Camera captures rare brown Pyrénées bear

A rare brown bear has been photographed by an automatic camera (photo for illustration only)

A rare brown bear has been photographed by an automatic camera in the Pyrénées-Orientales region.

The bear was seen near the commune of Frontabiouse on August 30, according to the  Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage (the national forestry and hunting agency, ONCFS).  

The sighting of mountain bears in this area is still very rare - and a photograph of one is rarer still.

According to the ONCFS, the bear looks to be a young adult male “on the lookout for new land”.

“Brown bears aged between two and four years old often leave their maternal land and are able to travel large distances to establish their own domain,” said the ONCFS in a statement, reported by French news source 20 Minutes.

Two young male bears were last seen in the area in 1999, before losing themselves in the vegetation; while another was seen in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques in 2000.

In 2010, evidence of bears were seen in the Pyrénées-Orientales as well, but they were then thought to have returned to the central Pyrénées soon after.

There are bears in the Pyrénées thanks to an initiative to re-introduce them into the area in 2005, but they are not always popular: In early August some farmers claimed that the bears were threatening their livelihoods after hundreds of sheep were found to have been attacked.

However, it is still rare for humans to actually see a bear, not least to catch one on camera, but in May 2017 another fixed ONCFS camera picked up a mother bear and her cub on a “daylight stroll”. 

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