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21.06.2019 Europe

Runaway bear cub found after disappearing in Pyrenees

CC/Janko Ferlic/Pexels
LISTEN JUN 21, 2019
CC/Janko Ferlic/Pexels

A malnourished bear cub has been found days after escaping his enclosure in the French department of Tarn, in southwestern France. The 5-month-old cub, named Douillous, had been taken into care when he was found, very weak, after being separated from his mother.

"Douillous the bear cub is safe," said the National Office for Hunting and Wildlife (ONCFS).

The five-month-old brown bear cub was seen by a farmer earlier in the week near a cage containing bait to lure him.

The ONCFS was quick to send out experts, who brought him back to the care centre after a brief chase through the fields.

Pyrenees adventure
Douillous was first found on 10 June wandering alone through the village of Couflans in the southwestern Pyrenees region, along the France-Spain border.

Named after the area where he was found, Douillous was malnourished and suffering from anaemia after being separated from his mother before being weaned. He weighed just over 8 kilogrammes when he was taken in by a person licensed to care for wild animals in the Toulouse area.

A disappearing trick
But late Sunday, the cub escaped, prompting a widespread search by a dozen wildlife experts, including three from the ONCFS.

He was weak and unable to move properly, according to experts, who said he stood very little chance of survival unless found in the coming hours.

Brown bear cubs are nursed on their mother's milk until spring and usually stay with her for around two and a half years.

About 50 brown bears live on the French side of the Pyrenees mountains that straddle the border with Spain.

France began reintroducing bears from Slovenia about 20 years ago, despite opposition from local farmers, after the native population was hunted to near extinction.

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