The remains of the Cachou bear surrounded by specialized agents from the Val d'Aran General Council, in Spain, during its discovery on April 9, 2020. - Conselh Generau d'Aran

  • The Cachou bear was found dead on April 9 in the Val d'Aran, on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees.
  • Local authorities evoke a fight with another plantigrade, followed by a fatal fall, while some Spanish associations favor the track of poisoning.
  • On the French side, the Ferus association awaits the results of the autopsy while raising certain questions.

Cachou's death continues to stir up heated debates on both sides of the Pyrenees. The body of this five-year-old bear was found on April 9 on the Spanish side of the massif. Since then, a pass of arms has taken place between the General Council of Val d'Aran, an administrative entity in Catalonia, and local ecological associations.

In France, the CAP-Ours coordination, which brings together some twenty associations favorable to plantigrade, wrote to the Ministry of Ecology to request additional information. The results of Cachou's autopsy in Barcelona are eagerly awaited, but the health situation linked to the coronavirus necessarily delays operations.

COMUNICAT | Pr'amor interpretacions que s'an realizat per part de quauqui mieis de comunicacion e associacions conservacionistes, eth Conselh Generau non realizarà cap valoracion dera mòrt de Cachou enquia dispausar der informer de necròpsia encargat: pic / 7cjAdxH8c1

- Conselh Generau Aran (@conselharan) April 16, 2020

For now, the preliminary report released on April 14 by the General Council of Val d'Aran is authentic. "A hole in his fur has been found, which reminds us of a fight with another bear," explains Sabine Matraire, vice-president of Ferus, member of CAP-Ours. According to this document, Cachou then made a fatal fall from 40 meters.

The mystery of the "sardonic smile"

But another element got the ear of the defenders of the plantigrades. "In press articles following the death of Cachou, it was discovered that he had been the guinea pig of experiments, with the use of a chemical, a fungicide, to try to disgust him of the meat horse, "continues Sabine Matraire. Because this male was famous for his attacks on farm animals.

Four Spanish associations issued a press release on April 15 to contest the version of the preliminary report. According to them, the photos of the corpse show that the animal displayed "a sardonic smile", "a characteristic grin in mammals killed by poisoning".

A report denied the next day by the General Council of Val d'Aran, which also assured that a single dose of this fungicide had been applied last October ... Sabine Matraire wants to be careful, but wonders. "What is this fungicide? What was the dose used? Depending on the amount used and possibly ingested by Cachou, he could have been weakened and less able to defend himself? "

The results of the autopsy may help defuse the controversy. But they will not calm the eternal quarrels between pro and anti-bear in the Pyrenean massif.


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