French hunter claims self-defence in bear shoot

7th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

PAU, France, Dec 7 (AFP) - A French hunter who killed one of the 18 bears surviving in the Pyrenees mountains on the Spanish border intends to fight criminal charges claiming he fired in self-defence, his lawyer said Tuesday.

PAU, France, Dec 7 (AFP) - A French hunter who killed one of the 18 bears surviving in the Pyrenees mountains on the Spanish border intends to fight criminal charges claiming he fired in self-defence, his lawyer said Tuesday.

Rene Marqueze, 62, was placed under formal criminal investigation Tuesday for destroying a member of an endangered species, the lawyer, Thierry Sagardoytho, said.

Marqueze killed a 15-year-old female bear called Cannelle (or 'Cinnamon' in French) on November 1 while out on a boar-hunt in the Aspe Valley.

The bear, which the hunter said he happened upon as she was with her cub on a cliff-edge, was just one of three indigenous bears left in the Pyrenees.

Their number has been boosted by the introduction of about 15 bears brought in from the Balkans.

The two remaining indigenous bears are both males.

"I didn't want to kill it. It was just as I was running away that it launched itself after me," Marqueze told a local newspaper.

He said the bear "roared and jumped forward with incredible speed, like a horse in full gallop. I turned, I fired at its side. I had no choice. It was the bear or me."

Marqueze added the anger of environmentalists over the incident was misplaced.

"I'd like to see what all those who have called me a murderer would have done in my place."

© AFP

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article