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Wildlife injection – a new brown bear explores the Pyrenees

bearA brown bear has been given full freedom to roam the Pyrenees mountains.

The release is part of an initiative to ensure the species’ continued survival in the region, according to local officials.

The 10-year-old male bear, named Goiat and weighing in at more than 200 kilos, was delivered by road from a reserve in Slovenia, a country with a prospering bear population which has provided bears to a number of European areas.

The bears native to the Pyrenees were close to extinction by the 1990s mainly because of hunting. The first re-introduction programme in 1996 delivered three bears from Slovenia.

The only male in the group, Pyros, has taken his responsibility seriously. He can call his own most of the 35 brown bears estimated now to be on the Spanish or French side of the mountain range.

But at age 26 and showing signs of ageing, Pyros appears ready for retirement.

Wildlife officials thought it prudent to introduce a new male in order to foster genetic diversity. Excessive inbreeding over time can leave a species vulnerable to disease and deformity.

The new bear was released in the Alt Pirineu Natural Park, the largest in the Catalonia.

Brown bears were first believed to have roamed Europe some 250,000 years ago.


+1 #1 Chip 2016-06-09 17:32
I'm no expert, but having only 2 males since the 1990s, sounds like inbreeding to me.