Bear filmed fighting attacking man found dead with cubs in Spanish cave | Animals
Rangers in Spain have found the bodies of two brown bear cubs and their mother, believed to be the same animal filmed three months ago, sending a male bear plummeting down a precipice after being attacked.
On Friday, rangers and bear experts found the bodies of the female and her cubs at the bottom of a 33-meter crevice inside a cave in the northern region of Castile and León.
Teams had been searching for the animals since June 5, when the bear and one of her cubs were attacked by a male bear who appeared to want to kill the cub to mate with the mother.
A wrestling videoshot by two hikers, showed the mother picking up the much larger male before the pair plunged dozens of meters down a rocky mountain in Palencia.
The male – who weighed 217kg – died of his injuries, while the bloody and badly injured mother and one of her cubs took refuge in a nearby cave.
“Early on June 6, we managed to locate the body of a dead male bear near the site of the fall,” Castile and León’s environment ministry said in a statement.
“Over the next few days, we also confirmed that the female bear and her cub were alive approximately 15 meters inside the cave. After determining that they were still alive, food and l water were placed in the cave to help them recover with as little interference as possible.
But as the days passed, the signs of life faded and teams used a drone and a videoscope camera to try to find the animals.
On September 2, they found the bodies of three bears at the bottom of the crevasse, which was only 50 cm wide.
“The condition of the cubs’ remains is consistent with the fact that they are both the [female] the bear’s offspring, although one of them went missing in the days leading up to the fall,” the statement added.
The remains were taken to a specialist wildlife center, where autopsies will be carried out to confirm the parentage of the cubs and how they died.
The Brown Bear Foundationwho helped with the search said it was possible the bears were using the cave as a den and the missing cub had fallen into the crevice before the fight.
Foundation president Guillermo Palomero said the male bear’s behavior was not unusual.
“As is the case with other animals, male bears have the instinct to kill cubs in order to mate again,” he told Agence France-Presse shortly after the attack.
“They are looking for female bears with cubs they can kill. The female goes into estrus two or three days later. [the cub has been killed] so that the male bear can mate with her.
According to the foundation, there are around 330 brown bears spread across northern regions of Spain such as Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and Castile and León, and around 70 in the Pyrenees between Spain and France.
Brown bears have been a protected species in Spain since 1973. In an effort to consolidate the bear population in the Pyrenees, brown bears from Slovenia have been introduced over the past two decades.
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