Wild mountain bear gives birth to three cubs in south-west France

The rare cubs have been spotted by hidden cameras in the wild, and are thought to be three or four months old already

21 May 2021
Bear with three cubs. Wild mountain bear gives birth to three cubs in south-west France

The cubs were filmed by hidden cameras, but the video has not yet been made public Pic: ArCaLu / Shutterstock

By Joanna York

A Slovenian bear that was introduced into the Pyrenees in 2018 has given birth to three cubs.

The cubs were seen for the first time on May 17 when they were filmed in the wild, with their mother Sorita, by an automatic camera set up by national wildlife organisation L'Office national de la chasse et de la faune sauvage (ONCFS).

The video has not yet been made public. 

Sabine Matraire, president of the l'association Pays de l'Ours – Adet (a local association promoting the reintroduction of bears in the Pyrenees) told France 3: “The three bear cubs were probably born in January or February, so they should be around three or four months old.” 

The father of the bear is unknown, but three male bears were known to be living in the north-west Pyrenees last year: Rodrigue, Néré and Cannellito.

The ONCFS will try to identify the father by attempting to collect fur and excrement samples from the cubs, which can be genetically analysed.

Cannellito was the last bear to be born in the north-west Pyrenees in 2004. His mother, Canelle, was killed a few months later.

The last time three cubs were born in the area is thought to be in the 1970s.

But Sorita has given birth to cubs in France before. Six months after she arrived she gave birth to two cubs who were thought to have been killed, out of jealousy, by Néré. 

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EU asks France to introduce bears for those killed in 2020

Video: remarkable footage of bears in France's Pyrénées

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