Pyrenees: Bears Killed Fewer Sheep This Year (and Men Killed More Bears)

Local News
A brown bear like those who live in the Pyrenees

BIODIVERSITY: The prefect of the Pyrenees mountains announces that fewer beasts of animals have succumbed to the claws of bears. He sees the effects of the measures put in place to allow shepherds and bears to live together

  • The Prefect of Occitanie announces that the bears of the Pyrenees have killed fewer animals this year.
  • He attributes this drop to measures taken on the spot to improve the coexistence of herds and plantigrades.
  • But bear friends especially recall that three bears died in 2020 at the hands of man and ask for their replacement.

Stabilisation of the number of attacks and “a decrease in the number of victims of predation”. This is the result of food raids led by bears in the Pyrenees this year. It was unveiled on Friday, at the start of hibernation, by Etienne Guyot, the prefect of Occitanie (and, as such, prefect of the massif) on the occasion of the meeting – in video – of the group “pastoralism and bears », Where both shepherds and plantigrade friends live together.

The representative of the State did not provide any figures, but the number of animals killed is therefore less than 1,173, that officially reached in 2019, a year marked by derailments: falls of whole herds, panicked, at the foot of rocky bars.

Etienne Guyot partly attributes this “favourable development” to “strengthening of the protection and support systems for breeders and shepherds”. Three shepherd posts have been created to watch over the sheep, nine new pastoral shelters built, even if the professionals are asking for “real huts” for the next summer. The French Office for Biodiversity (OFB) scaring brigade, triggered when a bear prowls too close to a herd, has grown from two to six agents. And the system of alerting shepherds when a bear walks around with its GPS collar has become widespread with 34,000 text messages sent.

An extraordinary year for births … and killed bears

Alain Reynes, director of the Adet-Pays de l’Ours association, welcomes this “slight drop” in animal deaths attributed to bears. But the activist especially underlines “an extraordinary year, with 12 births, and three bears killed”. Stirring Cachou was poisoned with antifreeze in April in the Val d’Aran, a bear was shot in June in Ariège, and a hunter killed Sarousse at the end of November on the Spanish side.

On Friday, the Bear Friends reopened the question of replacing these human-killed bears. “We didn’t get an answer,” says Alain Reynes. Replacement is imperative. If the bears are not replaced and the perpetrators are not convicted, this is unacceptable. The urgent minimum is to release several males and several females ”.

According to estimates, the Ursine population of the Pyrenees counts between 50 and 60 animals.

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