Protected brown bear found shot dead in Spain

2016-09-13 17:27
Photo released by Fundacion Oso Pardo shows a man beside the body of a dead brown bear that was found at the Muniellos Nature Reserve, in the Fuentes del Narcea. (Fundacion Oso Pardo. HO, AFP)

Photo released by Fundacion Oso Pardo shows a man beside the body of a dead brown bear that was found at the Muniellos Nature Reserve, in the Fuentes del Narcea. (Fundacion Oso Pardo. HO, AFP)

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Madrid - Spanish police opened an investigation on Monday after tourists discovered the body of a brown bear, a protected species in Spain, with a single gunshot wound to the chest.

Tourists came across the corpse of the male bear, weighing about 105kg, on Friday near the entrance to the Muniellos Nature Reserve in the northern region of Asturias, a local police spokesperson said.

There are around 280 brown bears in Spain, mainly in forest-rich Asturias and the Pyrenees mountains on the French border, according to conservation group Fundacion Oso Pardo ("Brown Bear Foundation").

The group's president, Guillermo Palomero, said the shooting of the bear was "very serious" and "very worrying" since it happened in the "heart of a protected area".

"There is no reason that justifies shooting and killing a bear," he told AFP.

Reintroduced in parts of western Europe - in the east they never died out - brown bears have created antagonism among locals in recent years with attacks on livestock.

Male bears weigh as much as 350kg and females 200kg, and they can easily outrun a human. Rearing up, they stand up to two metres tall.

They are omnivores, eating berries and nuts as well as small and large animals - including sheep and calves.

The World Wildlife Fund says the bears play an important role in keeping other animal populations in check and also in "seed dispersal" from their droppings.

Read more on:    wwf  |  spain  |  conservation  |  animals

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