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Brown bear with taste for mare faces expulsion from Pyrenees

The Local Spain
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Brown bear with taste for mare faces expulsion from Pyrenees
Goiat has been attacking livestock in the Pyrenees. Photo: Generalitat de Catalunya

Goiat, a brown bear aged between 12 and 14, who was transferred to the Spanish Pyrenees from his native Slovenia two years ago, has angered local farmers after committing a killing spree against livestock.

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The bear, whose name means 'lad' in the Catalan, is blamed for killing livestock across the region of Pallars Sobirà and Val d’Aran and is acquired to have a particular taste for horses.

Since the start of the year, he has apparently carried out 15 separate attacks killing six mares, four colts, four sheep and a goat. He is also blamed for destroying two beehives in his quest for honey.

Facing pressure from local farmers, the Catalan government has announced plans to capture and remove Goiat from the region but his fate has yet to be decided.

The bear was relocated as part of the Pyroslife conservation project, a  an EU project to boost the bear population in the Pyrenees region straddling both Spain and France.

The project has seen the bear population grow from just three animals in the 1990s to 43 at the last census.

Experts are trying to recondition Goiat’s behaviour and put him off livestock using warning shots, lights, noises and repellents.

But if he fails to change his destructive habits hecould be transferred to an enclosed bear sanctuary, recaptured and transferred back to the wild in his native Slovenia.

As a last resort, authorities will consider the drastic option of euthanasia.

"One single specimen cannot put in danger 20 years of successful work," Ferran Miralles, director general of environmental policy in the Catalan government, told La Vanguardia. 

READ MORE:  Endangered Iberian lynx found living in hills near Barcelona 

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