conocido como los Puertos de Riofrío por personal del Gobierno cántabro, la Junta de Castilla y León, el Servicio de Protección de la Naturaleza (Seprona) de la Guardia Civil y la Fundación Oso Pardo

(Don't ask them to change a lightbulb  ::))

Aunque inicialmente se atribuyeron a un ejemplar de oso pardo, el estado y dispersión de los huesos suscitó algunas dudas sobre la especie a la que correspondía el hallazgo.

La Dirección General de Biodiversidad del Gobierno de Cantabria ha realizado hoy un análisis macroscópico de los restos en presencia del Seprona y ha descartado que se trate de un oso.

No obstante, ha decidido remitirlos al laboratorio especializado del Instituto de Investigación en Recursos Cinegéticos de la Universidad de Castilla-La Mancha, para que concrete a qué especie de cánido pertenece y cuál fue la causa de su muerte.

Entre otros análisis, se encargará al Instituto que realice un informe toxicológico (en los últimos meses, las organizaciones ecologistas han denunciando el uso ilegal de venenos en el Parque Nacional de los Picos de Europa y su entorno).

Tests have shown the remains to be of canine origen. They're being taken for lab. tests in Castilla La Mancha to ascertain which canine species and toxicological tests have also been asked for.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 27, 2008, 10:04 AM
The bear cub has now taken a step nearer to home and has been moved to the brand new  Capercaillie breeding centre in Sobrescobio in Asturias. (http://www.europapress.es/cantabria/canabria-sostenible-00437/noticia-asturias-traslada-cabarceno-sobrescobio-osezna-recogida-junio-somiedo-20080725180331.html) I don't think they even have any birds in there yet but could be wrong. The experts say she'll have less human contact there as she's recuperating well and they do hope to reintroduce her into the wild.
I'll come clean now as to why I posted the poll. I've been discussing the matter on foropicos (http://www.foropicos.net/foro/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=17431) where other forum members reckoned it wouldn't be possible. Lack of self-confidence, I suppose, made me feel I needed some back-up on this mainly because I don't know who I'm "talking" to. Thanks to those who voted  8)
Although only five, it's enough to make me feel supported! I'll lock the voting now.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 08, 2008, 08:33 AM
Good afternoon morning Simon  :) I think a new topic for bears in the Pyrenees is a great idea and thanks for the geographical info. As the following shows, Spain is a very large country and there's nothing like a little local knowledge for putting people in the picture............

http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=1791.msg15026#msg15026 (NEW TOPIC AS REQUESTED, LISA, ED:)

I've just written a piece for the Olive Press (http://www.theolivepress.es/PDF/51.pdf) about the work of Fapas and the Fundación Oso Pardo. Bearing in mind that the north of Spain is a very long way from Andalucia, I wrote a short geographical explanation of the Cantabrian mountains to orientate the readership. I will try harder if they ever ask me for any more. Here is their first paragraph;

"HUNTED almost to extinction,
brown bears in Spain are now
confined to two small, isolated
populations in the mountains
of Cantabria in northern Spain.
In the Pyrenees only two native
(male) bears remain, so French
and Spanish authorities are
now increasing their number
with the introduction of European
brown bears (Ursus actos
arctos) from Slovenia.
This has left Cantabria as
Spain’s last true bastion of ursines.

And here's mine;

Hunted almost to extinction, brown bears in Spain are now confined to two small populations in the Cantabrian mountains in the north of the country. In the Pyrenees only two native (male) bears remain so the French and Spanish authorities are now increasing their number with introductions of European brown bears from Slovenia, leaving the two Cantabrian mountain populations as the last truly Iberian bears.

Never mind, my original words will soon (read, sometime this year) be appearing in full on a new website. At least they liked my suggested title  >:D
And  :sign: got a plug.
I wonder if a kind person down there could brave the heat to pop down to the shops and get me a copy?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on August 08, 2008, 09:57 AM
Hi Lucy, Lisa et al,

Don't talk to me about editors and their 'helpful input' :banghead:  :banghead:  :banghead:

Seriously, it is not only frustrating when someone bodges your work, especially if facts are at stake. It's actually quite serious as your name get dragged through the mud (or even into court >:D).

Your article is very informative and the photo's are excellent.

Still, it's still great to see your name in actual print - I suggest you hound them for at least two complementary copies!


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on August 08, 2008, 10:33 AM
Enjoyed that Lisa and thanks for the plug

You made the importance of bee pollination very clear to me. Here's what she says everybody:

For the trees to provide fruit, however, they need to be pollinated. This is where Fapas’ Colmenas y Osos (Beehives and Bears) comes in.
Bees have been disappearing on a global scale (see pages 16 and 17), and the mountains of Cantabria are sadly no exception.
Research has shown the importance of bee pollination in a bear’s habitat and Fapas has been buying or renting land in prime ursine territory for the installation of beehives. Some are left unprotected so the bears can access the honey, while others are protected by traditional stone structures known locally as cortinas.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 12, 2008, 11:13 AM
From IberiaNature blog; (http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/2008/08/connecting-cantabrian-brown-bears/)

The Fundación Oso Pardo has nearly finished a study to find a communication corridor for the two, at present, separated bear populations. The study has identified problem areas and will propose at least four possible crossing points. It won’t be easy however as the zone to be used, through the Huerna Valley and over the Pajares mountain pass, is criss-crossed by roads and railways, including a dual carriageway and high-speed train linking Asturias with the Spanish central plains, which will have to be bridged. Also in the way are the odd ski resort or two. Deforestation is proving to be another stumbling block in the bears’ passage so they will also be recommending the replanting of trees to provide cover for the animals during their crossing. The study will be handed to the regional governments of Asturias and Castilla and León later this year.

Why environmental impact studies didn't include this at the time of construction of the roads, I don't know.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 17, 2008, 18:11 PM
Looks like the cub will be released next month (http://www.elcomerciodigital.com/gijon/20080815/asturias/principado-preve-soltar-septiembre-20080815.html) after having christened the centre for the reintroduction of Capercaillie in Sobrescobio, Asturias.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 23, 2008, 08:34 AM
From the blog; (http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/2008/08/bear-caught-in-snare/)


A team of specialists was mustered on Wednesday to track a bear that had been caught in a snare trap in the Páramo del Síl, Bierzo area of León. The bear had managed to detach the wire snare from a tree where it had been illegally laid but escaped with it still around its middle. The regional governments of Castilla and León, Asturias and Cantabria are collaborating with experts from the Fundación Oso Pardo, the Cabárceno wildlife park and the University of León to try to anaesthetise the injured animal and treat its abdominal wounds although their efforts are being hampered by problems in getting close enough to succesfully dart the bear. The dark colouring of its fur leads the experts to believe the bear to be a male, and definitely young. It has been observed feeding but the team are concerned that the wounds could become infected. The digiscoped image of the bear shows how the snare is embedded around its abdomen, in the area of its kidneys, and highlights the thin state of the animal, who has been suffering now for a week since it was first spotted. The fine for causing the death of a bear ranges from €200,000 - €2,000,000.

They say they're worried about disturbing the bear by getting too close. I would have thought that's the least of its problems.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on August 26, 2008, 12:45 PM
Any update?
Re. your
They say they're worried about disturbing the bear by getting too close. I would have thought that's the least of its problems.
Unbelievable! The way that wire is constricting what must be vital organs and/or chaffing the skin to produce life-threatening infections.

As for the sharpshooters... I know that in the old days dart guns were limited by their range, but surely in this day and age... Maybe Charles or Arvak can give us the lowdown (Sp. anyone?) on that?

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 26, 2008, 22:43 PM
Apparently they had another failed attempt today. (http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2008/08/26/ciencia/1219763841.html) It must be nerve-wracking for them, knowing how it must be suffering, but they reckon the way he was feeding that he's pretty tough.....
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lucy on August 28, 2008, 08:39 AM
El Periodico reports that in Vall d’Aran, the north-west corner of Catalunya, people are beginning to adapt to living with bears.  The number of sheep killed by bears has been cut drastically (10 compared to 18 last year) by the simple solution of grouping herds together and hiring a shepherd to look after them.  The 10 dead sheep belong to herders who haven’t joined the new scheme.
The next problem on the agenda is how to protect bee hives.


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 28, 2008, 18:09 PM
I hope they sort out an efficient payment method for damages. Fapas are blaming the setting of snares on the slowness of CyL in paying bee keepers for damages by bears to hives. (http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2008/08/27/ciencia/1219834913.html)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 30, 2008, 07:57 AM
While Guillermo Palomero of the Fundación Oso Pardo thinks the snares are more likely to be set for Wild boar and Roe deer (http://www.rtve.es/noticias/20080828/fundacion-oso-pardo-denuncia-que-retirado-153-lazos-trampa-este-ano/145876.shtml) by farmers trying to protect their crops or to bag a trophy. So far this year the Fundación has removed 153 traps in the western part of the Cordillera Cantábrica alone.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on September 08, 2008, 08:33 AM
The Fundación Oso Pardo project (mentioned earlier on this page) to connect the two Cantabrian bear populations is to receive the financial backing they were hoping for from the EU's LIFE+ programme - 1.1 million euros. Here's the best map I've found from elmundo.es (http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2008/09/07/castillayleon/1220776481.html)

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on September 08, 2008, 08:35 AM
I forgot to say that all the latest figures are sticking with 130 individuals and that there's still no news on the injured bear.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on September 23, 2008, 14:49 PM
Just an update on the cub. (http://www.elcomerciodigital.com/aviles/20080923/asturias/expertos-estudian-osezna-herida-20080923.html) Experts are meeting today to decide her future. Fapas have come up with a brilliant idea  :lighttbulb: of releasing her into the eastern population. Only problem there, apart from the political ramifications, is the amount of poison still being left around in that part of the mountains so I should think they'll face some opposition to that brainwave.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on September 24, 2008, 06:19 AM
The experts have recommended the cub be released in Somiedo although the final decision will be made by the Asturian environmental department. (http://www.europapress.es/asturias/noticia-expertos-recomiendan-principado-intente-reintroducir-osezna-villarina-parque-somiedo-20080923210330.html)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on September 27, 2008, 08:04 AM
The Fundación Oso Pardo and Seprona have apprehended another person in the act of checking his snares. (http://www.lne.es/secciones/noticia.jsp?pRef=2008092600_42_679207__Asturias-Denunciado-furtivo-colocar-lazos-acero-monte-Ibias) They found a total of 17, not far from where the young bear with the trap caught around his abdomen is still suffering, if not dead already.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on October 02, 2008, 14:29 PM
The Aranese authorities have captured some excellent images of the bear Hvala with her 19-month old cub. It is unsual for a “cub” (no longer so small) to stay with its mother for so long.

See story and video here at El País

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on October 28, 2008, 19:31 PM
Bad news. Young bear run over and killed in Leon


Just read it. Will do a summary later
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on October 28, 2008, 22:08 PM
Here's the story as it stands:


A young brown bear has been run over and killed in Leon in El Bierzo. This is the first confirmed case of bear being killed by a vehicle (a lorry) in Spain. The incident took place along the A16 dual carriageway (autovia). Experts from the Fundación Oso Pardo (FOP) are trying to find where the bear entered the autovia as it is fenced. According to the Fundación Oso Pardo, although bears are not common in El Bierzo, it an area of dispersion from the nearby Alto Sil which supports a small but rising breeding population of brown bears. This bear formed part of the much smaller eastern population of Cantabrian bears with at most 30 individuals and so the loss of one is of some concern.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on October 29, 2008, 07:54 AM
Terrible news. If the bears continue their, very slow, expansion I wonder if this kind of news will become more common. One thing Nick, this young male is probably from the Alto Sil in the west. The accident took place near the borders of León with Asturias and Galicia. (http://maps.google.es/maps?hl=es&tab=wl&q=trabadelo%20le%C3%B3n) It's looks likely that he was heading from León towards Galicia.
Perhaps FOP should be looking at facilitating more crossings on the A6 as well as the AP-66. I'm going to a talk given by Guillermo Palomero this morning.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on November 03, 2008, 17:46 PM
The Fundación Oso Pardo (http://www.fundacionosopardo.org/) have officially launched their latest book, "Osas. El comportamiento de las osas y sus crias en la Cordillera Cantábrica". The book is accompanied by an amazing dvd of bear cubs playing and, more darkly, the natural practice of infanticide. Contact Fop or the Fundación Biodiversidad (http://www.fundacion-biodiversidad.es/fbiodiversidadweb/webdinamica/noticias/detalle.do?idNoticia=408) (who financed the project) for your free copy!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on November 14, 2008, 08:00 AM
The bear cub was released back into the wild on Tuesday. 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 (http://fapas.es/notifapas/hoy/2008/20081112_villarina_equipo.htm) are hopeful that she'll be accepted back into the family! My money's with them. They recount the story of bear cubs orphaned in the Pyrenees and later adopted by another female bear. She's been tagged (probably on her ear) and is carrying two radio-transmitters which they say will be lost when she moults next spring. Good luck Villarina!



While I'm at it and thinking about radio-transmitters/collars, I find it unbelievable that technology hasn't reached the stage where a microchip hasn't yet been developed to track an animal's movements. Although it doesn't look as if this cub is wearing a dirty great collar. Does anyone know exactly what this device may be that sheds with her coat?
I'm also reminded to post this sad reflection by Francisco (Pancho) Purroy on the 20th anniversary of the killing of El Rubio. It was originally published in the Diario de León but has mysteriously disappeared. Luckily, Fapas (http://fapas.es/notifapas/2008/20081109_rubio.htm) had copied it;


  SE CUMPLEN veinte años de la muerte de El Rubio , oso derribado a postazos por Lorenzo Fernández en el monte de Brañosera (Palencia), aunque según el protagonista, en defensa propia.

Recuerdo la penosa escena del cadáver del plantígrado arrojado al vertedero del pueblo, rodeado de basuras y somieres desvencijados. Las pasé canutas para cargarlo en el Land Rover y traerlo a León para la autopsia. El cráneo y la piel del oso estaban en la nevera de un cazador del pueblo, donde me sorprendió desagradablemente el orgullo con el que relataban la montería, como en el Salvaje Oeste.

Conocíamos a El Rubio por su corpulencia y vistoso pelaje, tanto por avistamientos en Riaño y Fuentes Carrionas, como, unos meses antes, cuando se peleó con Salsero , el viejo macho provisto de radioemisor que Tony Clevenger capturó y liberó en el bosque de Hormas, al luchar la pareja de galanes por copular con una osa rojiza en el valle del Naranco (Llánaves de la Reina).

A pesar de la intencionalidad de los disparos, el matador de El Rubio fue absuelto, pero el caso sirvió de experiencia para endurecer los delitos contra especies amenazadas que, entonces, solo se consideraban infracciones de caza. Hoy, con la figura del delito ecológico, un hecho similar terminaría con el protagonista en la cárcel. Parece que el montero que espera en puesto al jabalí no aprende la actitud ante la entrada de un oso, consistente en vocearle y apartarse, sobre todo si estás en una ruta de huída obligada.

El atropello de un cazador en el valle de Arán, por la osa Hvala , liberada desde Eslovenia en los Pirineos, saldado con unos rasponazos de zarpas en pantorrilla y brazo, ha desatado la histeria. El síndico del valle aranés solicita a la Generalitat el abatimiento de la fiera y de todos sus congéneres, aseguran que por su peligrosidad hacia los vecinos. Una treintena de personas han sido mordidas allí este año por perros y se han producido varios heridos en accidentes de caza. No importa, el cabronazo es el pobre oso."

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on November 14, 2008, 08:16 AM
Nice post. Lisa.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: tonyninfas on November 14, 2008, 08:44 AM
Fantastic news.
Let's hope that all goes well and that shie is re-united with her family without problems.  :clapping:
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on November 16, 2008, 06:45 AM
Here's her release on video. (http://es.noticias.yahoo.com/9/20081112/video/vsc-la-osezna-hallada-herida-hace-cinco-4cd4a39.html) She's definitely not short of fat reserves for the coming winter.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on December 01, 2008, 12:47 PM

Fapas (http://www.fapas.es/notifapas/hoy/2008/20081128_villarina_vigilancia.htm) have revealed information on how Villarina is being tracked. Her movements are being monitored for 12 hours every day, via the two transmitters she's carrying, by a member of the regional government's environment wardens accompanied by a member of either Fapas or Fop. She's healthy and behaving normally.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on December 10, 2008, 07:51 AM
Hot off the quayside at Santoña, an Iberianature "exclusive" - Following "Osas", another new book on the Cantabrian bear is about to be published by FOP. Titled "El Oso Cantábrico", the book will be illustrated with images taken by a Scandinavian photographer of bears in the wild.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on December 14, 2008, 10:54 AM
Exciting news from Liébana (http://www.eldiariomontanes.es/20081214/cantabria/bruces-20081214.html) today, a bear was in the village of Caloca yesterday. In broad daylight! The village is one of the highest in the valleys of Liébana, on the eastern flanks of the Picos de Europa. The witnesses include a neighbour who went out of his door to feed his goats and was stunned by seeing a bear two metres from him. The bear didn't see him and continued on its way. The other witness was the fish delivery man who saw the bear on the road just below the village. Although the villagers have been watching a female and her cub during the week, they reckon this was a male. There was a boar hunt going on at the time.

Look after the bears for me everyone, I'm off over the Bay of Biscay tomorrow.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on December 16, 2008, 09:41 AM
That's a great post Lisa, as ever! It sounds like there's room for a bit of 'cultural exchange' between the neighbours of  the valleys of Liébana and the Val d'Aran!

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on February 27, 2009, 11:01 AM
The case of the dead bear with cranial injuries found by hunters last December has been closed, no suspicious circumstances having been found.
From nortecastilla.es (http://www.nortecastilla.es/20090227/palencia/archivadas-diligencias-muerte-pardo-20090227.html)
The other case of the poisoned bear found last August is still being investigated. (See page 10 of this topic).
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on February 27, 2009, 11:31 AM
And I really should mention (as Nick reminded me yesterday) the news that geneticists from Oviedo university have proven that, over the last two years, four male bears have moved from one population to the other; three from the west to the east and one from the east to the west. But have they intermingled?  :)
From El Pais. (http://www.elpais.com/articulo/sociedad/poblaciones/osos/buscan/elpepisoc/20090226elpepisoc_5/Tes)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Technopat on March 02, 2009, 12:20 PM
Greetings Lisa,
Thanks for that upbeat  :dancing:
Mother-Nature-rules-OK regs.,

If those corridors the article mentions are anything like the ones at my co-ed college residence, Spain's future bear population stands at least a statistical chance of increasing  :angel:
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on April 01, 2009, 17:27 PM
Hot off the quayside at Santoña, an Iberianature "exclusive" - Following "Osas", another new book on the Cantabrian bear is about to be published by FOP. Titled "El Oso Cantábrico", the book will be illustrated with images taken by a Scandinavian photographer of bears in the wild.

"El Oso Cantábrico" is published by the Fundación Oso Pardo and the Obra Social Caja Madrid. The photographer is actually Spanish (?!), Andoni Canela, and there's a digital version (http://www.obrasocialcajamadrid.es/Ficheros/CMA/ficheros/OSMedio_OsoPardo1.PDF) online. The book is available to buy from Oryx bookshop (http://www.weboryx.com/phtml/ficha.phtml?Total=4&buspalabra=oso%20pardo&tipo=1&menu=libreria) with no postal charges. Even more, any other books bought on the same order are also postage free  8)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on April 02, 2009, 22:33 PM
Thamks for the update Lisa. Good news about the book.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on April 27, 2009, 10:37 AM
I keep forgetting to report this one, the remains of a bear were found last week near Cervera de Pisuerga, Palencia. (http://www.nortecastilla.es/20090421/local/palencia/medio-ambiente-analiza-restos-200904211816.html) The headless remains have been taken for forensic tests.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on April 28, 2009, 15:11 PM
Here's what's known, or what's being made known, so far about these remains. The bear was a young male and the remains are a few months old. Looks to have been eaten by something. Now I'll tell you, there's been a rumour going around that the young male bear that wandered through the village of Caloca (about the same time that a mother and cub were being observed on the outskirts of the same village last Xmas) is now no more and has been taken to Palencia...................
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on May 07, 2009, 20:01 PM
Seprona have found the a head in a house in the village of Herreruela de Castillería, Palencia. Apparently the guy was looking for deer horns when he found the head and kept it thinking it was from a wolf. We'll see.
http://www.soitu.es/soitu/2009/05/05/info/1241537504_416979.html (http://www.soitu.es/soitu/2009/05/05/info/1241537504_416979.html)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Bob M on May 07, 2009, 20:40 PM
All very odd.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: tonyninfas on May 08, 2009, 08:57 AM
Hmmm !!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on June 26, 2009, 15:19 PM
Fapas have managed to capture some photos of Villarina. (http://www.fapas.es/notifapas/hoy/2009/20090620_villarina.htm)

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on June 26, 2009, 18:54 PM
Thanks Lisa. Posted this up on blog.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Petrea on June 26, 2009, 19:06 PM

Found this in El Pais yesterday:

Bruselas sienta en el banquillo a España por poner en peligro al oso pardo y al urogallo

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on July 27, 2009, 13:51 PM
Latest from blog on the bears - No doubt Lisa can give us a more expert take on things, particularly as to the problems besetting eastern zone


Good news - in part. The population of brown bears in the Cantabrian Mountains continues to grow. According to the latest bear census, a total of 19 female bears raised 37 cubs last year. The census was carried out in Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León by the Fundación Oso Pardo. However, the situation in the eastern populations of bears straddling Cantabria and Castilla-León continues to be “worrying”. Of the 37 cubs raised, just three cubs were raised in this area. The rest were raised by bears in the far healthier western population. El Mundo

In demonstration of the improved situation of bears in the western area, the World Conservation Union has just reduced the classification of the bears in this area from “Critically endangered” to “Endangered”. La Nueva España
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 28, 2009, 19:10 PM
Thanks for the info Nick. I've been so busy lately, what with one thing and another, that I haven't even been keeping up to date with the bears  :o
I won't go into the problems of the eastern bear population, suffice to say that the sooner the locals (and government) value the natural wealth around them as it merits, the better.
I see the numbers are two less than the previous year, both mothers and numbers of cubs but it's not important as long as next year's numbers are up. Bears naturally (without interference from males - you know what I mean - bringing them into season again "artificially") give birth every other year. The average statistics are interesting for litter sizes, 2.02 for the western females but only 1.73 for the eastern. Apparently this can be put down to abundance of food, among other factors, and also the age of the mother - younger mothers having smaller litters. So the larger, healthier western population will necessarily have more older, sexually active females than the stricken east with its unbalanced male/female ratio.

Here's a snippet of news from ABC (http://www.abc.es/agencias/noticia.asp?noticia=61041) Palencia and Cantabria where there have been a few cases of man meets bear lately. They have the headline the wrong way round I think. It would be better "Man disturbs bear who doesn't harm him" - but that would be boring  >:D

Buscan a un oso que acosó a un vecino de Madrid en el norte de Palencia

Palencia, 25 jul (EFE).- La Fundación Oso Pardo busca indicios de la presencia de uno o varios osos pardos en las inmediaciones de la localidad palentina de Resoba, después de que en la tarde del pasado miércoles un plantígrado acosara a un hombre que se encontraba paseando por el Monte de Las Matas.

Según la información publicada hoy por Diario Palentino y recogida por Efe el hombre, residente en Madrid, abandonó el camino principal y se introdujo en una zona boscosa bastante cerrada.

Tras caminar varios minutos se encontró con un ejemplar de oso pardo que, según explicó a los miembros de la Fundación, realizó varias acometidas de intimidación, quedándose en algunos casos a unos cuatro metros de este hombre, que tuvo que subirse a un árbol hasta que el plantígrado abandonó el lugar, sin llegar a atacarle.

"Están varios compañeros recorriendo la zona para encontrar al animal y saber si es una osa con oseznos, que son las que suelen tener este tipo de actitud", ha señalado Guillermo Palomero, de la Fundación Oso Pardo.

No se trata del primer encuentro entre personas y osos en la Montaña Palentina y en su reflejo en Cantabria.

"En Palencia ya ha habido otro este año y en Cantabria dos, asociados a personas que paseaban con perros, que van sueltos, se van, enredan y vuelven donde el amo con el oso detrás de ellos", según ha afirmado el conservacionista.

La presencia de una osa con oseznos sería una buena noticia para la Fundación, "sobre todo después de los datos hechos públicos hace unos días", ha señalado Palomero.

El director general de Medio Natural de la Consejería de Medio Ambiente, José Ángel Arranz, dio a conocer el pasado martes el censo de osas con crías en la Cordillera Cantábrica correspondiente al pasado ejercicio, compuesto por diecinueve hembras y 37 oseznos.

En la población oriental (Cantabria, Montaña Palentina y Montaña oriental leonesa) se han localizado en 2008 dos osas con tres oseznos.

La localización de las osas se realiza, bien mediante observaciones directas, con ópticas de largo alcance, o mediante la localización de sus rastros. EFE 1010563
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on July 30, 2009, 21:46 PM
Nicw to see you on the forum again Lisa.

Irrespective of the potential danger posed by bears in some circumstances, the way the language on this story was couched is amazing. In the ABC


Buscan a un oso que acosó a un vecino de Madrid en el norte de Palencia

Acosar - harrass
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on July 31, 2009, 14:02 PM
I've still been around but it's true, the bears have been taking a back seat from a certain website and 3 mucky puppies  :P
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on July 31, 2009, 18:07 PM
Mónica has added this to naturaiberica on "bear watching" en el pireneo.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 01, 2009, 07:48 AM
Well done Monica. I wonder how long it will take for certain large carnivores to be seen in a positive light instead of competition to be wiped out. (I wouldn't call the bears in Abruzzo abundant though). One of the best examples in Spain is Somiedo's use of the bears in their PR.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Mònica on August 01, 2009, 10:50 AM
Thanks Lisa,

Sorry, I forgot to talk about Somiedo that was also mentioned in the study I read.  :banghead:
I friend of mine went to Romania last year and he took photos from cubs at a quite short distance. In the Pyrenees I think it will take as long as Barcelona's Sagrada Familia for that photo to be taken...
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on August 16, 2009, 17:15 PM
Wonderful news from the biologists at Oviedo University; they now have positive DNA tested proof that two young bears are the progeny of a female bear from the east ("our Ursula" by the sounds of it) and a male from the west. Two hair/faeces samples taken in Redes Natural Park (Asturias) in November last year gave this result which has shown to be from two individuals, also siblings. One sample was also shown to be a male, the other either they didn't test for sex (unlikely) or the results were not clear enough (probable), I'm not clear on that part. Another sample taken this spring in the Picos de Europa National Park has confirmed the analysis.
I think they're probably both males as that seems an awful long way for a philopatric female to wander in dispersal. Or did she accompany her brother then return to set up her own territory near her mother's? We'll find out.
A friend-who-shall-remain-nameless told me she'd read in the newspaper that two bears have been seen together, one from the east, the other from the west, and that the male was taking the female over to his territory in Asturias  :banghead: Educashun, educashun, educashion!!
The stops should be all pulled out now to facilitate these corridors of meeting as there's now hope for the genetic viability of the eastern population.

 Asturias confirma la existencia de dos ejemplares de oso pardo con ADN de poblaciones oriental y occidental
    OVIEDO, 12 Ago. (EUROPA PRESS) -

  La viceconsejera de Medio Ambiente de Astruias, Belén Fernández, confirmó hoy en rueda de prensa, la existencia de dos ejemplares de oso pardo cantábrico fruto de la comunicación genética entre las poblaciones oriental y occidental.

   Esto es posible gracias a la labor realizada en el marco del Convenio de Colaboración que tiene la Consejería, desde el año 2004, con la Universidad de Oviedo, en concreto con el equipo de la Facultad de Biológicas dirigido por la doctora Ana Domínguez.

   En este contexto se realizó el análisis del ADN contenido en las muestras de pelos y heces que permitieron identificar a dos individuos híbridos -de madre oriental y padre occidental-. Se trata de dos muestras con material genético recogidas en el Parque Natural de Redes el 18 de noviembre de 2008, cuyo análisis constató la existencia de dos individuos cruzados. 

   Uno de ellos se reafirmó, por otra muestra tomada en primavera de 2009 dentro del Parque Nacional de los Picos de Europa, esta última en León. Ambos ejemplares, uno de ellos macho y el otro de sexo desconocido -ya que no se determinó en los análisis genéticos realizados- son hermanos y descendientes del macho migrante de la población occidental encontrado en la oriental, en una localidad palentina, en el año 2005, y de una hembra que ya había sido muestreada en la vertiente cántabra del Parque Nacional.

   El hallazgo de estos primeros descendientes de progenitores de ambas poblaciones confirma la existencia de comunicación genética efectiva después de que este proyecto de investigación hubiera puesto de manifiesto con anterioridad que había, al menos, cuatro migrantes de una población a otra, uno de los cuales fue posible identificarlo en distintas localidades durante su paso por ambas zonas.

   La comunicación entre poblaciones está considerada dentro del Plan de Recuperación de la especie en Asturias y de la Estrategia Nacional de conservación del oso pardo cantábrico como una de las grandes claves para la conservación de la especie a largo plazo, y viene a demostrar la efectividad de las medidas tomadas en los últimos años que se están traduciendo, además, en una consolidación del éxito reproductor de estas poblaciones, indicaron desde la consejería de Medio Ambiente, Ordenación del Territorio e Infraestructuras.

   Aunque se trata de las primeras localizaciones de ejemplares híbridos de ambas poblaciones, la importancia de este hecho hace albergar sólidas expectativas de que puedan ser encontrados otros ejemplares de características similares más adelante.

   Desde el Principado consideran la necesidad de continuar en la línea de trabajo desarrollada hasta ahora, en particular en lo que se refiere a la apuesta por la investigación, la mejora del hábitat y la adecuación de corredores seguros con el fin último de lograr la recolonización del territorio que se encuentra entre ambas poblaciones.

http://www.europapress.es/cantabria/canabria-sostenible-00437/noticia-asturias-confirma-existencia-dos-ejemplares-oso-pardo-adn-poblaciones-oriental-occidental-20090812152029.html (http://www.europapress.es/cantabria/canabria-sostenible-00437/noticia-asturias-confirma-existencia-dos-ejemplares-oso-pardo-adn-poblaciones-oriental-occidental-20090812152029.html)

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on September 18, 2009, 18:24 PM
The Fundación Oso Pardo have a spanking new website - http://www.fundacionosopardo.org:80/ (http://www.fundacionosopardo.org:80/)  :clapping: Don't miss the agility of the bear in a cherry tree video!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Dave on September 18, 2009, 18:55 PM
Hi Lisa
great web site, the video adds a whole new meaning to Cherry picker  :)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on November 22, 2009, 20:05 PM
Interesting long article on bears in El Pais contrasting the acceptance of bears in Asturias with the general oppoistion in the Pyrenees


Will do a summary on the blog if I have time, but it's well worth reading

On a slightly different note, the photo accompanying the article is bizarre. Check out the cub at the top of the photo.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Clive on November 22, 2009, 20:53 PM
That needs explaining.... Is the picture faked? Is the cub jumping/falling to it's death?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on November 24, 2009, 00:41 AM
My thoughts exactly...Is somebody at El País playing a joke?

Article still worthing reading trhough
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on November 24, 2009, 15:55 PM
That's a brilliant photo. I think it's one of FOP's. Don't forget that bears are excellent climbers and that ledge looks perfectly suitable for jumping on to. In spring/early summer the females and cubs spend their time on the high, more inaccessible ground, eating fresh shrubs and shoots while keeping out of the way of possible marauding males.

Here's something sadder from InfoBierzo (http://www.infobierzo.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2360:la-piel-del-oso-despues-de-cazarlo&catid=30:portada)
Villablino, Leon - following a tip-off the police have recovered a bear skin from an individual's home. And the obligatory Guardia Civil photo of the confiscated goods.

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on November 26, 2009, 14:00 PM
That's a brilliant photo. I think it's one of FOP's. Don't forget that bears are excellent climbers and that ledge looks perfectly suitable for jumping on to. In spring/early summer the females and cubs spend their time on the high, more inaccessible ground, eating fresh shrubs and shoots while keeping out of the way of possible marauding males.

Yes, I'm sure you're right Lisa- The angle seemed a bit odd, that's all.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on November 26, 2009, 17:40 PM
Regarding the 'jumping' image; at first sight this reminded me of a very shocking film sequence from the Asturias population of a male bear attacking and succeeding in killng at least one of its own offspring by chasing them out of the forest and hurling them off a cliff edge, all under the terrified gaze of the mother!

I'm sure you must have seem the programme, Lisa, but I can't for the life of me remember what it was! Any thoughts?

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on November 26, 2009, 21:19 PM
I hardly see any tele Simon but I have my FOP dvd of said behaviour. You (or the bear) sure it was its own offspring  :noidea:
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Simon on November 27, 2009, 07:53 AM
I guess that's the one. I think the story was that when the female came in season (if that's the right term?) the male 'suitor' was mortally dangerous to any other (male?) bears, including cubs. I also recall the episode taking place in spring after hibernation and I'm sure the point was made that the suitor was the cubs' sire. It really was quite horrific footage, with the male literally dashing the cubs down onto the rocks below. Perhaps the film made too much of the incident dramawise, although it would be difficult to play it down!

I don't watch much telly either :angel:, that's why I don't remember the title or series, but I'm sure that if this is the DVD you have then we must be talking about the same production.


Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on December 05, 2009, 18:10 PM
Some good news for a change from Palencia, a "new" breeding female has been discovered. With 2 cubs  :)
http://www.thepicosdeeuropa.com/picos-de-europa-mammals/bears/79-gifts-from-the-east.html (http://www.thepicosdeeuropa.com/picos-de-europa-mammals/bears/79-gifts-from-the-east.html)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 08, 2010, 16:53 PM
I've just written up Villarina's story (http://www.thepicosdeeuropa.com/picos-de-europa-mammals/bears/82-villarina.html) inspired by Fapas' latest video of her, a couple of frisky foxes and "El lobo"  :santa_afro:
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: parthenope on January 08, 2010, 19:16 PM
What a great story Lisa, :clapping:

Do you know how they took care of the blood clot?


Oops, sorry, should have read the back story a bit more, have found my answer on page 10!
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on April 12, 2010, 13:41 PM
The latest bear news (http://www.thepicosdeeuropa.com/picos-de-europa-mammals/bears/103-good-and-bad-news.html) from the Cordillera Cantábrica. A possible case of poisoning, provisional numbers of females with cubs for 2009 and incursions into Galicia.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on April 09, 2011, 14:37 PM
Injured bear found in the Asturian mountains this week http://www.thepicosdeeuropa.com/wildlife/bears/73-wounded-bear-found-in-asturias.html (http://www.thepicosdeeuropa.com/wildlife/bears/73-wounded-bear-found-in-asturias.html)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on September 27, 2011, 11:15 AM
Asturian bears mating in late August!
http://www.thepicosdeeuropa.com/wildlife/bears/85-an-atypical-season.html (http://www.thepicosdeeuropa.com/wildlife/bears/85-an-atypical-season.html)

P.S. Nick or Clive, any idea how to delete the poll in this board now?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: nick on September 29, 2011, 21:02 PM
mmm...can't work how to do it. Thanks for the news. Will link to it
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: davejsy on May 05, 2012, 21:15 PM
Any upto date reports on the bears? I've enjoyed reading this informative thread.  :)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on May 08, 2012, 11:36 AM
No news is good news Dave  :) Apart from a lone cub found on a road in Somiedo, somehow separated from her mother. The poor thing is now being looked after in a wildlife rehabilitation centre in Burgos with a view to being released when she's big enough.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: davejsy on May 08, 2012, 21:58 PM
Ah poor little one, I hope things work out.

I look forward to no news soon then in that case!  :)

It looks and sounds like an amazing part of the world down there, and I'm hoping to come down there in the autumn for a week or so. . .
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: davejsy on May 17, 2012, 21:07 PM
Hi Lisa, my Spanish isn't great. Are there any English sights that are good for up to date information on these bears? I'm struggling to find anything and the FAPAS sight when translated to English doesn't seem to have any upto date information?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: davejsy on July 19, 2012, 23:09 PM

 Is anyone able to give a brief translation of what the above is about?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Dave on July 20, 2012, 13:54 PM
With the publication in the DOG that starts the processing and resolution is subject to the public participation to the proposal of the decree which revise the plan of recovery of the brown bear in Galicia, for a period of one month, individuals and associations will contribute with their aportacións to the elaboration of this conservation plan.

The scope of the plan extends for a total of 64.820 hrs, including partially councils of Cervantes, Navia de Suarna, Negueira de Muñiz, Pedrafita do Cebreiro, Folgoso do Courel, Quiroga, Triacastela and Samos.

The aim of this initiative of the Department that runs Agustín Hernández is the preservation and consolidation of the population of Grizzly in Galicia to be a viable player heart and get the recolonization of the potential areas. For this purpose, a series of measures for action focused in avoid non-natural mortality of the species, ensure its genetic purity, implement measures for the improvement and conservation of its habitat, ensure the necessary tranquility to the development of its life cycle and promote connectivity with populations une of León and Asturias are established. In addition, is intended to reduce the conflict the more continued presence of the species may cause, developing measures for damage.

Also proposed a series of measures for the monitoring and investigation of the species, and actions of information, environmental education and social participation, that the conservation of the species will move to the local population.

Finally, the conservation of the brown bear is intended that view as an opportunity for development of rural communities , where the species is found; This plan aims to the bear may become a natural quality mark and to provide incentive for the socio-economic development of the territory included in the scope of the recovery plan.

Three differentiated areas

The review of the recovery plan redefines its scope, contemplating it and differentiating three types of areas:

    Areas of presence: located in Serra two Ancares, with an area of 29.222 Ha; they are those that counted with the presence of the species in recent years more or less permanently and which present a favourable habitat for the Grizzly.
    The presence area includes at the same time Critical Areas, which are areas vital for the survival and recovery of the species within the area of presence, and have a surface of 5.577 has.
    Areas of potential distribution, with an area of 35.598 Ha, corresponding to areas where the brown bear appeared in recent years on an occasional basis, but which present an appropriate means so that the species can recolonize them. Four potential areas located in Negueira de Muñiz, Courel, Asilant and Ancares-Courel corridor were identified.

One of the most threatened species of the Galician fauna

The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is one of the most threatened of the Galician fauna species, being included in the category in danger of extinction, in the Galician catalogue of endangered species. National and regional legislation requires that the species listed in this category have an instrument to change this situation, resulting in the recovery plans. Galicia adopted by Decree 149/1992 of 5 June, the brown bear Recovery Plan, document that, after 20 years of validity, is reviewed now, adapting to new conditions and challenges for the conservation of the species. Plan that is reviewed at the present time marked a major turning point in the conservation of the brown bear in Galicia but many are still actions to perform if we are to achieve consolidation and increase of the population of bears in Galicia.

The brown bear is distributed in the Cantabrian mountain range by four autonomous communities, exist two populations that were practically cut off each other for half a century. On the one hand, in the eastern part (Cantabria, Palencia, León and Asturias) with a reduced and apparent stagnation in population (25-30 individuals), and another (Leon, Asturias and Galicia) West with more numerous population troops (approximately 160 individuals), which enjoys a vigorous recovery in recent years. The population of Galicia bears consists of a few specimens whose area of camping is located partially in the mountains in the eastern part of Lugo.

Not perfect but understandable I hope   :dancing:
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: davejsy on January 16, 2013, 21:16 PM
It seems there is good news on the Spanish bear front: http://www.lavozdegalicia.es/noticia/sociedad/2013/01/14/poblacion-oso-pardo-crece-recoloniza-cabecera-navia/0003_201301G14P24991.htm Is anyone able to translate, or offer any further updates?
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: naturactivo on January 24, 2013, 17:13 PM
Oso pardo in Cangas del Narcea (Asturias)
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: lisa on January 25, 2013, 13:23 PM
Hi davejsy,
as naturactivo points out, it's not all a bed of roses for the western population of bears but they do seem to be doing O.K. and spreading into Galicia. The eastern population is another matter though. Only about 25 - 30 individuals and not growing due to poor management and a lack of will on the part of the Castilian Leonese government to do anything about it.
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on March 26, 2014, 23:58 PM
Hi all

Just read about and seen the photo of a bear in La Sierra de Cabrerra!

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Clive on March 27, 2014, 00:49 AM
ummmmm Steve!

Where did you read it?

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on March 27, 2014, 21:08 PM
Hi Clive ..... you seem sceptical ....... I agree Zamora is a long way south .....

Its here


Go to Ursids

Go to Yesterday - Oso vuelve .......article

Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: steveT on March 27, 2014, 21:19 PM
If the link from the above article is broken try

La Opinion

Article - El oso vuelve a comer miel en Zamora
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Dave on March 28, 2014, 13:10 PM
Hi Clive and Steve
Yes, Saw this report recently put, Oso volver a comer miel en Zamora, and it is there
Title: Re: Oso pardo
Post by: Clive on March 28, 2014, 16:32 PM
Yep.... :)