Bears and the Pyrenees, the official report for 2016

Cet article est également disponible en: French

Goiat, released in Catalonia in 2016

Goiat, released in Catalonia in 2016

The DREAL, the government agency responsible for sustainable development, has just published its annual report on the reintroduction of bears in the Pyrenees. As in previous years the main problems are concentrated in Ariège, Haute-Garonne and Hautes-Pyrénées, principally in Ariège.

According to the DREAL: “The extent of the damage caused by bears in the French Pyrenees has remained globally stable since 2006, with compensation being paid for an average of 192 animals per year”. The report also notes that 39 bears were detected in the Pyrenees (including those in Andorra and Spain) although three of them died in the course of the year. This figure can be compared with the 15 bears known in 2006. The DREAL claims that despite this increase in numbers, the number of animals killed is stable, demonstrating the effectiveness of preventative measures such as bring the flocks back to the sheepfold overnight and the use of guard dogs.

Despite this, another figure in the report is worth highlighting. In 2016 compensation was paid for a total of 259 animals where there was no clear evidence that a bear was involved. The previous year the equivalent figure was 102 animals. Why? Essentially the increase was due to a single incident in which 132 sheep from Bachebirou near Luz-St-Sauveur were driven off a cliff. Unsurprisingly many breeders were angry.

As the commission set up to deal with this kind of case said: although the bear’s responsibility is not certain, we have decided to indemnify the damage because there was a bear present in the area at that time. The four breeders involved will receive 31,492€ compensation. (Acrobat).

According to today’s edition of the Spanish El Mundo, Catalonia now has 31 bears in its territory following the birth of 10 cubs in 2016 and the reintroduction of Goiat.

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