Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Bear shooting highlights resumption of European dispute

A hunter in France is under investigation into the shooting of a brown bear, which has highlighted tensions over reintroducing these animals into the wild through EU-funded programs.

As prosecutors investigate whether the man shot a bear illegally under European law, it has restarted debate over the bear’s renewed appearance in the Pyrenees, a mountain range between France and Spain. have make.

Christine Tuckey, president of the Ariz Pyrenees, a regional authority, said officials feared a bear attack on humans.

“Today, you can really see that cohabitation is complicated,” she told AFP news agency.

The 70-year-old said that when he was hunting wild boar last week, he shot and injured the animal after attacking it.

He fired two shots at the female bear, who was outside with her two cubs, killing her instantly.

A man with serious leg injuries was taken to a hospital after the incident in the Sixties region of Ariegue in the Pyrenees mountains in south-west France.

Hunting organizations held a demonstration in Ariz last weekend to show their support for the injured man.

The brown bear is seen as a threat to livestock by some farmers across the border in France and Spain.

After relentless hunting by the 1990s the bear population dwindled to just three, an EU program using Slovenia’s stock to bring them back to the region.

According to data from Spain’s Brown Bear Foundation, FOP, a census conducted in 2020 found that there were 64 bears in the Pyrenees, while Cantabria in northern Spain had 350 bears.

animals vs people

The shooting in France is the latest fatal encounter between a man and a bear.

In November last year, a hunter shot and killed a female bear at the border in Aragon in the Spanish Pyrenees, raising the death toll in 2020 to three. He was cleared of any wrongdoing after he claimed to have worked in self-defense.

The killing came just 10 days after police in the neighboring region of Catalonia said they had arrested 12 people in connection with the death of a bear in April.

Another bear, a six-year-old male, was found dead in the Val d’Aran region near the French border, but police later found it had been poisoned with antifreeze.

Newspaper reports said the investigation found evidence that the killers were members of a criminal gang.

Critics have argued that as bear populations increase, the animals become more difficult to control because they require more food which brings them into closer contact with humans.

The French government reported that between January and October this year, bears are believed to be behind the deaths of 625 sheep, 16 cattle, 17 horses and one dog.

Brown bears are omnivores and attack animals only when the opportunity arises. They feed mostly on berries and other plants.

Some who live in the Pyrenees accuse EU officials of introducing bears to the area without considering the impact the plan will have on the local community.

“The bears were something planted from Europe, paid for with European money, but they never really thought about how it would affect the people who actually lived here,” Mark Cuney, president of the Pyrenees Catalan Horse Association in the Aran Valley, told VOA told.

“They cause problems for farmers and don’t contribute to tourism.”

Fernando Ballesteros, a biologist at FOP, acknowledged that despite humans and bears’ efforts to live together, tensions persist.

He said regional governments and FOPs have worked with farmers to recruit shepherds to look after the sheep, provide night shelters for livestock and guard dogs.

“We have come a long way in Cantabria but in France and the Spanish Pyrenees we have lost the culture of living with bears,” he said in an interview with VOA.

“There is resentment because of this because agriculture is dying in many cases. The younger generation is not working on the fields and it is a tough life.”

However, he says the bear has come to be seen as a boost to the rural economy.

A study by the University of Oviedo in northern Spain found that tourism from brown bears generated an income of €20 million (US$22,675,500) since re-introduction and 300 jobs.

Steve Kracknell is the author of The Impossible Rewilding of the Pyrenees, which deals with reintroducing other ‘top predators’ such as bears and wolves into this mountain range.

“I do not condone and condone the illegal killings of bears. However, I can appreciate the frustration of some shepherds who challenge their values ​​and who have had a long time to stop an EU-wide ‘rewilding initiative’. There’s no real chance in duration,” he told VOA.

Some information in this report has been received from the Agency France-Presse.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described Christine Tuckey as a council officer. He is an elected representative as president of a regional authority, the Ariz Pyrenees. This version also corrects the quote in the last graph of the story.


This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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