New video shows Pyrenees brown bear in good health

New video images have been released showing Sorita - a female brown bear released into the Béarn in the French Pyrenees last year - to be in good health, scratching her back, and perhaps even expecting cubs.

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Video captured from an automatic camera by bear protection group, FIEP Groupe Ours Pyrénées - in partnership with the Parc National des Pyrénées - shows Sorita appearing to be very comfortable in her surroundings, and marking her territory by scratching her back on a nearby tree.

The video was captured on September 6 - before the bear went into hibernation for the winter - but has only just been published now. The images also show Sorita’s transmitting collar and tracking ear chips.

(Video: FIEP Groupe Ours Pyrénées)

Six-year-old Slovenian brown bear Sorita was released into the Béarn on October 5, 2018. A number of signs suggest that she has integrated well into the mountains, and she appears to have been able to visit areas also frequented by other bears without any issues.

She also appears to have been eating well, and has been reported visiting areas known for abundant grass, blueberries, raspberries, and nuts. She is also said to have been eating eggs, as well as ant larvae.

Experts at wild animal unit l’Office National de la Chasse et de la Faune Sauvage (ONCFS) have said that this would be especially important ahead of the bear’s hibernation time, and if she is indeed expecting cubs, as she will need extra food to feed her young in her den.

The ONCFS have also said that the bear’s mating schedule with the males Rodri and Néré suggests that Sorita is indeed likely to be expecting, with her cubs likely to be born in Spring.

The cubs are also unlikely to be targeted as prey by the males, due to the coupling having happened in Sorita’s territory, the ONCFS said, in contrast to what happened last year, when Sorita’s cubs were thought to have died.

Sorita is not known for being an aggressive or especially predatory bear, and has so far been able to find mainly-plant food away from any livestock or farm animals.

She has not been implicated in any mountain attack, although two claims for compensation were paid in connection with her, as she later ate the remains after the incident took place.

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