The Cantabrian bear population continues to go from strength to strength

Back in 2015, my family and I visited the area that Cantabrian bears live in (this is in patches along the North and west of Spain. I was excited to hear that the bear population had been growing well in the previous decade. Back in 2005 this bear population was estimated at 150 animals, by 2015 this number was thought to be around 250.

With a range back in the 1950s that extended from the Pyrenees all the way to northern Portugal, there is still much recovery to go, but if the last 15 years is an indication, this could take less time than one would thing

A growth of 65% over 10-years seems pretty impressive,however a study from 2 years ago suggest the number of bears in this region is now around 350. It should be noted that other population estimates are lower, though indeed when we were there we were told that in order to allow the population to recover properly, for the purpose of deciding hunting numbers population estimates will be kept intentionally low.

Now given the population in living memory has still been three times what it is now, there is much work to be done. However when a population more than doubles in number within in 15 years something must be going right.

Long may it continue. One of the ways that this can happen is by the local population getting a benefit from these animals presence- through increased tourism. As a covid vaccine becomes available travel once more be possible. This is a beautiful region Spain, and we will be adding this region to our “in the shadow of Man-kind” section in the next few weeks.

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