A brown bear. Drawing. - D. Usher - Solent News - Sipa

  • The scaring of bears to reduce predation on herds was tested in 2019 in the Pyrenees.
  • With bear damage on the rise, the government wants to continue the operation.
  • He launched an online consultation.
  • Based on the severe judgment of experts, two pro-bear associations call to mobilize to vote overwhelmingly against the scaring.

Fog horns, powerful flashing lights, and, if that isn't enough, shooting, in the air or at least non-lethal. This is the arsenal available to the Pyrenean bear scarer, a species in the process of emergence since this highly supervised practice, intended “to keep bears away from herds”, has only existed “on an experimental basis” since 2019 in the massif.

Last year, according to the assessment drawn up by the French Office of Biodiversity (OFB), the shepherds of Ariège were authorized 12 times to practice simple scaring - light or sound - and 15 nights of reinforced scaring , with shots from trained agents, took place. But no rubber bullet was shot at a bear, the case did not arise.

1,173 animals killed in 2019

At the same time and officially, the predations attributed to the plantigrades have more than doubled: 1,173 animals died after an attack, including 611 in "derailments", these falls from the cliffs of whole herds in panic. 36 hives were also rounded up.

The government therefore decided to renew the scaring in 2020, making the criteria for the summer pastures more flexible and extending the duration of the authorizations. But the bear being a very, very, protected species, the law obliges the Ministry of Ecological Transition to seek the advice of the French. The online consultation started on Thursday. It continues until May 22 and, from Paris to Rennes, everyone can put their grain of salt into it.

Experts unanimously against

Neither one nor two, the pro-bear associations, Ferus and Pays de l'ours-Adet, have released their claws. They call for massive participation in the consultation and to say “No! " "This practice is useless, potentially dangerous for humans and for bears, and illegal," protests Alain Reynes, the director of Pays de l'Ours-Adet. And there is no serious assessment of the 2019 experiment ”.

The #ours need you! Take part in the public consultation to say NO to scaring! https://t.co/pWSQxwYsj0 pic.twitter.com/f3y4CKaURY

- FERUS (@OursLoupLynx) April 30, 2020

Bear friends are not alone in doubting. On March 30, the very serious National Council for the Protection of Nature voted unanimously against its 27 experts against scaring. "The renewal of this decree, the effectiveness of which is questionable, even dangerous in terms of the conservation of bears and more generally of wild fauna, reflects a tendency to want to hunt bears from summer pastures, including potentially in a national park, while it is possible to ensure the cohabitation of the bear and pastoralism, with good protection of the herd ", write the" wise men "of the environment. They note in particular that Ariège is the department where dogs for the protection of herds are the least widespread.

But this opinion is only advisory. Just like the online consultation in progress. "Do not dream, it is quite unlikely that it will change your mind the authorities," concedes Alain Reynes. But these opinions can provide "legal arguments". Because the associations intend to challenge this new decree before the administrative justice. They have already done so for that of 2019. But, confinement requires, the Council of State did not have time to decide.


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