First brown bear in 150 years spotted in Spain national park by film crew

Video shows animal foraging for food and back-scratching on tree

Tom Embury-Dennis
Monday 04 May 2020 15:43 BST
Brown bear spotted in northwest Spain

A brown bear has been spotted in a national park in northwest Spain for the first time in 150 years.

Footage of the bear was captured by camera traps set up by a crew shooting a film in the Invernadeiro national park, in the sparsely populated Ourense province in Galicia.

In it, the male bear can be seen foraging for food, engaging in a night-time back-scratching session, and running away from what he clearly considered an overly threatening bush.

The movie’s production company, Zeitun Films, said the bear was aged between three and five, and it was likely the first to have crossed the area since 1870.

According to rangers advising the filmmakers, the bear probably spend the entire winter in the region, after heading south from the Sierra de Caurel mountains.

Though lacking bears in recent decades, Invernadeiro is already home to many wild species of animal, including wolves, deer, boar and otters.

Zeitun Films said the bear footage would form part of the as yet unfinished movie, titled Montaña ou Morte (Mountain or Death).

In an effort to protect brown bears, the species has received protected status in Spain since 1973. This, though, has not stopped local farmers in the Pyrenees complaining about their presence.

In 2018, a group of them organised a blockade in an attempt to stop a female bear arriving from Slovenia.

She was eventually released into the wild by conservationists, who hoped she would mate with male bears in the region.

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