The Cantabrian brown bear is returning, will it be allowed

Back around the 1900 there were around 1000 bears roaming the mountains of the Iberian peninsular. Unfortunately by 1950 this population had been reduced to two small populations consisting of 50-60 in one and perhaps as low as 14 individuals in the other.

Bears are recolonising prime habitat that they have not been seen in for decades, long may it last

Indiscriminate hunting is banned, but the government does sell permits to hunt a few.

Over the last few decades they have done extraordinarily well. When we visited this area around 8 years ago the official estimate of this bear population was still 150, however it is thought that over the decade running up to this point the population had actually increased to roughly 250. A recent analysis suggests that the population is now around 350.

For a slow breeding species like a bear, it is extremely impressive to find a more than doubling in its population over 20 years.

It is certainly the case, that this animal is not out of danger. Indeed, this is the time that people need to be visiting the area to see the bears. Recovery like this is great, but it must be allowed to continue.

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