ONCFS (National Hunting and Wildlife Office) agents in the Pyrenees. -

  • According to the mayor of Ustou, in Ariège, "every evening, herds are under attack, there are 80 sheep recognized as predated" and in the night from Wednesday to Thursday, four bears attacked herds.
  • Invoking a threat to men, Alain Servat has prohibited hiking in the sectors, bordering Spain, which overlook the Cagateille circus, which is very popular with walkers this season.
  • It was on the territory of the commune of Ustou that a four-year-old bear was discovered dead shot dead in early June.

If you like hiking in the Pyrenees, especially in Ariège, you should avoid going through the town of Ustou. The mayor of this border municipality with Spain, issued a decree on Thursday, prohibiting hiking on the portion of the massif above his village. The reason ? The presence of bears in the area.

“Every evening, herds are attacked, there are 80 sheep recognized as predated. And there, that night, from midnight to 6 am, four bears did not stop attacking herds on the summer pasture of the Col d'Escots, very close to the hut, "said Alain Servat, mayor of Ustou opposed to the presence of the bear in the Pyrenees, to justify its decree. "The shepherdess found herself in danger, the scaring agents of the OFB [French Office for Biodiversity] had great difficulty in repelling them, they did not succeed, moreover," he said. he adds.

An area where enhanced scaring procedures are permitted

Invoking a threat to men, he banned hiking in the sectors, bordering Spain, which overlook the Cagateille cirque, which is very popular with walkers this season. The prefecture declined any comments immediately, announcing a press release later today. She had in the past asked several times for the withdrawal of decrees taken by the same elected official symbolically prohibiting the wandering of bears on the municipal territory.

The area is one of those where the prefecture authorized reinforced scaring procedures at the beginning of July - up to non-lethal fire - which can be carried out by OFB agents to protect the summer pastures from predators.

About fifty bears identified

It was also on the territory of the commune that a four-year-old male bear was discovered shot dead on June 9. The state filed a complaint, as well as 20 associations which demanded the replacement of the killed bear, in accordance with the regulations, but the investigation has so far been unsuccessful.

Our bear file

The affair has exacerbated the conflict which opposes the defenders of the Ursine presence to the breeders, since the State started the repopulation of the Pyrenees in bears at the end of the 1990s, in compliance with its European obligations. Fifty specimens are now listed on the massif, a number invoked by the State to freeze the reintroduction program, but considered insufficient by environmentalists to ensure the survival of the settlement.


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