The news on Catalonia's TV3 this morning featured a meeting to be held today between the Generalitat's environmental department and the Aranese local government, the Conseth. Meanwhile the forestry police were standing by ready to capture Hvala to see if he is 'injured' after his ordeal.
What shocked me even more than Lucy's point above was on Saturday's El Periodico, which gave priority to the opinion of leaders of the hotel sector, who insist that all the bears be removed as they damage the image of the Val d'Aran as a tourist resort - so now I know that if I want to find out how to make a really good cup of coffee I'll ask the environment authorities.
Just to add my twopennorth: the Val d'Aran is a vile place, with rampant over development ruining the aspect of both rural and urban areas. The rich cultural heritage, exemplified by the array of Romanesque churches which have been written about with awe at least since the time of Richard Ford (Handbook for Travelers in Spain, 1845) through to E.L. Robson (A Wayfarer in the Pyrenees, 1929: one of my most prized possesions!) right up to Alastair Boyd, a.k.a. Lord Kilmarnock (The Essence of Catalonia, 1988: his 'The Road to Ronda' is a genuine classic and would be of much interest to our Andalusian factions - have you got a copy of this Clive?). These authors would turn in their graves (with apologies to you Mi-lord) if they saw the state of the Val d'Aran now. If ski resorts are cancer on the landscape then the hideous housing 'development' in the villages are its metastases.
The tragedy here as in so many other places is that the scourge is in the hands of just a few people, hungry for the usual filthy lucre of money and power. The Aranese themselves are, in my limited experience, fine folk and came out in good shape on several documentaries that I've seen about the bear release program, especially in contrast to some French 'activists' who disrupt bear releases over the border.
I think a hidden issue here is with the powers that be in the Aran government, the Conseth, who, keen to make yet more cash and see the example of Andorra only just over the next mountains, are after quasi independence, and virtual tax haven status, like Ceuta and Mellilla enjoy. The Conseth takes every opportunity to rankle the Catalan government. For their part the Generalitat seems to relish the opportunity to play the big boy over Aranese issues, taking the boot to the other foot from its relationship to Madrid, perhaps.
I'd like to have peppered this post with humorous or ironic emoticons but I'm sorry to say that as the story has unfolded it has left me with a teeth grinding anger. To paraphrase the words of an Aranese shepherd who had the final say on the TV documentary, "The only animal species that is a threat in the Val d'Aran is homo sapiens, as always!"