Author Topic: Bears in the Pyrenees  (Read 25440 times)

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Simon

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2008, 10:39 AM »
I caught the story in passing on this morning's news. The 'hunter' loked well into his 'seventies and din't seem too bothered by the whole affair. He said he let off his gun into the air and the bear made off!

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #20 on: October 24, 2008, 10:39 AM »

Offline nick

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2008, 10:40 AM »
I think the Aranese gov. have been looking any excuse to stop the programme
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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2008, 10:44 AM »
Thant's what it looked like to me too!

Simon

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2008, 14:13 PM »
Vote for the bears here. Vote No to reconsidering the reintroduction programme

http://www.lavanguardia.es/lv24h/20081023/53565643199.html

PS

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

« Last Edit: October 24, 2008, 14:18 PM by nick »
Nick
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Offline nick

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2008, 14:26 PM »
Also front page of Avui

http://www.avui.cat/

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

Vote this time "Si"
Nick
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Offline lisa

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2008, 17:20 PM »
The video of Hvala only shows half of the story. A month ago she, unusually, still had her 2nd year cub with her. About 18 mths old I think. So, either it's him or her.......or both.
i'd like to interview the dog.
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Offline lucy

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2008, 18:35 PM »
74% of Avui voters so far agree with the "repoblacio", and 78% in La Vanguardia.

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

(http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php?topic=1864.0).

Offline tonyninfas

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2008, 20:30 PM »
Well that's my votes cast for the bares bears

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #28 on: October 26, 2008, 11:05 AM »
Update 26/10/2008. The Aranese authorities are now searching for the bear Hvala with the objective of shooting it with tranquillising darts and removing it from the wild. They claim this is to avoid a “generalised vendetta” against all bears in the area (El Periodico) Meanwhile, the ecological organisation Depana while lamenting the injuries to the man, lay the blame at poorly organised boar hunts, and note that bears and boar hunting are perfectly compatible when managed properly, citing the example of the Cordillera Cantábrica.

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

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #29 on: October 27, 2008, 01:15 AM »
The Catalan government considers the attack as an isolated incident and is still defending the reintroduction programme. I'm assuming that they have given permission for Hvala to be "taken out" of the wild.

http://www.elmundo.es/elmundo/2008/10/26/barcelona/1225021167.html
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Offline lucy

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #30 on: October 27, 2008, 14:11 PM »
The media covererage of this incident seems totally out of proportion as well as the reaction of the locals, who are behaving like a lynch mob, or at least that's the way they're being portrayed.  The comments in El Periodico are very interesting - there seems to be an unbridgable gap between the locals and outsiders. The resentment of the locals towards the bears and what they see as intruding city-folk is very strong ("move the bears to Collserola" says one).

http://www.elperiodico.com/default.asp?idpublicacio_PK=46&idnoticia_PK=556381&idforum_PK=4689&idioma=CAS&oc=1

All this is a reminder that Val d'Aran has undergone a dramatic change in a short space of time - many people becoming very very rich from the rampant urbanisation and ski-ing industry, all on the doorstep of one of the Pyrenees' most wild areas.

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #31 on: October 27, 2008, 15:28 PM »
The news on Catalonia's TV3 this morning featured a meeting to be held today between the Generalitat's environmental department and the Aranese local government, the Conseth. Meanwhile the forestry police were standing by ready to capture Hvala to see if he is 'injured' after his ordeal.

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

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

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

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

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

Simon

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #32 on: October 27, 2008, 20:13 PM »
Good post Simon. Totally agrree
Nick
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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #33 on: October 27, 2008, 20:42 PM »
Just posted this on the blog:

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

Thankfully the Catalan authorities are seeing sense in this matter and are refusing to listen to the yuppie owners of Vall d'Aran. As Simon on the forum points out the Catalan Minsitry of the Environment should no more take into account the opinions of hotel owners than these should listen to the former's advice on how to make beds. For me, the underlying problem is the ridiculous amount of local automony and respect afforded to a small area, just because they happen to speak a different language. The Aranese have powers in the environment, while the next valley along which doesn't happen to speak a different language, doesn't. This means that they can I think, in effect, legally remove the bear in question. These small number of persons, in many cases greedily linked to the skiing and hotel industry, are going against what by all accounts are the wishes of the majority of people in Catalonia who want to maintain the bear reintroduction programme. It's a mockery of democracy.
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Simon

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #34 on: October 27, 2008, 23:20 PM »
Thanks Nick. I totally agree. And if there is any clout that IbNat has, then this is an issue that should count for something! Speaking as a complete amateur, and someone who has very limited access to time/space etc. to be an 'activist' in such matters, I promise t do my utmost to help this cause. To quote Bob Dylan:

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

Simon

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #35 on: October 28, 2008, 00:50 AM »
Nicely quoted Simon.  Can't the hotel owners see that what's damaging the image of Val d'Aran as a tourist resort is their handling of this incident, not the bear! It's throwing a very ugly light on all kinds of shady practices.

But those in charge probably don’t care about the opinion of people who might visit the area to enjoy its nature, as they're not big spenders.  They see the mountains as a play ground for hunters and pijo skiers. In the El Periodico forum there are allusions to scams involving illegal foreign hunting parties allowed to do what they like.   So it must be a nuisance to have bears in the territory, at least strictly protected ones, with attendant monitors and agentes rurales.

Simon

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #36 on: October 28, 2008, 08:21 AM »
You're so right Lucy! The illegal hunting thing is a big and dirty business!

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

Simon

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #37 on: October 28, 2008, 08:59 AM »
But if Hvala keeps on moving, which is likely for a while now, the snow will make it easier to track her movements. Once it stops that is. Her cubs should have dispersed from their mother now and I too hope they're all three holed up somewhere for the winter where hunters won't stumble across them.
Fapas visited the Catalán Pyrenees recently to share their knowledge with the people in charge of the reintroduction programme there. They also gave advice on working closely with hunting parties/clubs to avoid incidences such as this. Really it should be much easier than in the Cordillera Cantábrica given that there are far less bears and the fact that these are closely monitored. It's simple, no hunting in bear territory. Tough! Which is how the Generalitat should be acting on this matter. (Thanks for the insight into the Aranese (Aragonese?) government Simon).
Here's some cyber action for anyone interested. In September, a bear (Balou) was shot in the foot by a hunter. Pays de l'Ours have put together a letter, that can be modified, and sent to the French environment minister calling for improved protection for the bears. I think now is a good time to show support for their cause.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2008, 10:05 AM by lisa »
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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #38 on: October 28, 2008, 10:10 AM »
The outcome of yesterday's meeting was, in summary, that the reintroduction will continue but that the bears will be even more closely monitored (which I read as that the humans will be even more closely monitored, see Lucy's point above).

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

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

Simon

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Re: Bears in the Pyrenees
« Reply #39 on: October 28, 2008, 11:38 AM »
So can the Aranese legally remove Hvala and are they going to?
Nick
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