The regional authorities of the Spanish Aragon region announced that a hunter killed a female brown bear in the Pyrenees. This brings the total number of bears that people have killed in the Pyrenees to three. The brown bear population is under a lot of pressure from humans, just about 50 individuals roam the Pyrenees today.
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Saroussee the bear
People had named the female bear that died Sarousse. She was 21 years old and roamed around the Barjadi valley on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. The regional nature protection service has opened an autopsy investigation to confirm the cause of death. The hunter claims to have acted in self-defence, states the regional authority. Reportedly, the hunter first tried to scare the bear by screaming. When the bear did not move away, but came closer instead, the hunter shot the bear three times. The incident occurred during a wild boar hunt.
Pyrenean killing trend
The death of the bear Sarousse comes just 10 days after the arrest of a person in Catalonia. The police suspects that this person was involved in the death of another bear in April this year. This bear was six years old, a male named Cachou, when it died just 50 kilometres further north. The police investigated the case, but did not make the cause of death public. Meanwhile, in June this year somebody shot another young male bear 70 kilometres further east. The incident took place on the French side of the border, near a ski station in Ariege. Again, police investigation did not yield any lead to arrest anybody.
Also outside the Pyrenees, bear killings continue. As the Environmental Minister of Spain stated, investigations are running to clarify what happened in Ventanilla. According to witness reports, a hunter accidentally killed a female bear in this northern Spanish region.
Fighting for survival
Conservationists worry that the brown bear population might soon disappear at this rate. The population of bears in the region was only established back in the 1990s, when individuals from Slovenia were reintroduced in the Pyrenees. Nowadays, experts estimate there are about 50 bears roaming the region. Yet, their presence is not welcomed by everybody. Livestock owners are afraid for losses of their animals. Back in August 2019, local authorities in Val d’Aran called for the culling of bear Cachou. They claimed that the bear had killed five horses. Eight months later, Cachou was illegally killed. A similar hostile attitude is present on the French side of the Pyrenees.