Cub of bear shot in French Pyrenees still alive

12th January 2005, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 12 (AFP) - The one-year-old cub of a female brown bear killed by a hunter in the French Pyrenees two months ago is still alive and looks to be "good shape" for the winter hibernation period, an official said.

PARIS, Jan 12 (AFP) - The one-year-old cub of a female brown bear killed by a hunter in the French Pyrenees two months ago is still alive and looks to be "good shape" for the winter hibernation period, an official said.

"We last saw its tracks on December 24, at 1,850 metres altitude on a snowy peak, which makes us think he is relatively good shape," Jean-Jacques Camarra, the head of the brown bear section of France's National Hunting and Wildlife Office, said at a Paris conference late Tuesday.

The cub is the offspring of a 15-year-old female bear shot by a hunter November 1.

The hunter, who has been put under criminal investigation for killing a member of a protected species, claimed he had to open fire because the bear rushed him.

French officials estimate there are only between 14 and 18 remaining bears living in the Pyrenees, which straddle the French-Spanish border.

The killed bear was the last of the native Pyrenees female bears. All the others were introduced from Slovenia as part of a species conservation programme.

Young bears usually spend up to four years with their mothers and have only a 50 percent chance of reaching adulthood.

Camarra said the cub, which weighs around 25 kilogrammes (55 pounds), was foraging for itself without human help, but officials stood ready to augment that diet if the winter proved too difficult.

French Environment Minister Serge Lepeltier said Tuesday he was considering whether to introduce more bears into the region.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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