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Video: New signs of brown bear antics in the French Pyrenees

The bears and bear cubs have been captured by automatic cameras, with the images seen as a sign that the animals are thriving

A Eurasian brown bear relaxing in nature

The bears are often captured on film relaxing, exploring, or scratching their backs on trees Pic: Alexandr Junek Imaging / Shutterstock

New images and videos from automatic cameras set up in the Pyrenees have captured more amusing antics from brown bears and bear cubs enjoying themselves in the springtime.

The bear network le Réseau Ours Brun has published a new compilation of images collected from spring this year (2022).

In Bonac-Irazein, Couflens and Auzat in Ariège, in Melles in Haute-Garonne, and Loudenvielle in Hautes-Pyrénées, we can see adult bears scratching their backs on trees. 

In Laruns in Pyrénées-Atlantiques, the female bear Sorita was spotted going for a forest stroll.

The new images have been hailed as a positive sign by the bear welfare association Pays de l’Ours-Adet. 

A bear cub first emerged in late May this year, in Melles, Haute-Garonne. Sorita’s cubs successfully spent their first winter in the mountains. 

Adult male Néré appears to be doing well, and was found to have travelled more than 8km in a four-day period, while another male Goiat has been located in Aragon, on the Spanish side of the border. This is particularly reassuring, observers said, as he had not been seen for a long period.

The only unfortunate news was the death of a young bear on June 20 in Melle, Haute-Garonne. The body was found in a canyon, and appeared to have been involved in a fight with another animal. 

The Pays de l’Ours association is calling for toxicology analysis to determine the cause of death.

Overall, observations have now recorded more than 350 indirect signs of bears in the Pyrenees departments between January and June 2022, between Cette-Eygun in Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Mérens-les-Valls in Ariège. 

There are now 21 automatic cameras installed across the area, allowing images of the bears’ behaviour to be collected without disturbing them.

While the images are seen as a positive sign, in 2018, a court in Toulouse ruled that France had failed to do enough to protect brown bears in the Pyrenees and should pay €8,000 to two pro-bear animal welfare associations.

The presence of brown bears in the mountain range has been a controversial issue since they were re-introduced to the area more than 20 years ago, especially among farmers, who say the animals threaten their livestock and livelihoods.

Related articles

French hunters criticise arrest of man who killed bear in self defence

Brown bear numbers growing in French Pyrenees after reintroduction 

Hunter who killed bear in Pyrenees will not face charges, rules court 

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