Bears in the Ariège Pyrenees

Bears in the Ariege Pyrenees is an interesting, and balanced, history of the reintroduction of wild brown bears into the Haut Pyrenees by author Julia Stagg.It is well worth a read. My own thoughts on this have changed, initially I was generally in favour of  the re introduction of top range predators such as wolves and bears. However the mountains are not used as they were, shepherds no longer live and work alongside their sheep, goats and cattle. Often living in the valleys and visiting their herds on quads. This means the flocks and herds are left unprotected for large periods of time.  Also the general use of the mountains have radically changed, walkers, climbers, cyclists, pot holers, white water rafters, canyoneers and skiers, in other words tourists, have replaced agriculture, mining, and smuggling as the regional primary sources of revenue. While these seasonal visitors may like to look at a bear in the Park at Les Angles they are less likely to be impressed with meeting them in the wild. Yes we need to support biodiversity, yes re wilding projects are innovative but banning the use of pesticides and herbicides in the Pyrenees would be hugely more beneficial to a whole range of wildlife than introducing a handful of bears. Start with the small things, like pollinating bees and leave the big things like bears and wolves for later. But I have changed my mind once and could be convinced to do so again.

 

The full article Bears in the Ariege Pyrenees can be read on the wonderful Ariege.com site. I hope they don’t mind but I copied the photo from them.

 

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