Third bear killed in Pyrenees this year

About 50 brown bears roam the Pyrenees today but their presence has caused tensions with livestock farmers 
About 50 brown bears roam the Pyrenees today but their presence has caused tensions with livestock farmers 

A hunter shot dead a female brown bear in the Spanish Pyrenees at the weekend, the regional authorities said, raising to three the number killed this year on the mountain range dividing Spain and France.

The "claimed to have acted in self-defence", the northeastern Aragon region said in a tweet late on Sunday.

The bear named Sarousse was killed in the central Pyrenees' Barjadi valley.

"Sarousse died after being shot," it said, indicating her death was confirmed Sunday. The regional nature protection service had opened an investigation and an autopsy was to be held on Monday.

Sarousse's death came just 10 days after police in the neighbouring Catalonia region said they had arrested one person over the death of another bear back in April.

That bear, a six-year-old male called Cachou, died 50 kilometres (30 miles) further north in the Val d'Aran area very near the French border although the cause of death has not been made public.

In June, another young male bear, aged four or five, was shot dead 70 kilometres further east near a ski station in Ariege on the French side of the border but the investigation has turned up no leads.

Close to extinction, the was reintroduced to the Pyrenees in the early 1990s, with animals brought in from Slovenia.

There are about 50 bears today, but their presence has caused tension with livestock farmers.

In August 2019, the local authorities in Val d'Aran had called for Cachou to be removed from the area, blaming him for the of five horses.

On the French side, many farmers have openly declared their hostility toward the bears whom they say pose a serious threat to livestock.

Meanwhile, another female bear was shot dead by a hunter in northern Spain at the weekend, in an apparently accidental shooting.

The incident took place in Ventanilla, 120 kilometres inland from the coastal city of Santander, with Environment Minister Teresa Ribera saying efforts were under way "to clarify what happened".

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