Monday, 13 August 2018

Goiat the bear may be expelled from Pyrenees over horse killings

Brown bear’s fate could be worse still after he riles farmers with attacks on livestock

Sam Jones in Madrid
Sun 22 Jul 2018 12.27 BSTLast modified on Mon 23 Jul 2018 00.50 BST

After two years of roaming and a string of attacks on horses, sheep and goats, Goiat the brown bear could soon find himself declared ursus non gratus in the Pyrenees. Or worse.

Goiat, who is thought to be between 12 and 14 years old, was brought to Catalonia from his native Slovenia in June 2016 as part of an EU project to consolidate the bear population in the mountains that straddle Spain and France.

Conservation and repopulation efforts over the past two decades have been a success, with the number of animals in the central Pyrenees rising from three in 1996 to 43 today.

But Goiat’s depredations, and particularly his unusual attacks on horses, have angered farmers in the north-western Catalan areas of Pallars Sobirà and Val d’Aran and prompted calls for him to be removed from the region.

So far this year, he has apparently killed six mares, four colts, four sheep and a goat, and demolished two beehives. “He’s a bear whose behaviour is very predatory,” Ferran Miralles, the director general of environmental policy at the Catalan regional government, said.

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