Pyrénées bears filmed leaving hibernation for spring

An automatic camera has filmed Pyrénées bears emerging from hibernation, with images showing young mother bears and cubs climbing a tree, and even taking time to scratch their backs on the rough bark.

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The images, posted on Facebook by bear conservation group Piros Life, were taken on the Spanish Catalan side of the mountain range, in the Parc Naturel de l’Alt Pirineu. This is the mountain region into which Slovenian bears were last released, many of which often cross the border into France.

Captured during the day and at nighttime, the new images show two young female bears with their cubs climbing the tree and rubbing their fur against its rough trunk.

Snow is still on the ground in the area, as the video shows, but as the temperature rises, more and more animals will begin to emerge from their hibernation caves for summer.

The date on which bears emerge from winter hibernation for the summer can depend on various factors, including whether they are male or female, their age, and how many fat stores they have on their body.

Male bears tend to emerge first, with females and their cubs coming out last. Bears may move or leave their caves during hibernation, but will not come out permanently until spring arrives.

Weather conditions and temperatures play a role, and in warmer years, bears can be seen coming out of hibernation for summer as early as mid-February.

Colder years can also delay bears from leaving hibernation; the latest date on record for the Pyrénées was April 28 1978, after a long, snowy winter.

In the Pyrénées, 43 bears have been recorded, of which 25 have been seen in Catalonia.

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