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Bears in the Pyrenees

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Offline lisa

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« on: August 07, 2008, 17:48 PM »
This is a new thread for news etc. about bears in the Pyrenees.

A female bear and her two cubs (probably last year's)  have been observed in the western-most part of the Sierra de Cadí in the Pyrenees. Nick has the news on the blog. Not that far from Tremp, I see.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 10:35 AM by nick »
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2008, 06:03 AM »
Well I was wondering what was happening to our picnic hampers lately  :technodevil:

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

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

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

TTFN

Simon

PS Oh for a cup of tea (06.02
« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 10:36 AM by nick »

Offline lucy

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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2008, 08:17 AM »
Areas like the Cadi and Boumort, which are "pre-Pyrenees" and nearer to civilisation, are often wilder and with much less tourism than the Pyrenees themselves.  The scenery isn't as spectacular and they're not packaged in the same way.  Wolves have been seen in the Cadi in the last years too.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2008, 10:40 AM by nick »

Offline nick

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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2008, 10:58 AM »
Nick
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Offline lisa

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« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2008, 08:12 AM »
Thanks Ed  8) Let's see if we can dispel some of the confusion as to the territory of bears in Spain. First I'm copying a map from Pays de l'Ours giving an idea of where the bears are in the Pyrenees.



Anyone know any other Pyrenean bear links?

Basic info;

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

Reintroductions were recently started using European brown bears from Slovenia.

The Pyrenees currently has a bear population of around 20.
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Offline nick

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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2008, 10:22 AM »
This often has useful news too
http://ours-loup-lynx.info/

Nick
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« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2008, 08:50 AM »
Hi Guys,

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

Great to see the Pyrenees Bear post up ad running.

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

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

A nice pretty link to an external website

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

More soon I hope

Simon


Fixed the ugly link... Clive...see http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=410.0
« Last Edit: August 12, 2008, 10:27 AM by Clive »

Offline lisa

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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2008, 11:26 AM »
Here's another map I've found which shows the bear territory of both the Cantabrian mountains and the Pyrenees.
From historianatural.net.
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« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2008, 11:39 AM »
Thant's a good map, Lisa, it really gives a sense of scale and the whereabouts of the territory.

Simon

Offline lisa

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« Reply #9 on: August 17, 2008, 18:01 PM »
A minibus hit a bear (or as one report has it, a bear hit a minibus) early Friday morning on a dual carriageway part of the RN 20, Ariège, central Pyrenees. According to the driver he was doing about 80km when he spotted the bear crossing the central reservation on his left. He managed to drop his speed down to 40km (so, we'll call that 100kmph braking to 70kmph shall we  >:D) but couldn't avoid a collision. Luckily, nobody was hurt and it appears that the bear, after being stunned for a while, escaped intact. The vehicule's left headlight was broken and the bumper and radiator were damaged.The area has been sweeped within a 800m radius with no signs of the bear, although tests are being carried out on hairs and tracks studied to identify the animal concerned. It seems most likely to have been a large male named Boutxy. Basque name? Use of a radio transmitter has shown this bear to have regularly crossed this road. Conservationists say a bridge for the bears to cross the road safely is long-overdue.
I hope he's O.K.

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Offline tonyninfas

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« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2008, 19:23 PM »
Hi Lisa
I think that your last comment goes for all the readers of this forum.   :clapping:
Tony

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« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2008, 22:09 PM »
Hi Lisa, Tony and bear lovers everywhere,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simon

Here are the references:

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

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

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

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


Offline lisa

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« Reply #12 on: August 17, 2008, 22:14 PM »
Thanks Simon. I read those too and in the end decided I wasn't really bothered who his mother was, knowing the first one to be wrong. That's the press for you  >:D He does seem to have caused a bit of a problem but those ref's are from 2006, no? Hopefully the farmers have settled down, as much as they can.
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« Reply #13 on: August 17, 2008, 22:18 PM »
I quite agree! :dancing:

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

I'm off to bed!

Tara

Simon

Offline nick

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« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2008, 18:55 PM »
From the Guardian http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/aug/19/wildlife.nicolassarkozy

Quote

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News of Bruni-Sarkozy's letter came days after a minibus carrying disabled children was attacked by a bear in the south-western Ariège region. The incident, in which no one was harmed, prompted opponents of reintroduction to call again for the bears' removal. "The animals have been transported to a territory they are not used to," said a local critic. "They should have been left at home."
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2008, 20:04 PM »
Hi Nick et al,

Thanks for this 'good news' story.

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

Regs

Simon

PS It's been a long time since I had a letter published in the Gruniad, but by golly they were great. Maybe I should start again! :technodevil:

Simon

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« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2008, 22:20 PM »
OK Clive, that is a Nice Pretty Link to a website, but what's the secret recipe :technodevil:

Offline lisa

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« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2008, 23:02 PM »

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


And another from Livid of Liébana is winging its way to said Ed. I do hope they can put it right even though I have faith in the intelligence of the Grauniad readership...............
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Simon

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« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2008, 20:47 PM »
Just an update from  IbNat about Aranés* shepherds adapting to life along with the bears. :sign:

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


Offline nick

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« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2008, 20:41 PM »
Bad news for bears in the Pyrenees. A boar hunter in the Vall d'Aran was bitten today by a bear and has suffered minor injuries to his foot and hand. Although this is the first time a human has been attacked by a bear in the Pyrenees since the reintroduction programme began in 1996, it has led to calls from the Aranese government for the removal of all bears from the range, claiming that the "bear reintroduction experiment has failed". The bear in question is "called" Arbala.

http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/2008/10/hunter-injured-by-bear/

They're going to a report on this on the TV3 news tonight so I may be able to add something else
Nick
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