Brown Bear Spotted In Spanish National Park For First Time In 150 Years
The male, aged between three and five, is thought to be the first bear to pass through the O Invernadeiro natural park in Galicia's Ourense province for 150 years.
Footage of the bear was captured by camera traps deployed as part of film Montaña ou Morte (Mountain or Death) and wildlife rangers working as advisers on the project said the bear spent the entire winter in the park, most likely making its way south from the Sierra del Caurel mountains.
The brown bear has been a protected species in Spain since 1973, and although the Invernadeiro national park is home to wolves, deer and wild boars, this is believed to be the first time a bear has lived in the region for 150 years. The presence of the bear in the area is credited to years of conservation work.
A statement from the production company behind the film, Zeitun Films, said: "The specimen, a male between 3 and 5 years old, is the first to be filmed in the area
and probably the first to pass through this region in the last 150 years.
"According to the park's environmental agents, the animal has surely spent the winter in O Invernadeiro. This data would be indicative that the area is suitable for other specimens to be established in the future.
"After years of work, the conservation of the protected area of O Invernadeiro has allowed the brown bear to find a suitable habitat."
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As part of an EU project to consolidate the bear population in the Pyrenees between France and Spain, brown bears have been introduced to the area over the past two decades. However one such bear, named Goait - which means 'lad' in the local dialect - has caused much controversy since being brought to the area in 2016.
Over the past few years he has killed all manner of livestock, including goats, sheep and even horses. Just last month, he killed four sheep in the Gistaín valley, according to Heraldo, with farmers calling for the 'bloodthirsty' bear to be removed from the area.
Ferran Miralles, the director general of environmental policy at the Catalan regional government, said in 2018 that Goait could be classified as a 'problem bear'.
According to The Guardian, he said: "He's a bear whose behaviour is very predatory. He's not aggressive or dangerous to people, but he is when it comes to livestock. And, particularly and surprisingly, when it comes to mares.
"The majority of bear attacks are on sheep and goats. It's very rare that they'll attack calves and foals.
"We're looking at whether he could be classified as a problem bear, or whether there are other ways of dealing with him to keep him away from livestock. If he turns out to be a problem bear then we'd have to look into the possibility of removing him and activating an extraction protocol."
Featured Image Credit: Montaña ou Morte/Zeitun Films