Bears to come back to France in early 2006

22nd September 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Sept 22 (AFP) - Three brown bears imported from Slovenia are to be released early next year in the Pyrenées mountains of southern France where the dwindling population is in danger of extinction, the environment ministry in Paris said Thursday.

PARIS, Sept 22 (AFP) - Three brown bears imported from Slovenia are to be released early next year in the Pyrenées mountains of southern France where the dwindling population is in danger of extinction, the environment ministry in Paris said Thursday.

The reintroduction plan follows the killing by hunters in November of the last female bear in the region of indigenous Pyrenean stock.

Around 15 bears are believed to survive in the mountains that straddle the French-Spanish border, most of them animals or the cubs of animals imported from Slovenia in the 1990s.

Ministry officials said that three animals would be released into the wild early next year, followed by two more in late 2006. The announcement was to be made official by environment minister Nelly Olin at the weekend, they said.

The shooting of the bear named Canelle in November provoked fury among environmentalists and led to a promise by then minister Serge Lepeltier to double the bear population in the Pyrenees in three years.

Attempts to boost bear numbers have run into persistent opposition from local livestock farmers who blame the animals for attacks on sheep and cattle.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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