A brown bear.



Bret Charman / Shutterstock / Sipa

The decrees, taken in 2018, by twenty municipalities in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques prohibiting "the wandering of bears" on their territory were canceled by the administrative court of Pau on Tuesday.

The court emphasizes that such decisions were not "necessary".

These mayors of municipalities located in Haut-Béarn and the Basque mountain had taken these decrees to oppose the reintroduction at the time of two Slovenian bears, Claverina and Sorita, in Béarn.

They intended to symbolically prohibit the presence of plantigrades on their territory, which they considered dangerous.

The court, however, considered that "these decisions were not based on any particular circumstance which would highlight the dangers to which people or property would be exposed due to the presence of bears" on the territories of the municipalities in question. .

The mayors had refused to withdraw them despite the prefect's requests

The judges considered that "these decrees were neither of a necessary character, nor of a character adapted to the objectives for which they had been enacted" and this, especially as the mayors "did not specify the measures likely to be taken in the hypothesis where, despite the ban, the wandering of bears would nevertheless be noted ”.

The prefect of Pyrénées-Atlantiques had seized administrative justice, within the framework of the control of legality, "after having asked, in vain, the mayors concerned to withdraw them", recalls the court.


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