Activists tempt bears with glass-laced honey

4th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

TARBES, France, May 4, 2006 (AFP) - French authorities have taken legal action against anti-bear activists who planted honey laced with glass shards in the Pyrenees mountains, the environment ministry said Thursday.

TARBES, France, May 4, 2006 (AFP) - French authorities have taken legal action against anti-bear activists who planted honey laced with glass shards in the Pyrenees mountains, the environment ministry said Thursday.

Twelve pots, marked "Caution: anti-bear poison", were found in the southwestern region, where a group of Slovenian brown bears are being released to boost the species' population in the face of fierce local protests.

A hiker discovered the first glass-laced pot near the town of Bagneres-de-Bigorre on April 30, the ministry said, and a police search of the area quickly uncovered the rest.

Ecology Minister Nelly Olin said she was "outraged" by the discovery while the governor of the Hautes-Pyrenées department has filed for legal action against the unidentified activists.

Two bears — named Franska and Palouma — were released in the Pyrenees late last month, with three more due to be introduced by the summer.

Opponents have mounted a sometimes violent campaign against their release, claiming the bears, which will join 18 already roving the region, will pose a serious threat to hikers, shepherds and livestock.

Supporters of the bears say they will attract tourists and cause only minimal damage to livestock.

Further releases have been suspended pending a court ruling on an attempt by regional farmers' unions to block the campaign.

The only indigenous Pyreneean bears left are all males, after a hunter shot the last remaining female, prompting a government pledge to double the local bear population over the next three years.

Slovenia signed an agreement with France last September to send five bears — three females and two males — to the Pyrenees between April and August.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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