More articles about
Bad news, bears
1st March, 2008
From Catalonia in the South, through the Ariège and Béarn, to the Basque country in the North, both locals and tourists are used to seeing Nationalist slogans daubed in white paint on Pyrenean mountain roads. But now a new clarion call is vying for their attention: Non Ours (no bears) and Mort aux Ours (death to the bears.)The bears in question are (or were – see box, page 25) five Slovenian bears – one male and four females – released in 2006 after the last native female brown bear, Canelle, was shot by a hunter two years earlier. Her death in 2004 meant less than 20 bears remained in the entire 200-mile mountain range, and prompted the French government to pledge to double the population.
The slogan-painters in question are a group of local farmers who accuse the omnivorous bears of attacking livestock as an alternative food source. They continue fiercely to campaign against further reintroductions. One anti-bear farmer told the Associated Press: ‘This is shameful. War has been declared.’
The battle between the conservationists and farmers has not been pretty. Twelve pots of glass-laden honey, labelled Caution: AntiBear Poison were found by a hiker shortly after the first release. A pro-bear local mayor was taken hostage by protesters who laid waste to his village hall and later issued death threats against him. One local professional who helped in the reintroduction of the animals has been physically threatened and had a dead sheep dumped on the doorstep of the family home. A local...
To view the rest of this article - you must be a paying subscriber and Login
Using this website means you agree to us using simple cookies.