Spain’s ‘oversexed’ bear faces castration

Spain's 'oversexed' bear faces castration
Experts in the region are surprised and worried by the sexual vigour of this elderly alpha bearPhoto of brown bear:Shutterstock
The oldest bear in Spain's Pyrenees could be sterilized to give other males in the mountainous region a chance to reproduce, something impossible up to now given the sexual appetite and aggressiveness of this 'king of the forest'.

Twenty-six-year-old Pyros is either father, grandfather or great-grandfather — and sometimes a combination of these — for practically all the thirty bears roaming the Spanish Pyrenees.

Animal experts in the region are surprised and worried by the sexual vigour of this elderly alpha bear, as males of his species usually lose their sexual appetite at 19.

"If he keeps up the dominant attitude for a few more years, the other males in the mountains have no chance of mating with any of the females," environmentalist José Enquire Arró told Catalan daily La Vanguardia.

The team are now studying two options: either they take Pyros to a bear sanctuary away from the rest of the bears or they sterilize him after putting him to sleep with a tranquilizer.

Both could be traumatic and costly, with castration not even guaranteeing he will drop the ‘attitude’ when he’s back in the wild.

An even more extreme option which has been considered is simply putting Pyros down, especially in the wake of the arrival of a new male bear from Slovenia which will hopefully bring new blood to the sleuth, as a group of bears is known.

Operation Pyros is key for Catalan, French and Spanish environmentalists looking to keep their bear populations alive and healthy.

The bears roaming the Pyrenees were originally considered a separate species but are now classified as European brown bears.

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