A brown bear who was named Cachou was shot dead last April, by an unknown person, in the Pyrenees (Vald’Aran). The bear had been blamed for several livestock killings in recent years. In August, 2019, the local authorities called for the bear to be removed after it had been blamed for the death of five horses.
The bear was believed to be six-years-of-age and weighing between 150 and 200 kg. It was found near a ski station in the high mountains of the French department of Ariège, which is near the French/Spanish border. The remains were found by biodiversity officials. The bear was not wearing a tracking collar at the time of its shooting.
The Twitter post that you see on this page was made by Elizabeth Borne, the country’s Environment Minister. A translation is as follows:
A bear was discovered today in Ariège, shot dead. The bear is a protected species, this act is illegal and deeply reprehensible. The prefect went there. The state will file a complaint.
Un ours a été découvert aujourd’hui en Ariège, abattu par balles. L’ours est une espèce protégée, cet acte est illégal et profondément condamnable. La préfète s’est rendue sur place. L’Etat va porter plainte. pic.twitter.com/tlMPzmsvyf
— Elisabeth BORNE (@Elisabeth_Borne) June 9, 2020
Today, in The Times newspaper of November 21, 2020, it is reported that a person has been arrested in relation to this killing.
Rewilding – human-wildlife conflicts
The BBC reports on a different story, I believe, of a female brown bear released in the French Pyrenees which had killed eight sheep in Spain. I believe her name is Claverina. Clearly, there is wildlife-human conflict. It brings to mind the proposed rewilding of the Kielder Forest in the UK with lynx. In that story there is strong opposition by farmers because of fears that this medium-sized wild cat species will prey upon sheep. Compromise has to be found. There are advantages in rewilding and the loss of livestock needs to be mitigated through enlightened ideas in cooperation with the farmers. A typical scheme is to pay compensation to the farmers for the loss of their livestock.