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ENVIRONMENT

VIDEO: Spain searches for wounded bear and cub after brutal attack and fall

Spanish authorities are trying to find a brown bear and her cub which were separated after a brutal attack by a male bear that was caught on camera by two onlookers.

VIDEO: Spain searches for wounded bear and cub after brutal attack and fall
What does it mean when an Austrian says "to tie a bear on someone"? (Stotck Photo by UWE ZUCCHI / DPA / AFP)

The assault took place on a rocky mountainside in the northern Castilla y León region.

Although the mother bear managed to fight off her assailant, she was wounded and separated from her cub, footage released late on Tuesday showed.

“We know that the mother bear is wounded and we don’t know anything else, the investigation is still open,” a source in the regional environment ministry told AFP.

In the footage, which runs for two-and-a-half minutes, the two adult bears fight for about 40 seconds before falling over the edge and crashing down the rocky hillside.

The male bear, which was much larger than the female, died of injuries sustained in the fall, officials said, while the injured mother eventually got up and tried to find her cub, although it was not immediately clear whether they were reunited.

In a post on Twitter, the regional environment ministry said during the current season “mother bears often have to defend their cubs from attack by adult males”.

During mating season, male bears often enter a frenzy of lust-fuelled cub killing with the aim of triggering oestrus — a period of sexual receptivity — in females who would otherwise only come on heat after raising their cubs to independence.

The behaviour is called sexually selected infanticide, and has also been observed in birds, bats, primates and big cats.

The mother “which was seen with two cubs several weeks ago, had already lost one of them, presumably after being attacked by this male or another,” the ministry said.

Among the team searching for the wounded mother bear and her cub were vets, environmental wardens, bear conservation specialists and members of the Guardia Civil police.

“As happens with other animals, male bears have have an instinct to kill cubs with the aim of mating again. They look for female bears with cubs that they can kill,” the head of the Brown Bear Foundation Guillermo Palomero told AFP.

“The female enters an oestrus period two or three days after (the cub has been killed) so the male bear can copulate with her,” he said, describing such attacks as “very violent”.

According to the foundation, 330 brown bears roam the Cantabrian mountains and another 70 are in the Pyrenees on the border between Spain and France.

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ENVIRONMENT

You can now be fined €2,000 in Spain for leaving cardboard in the street

Two stiff fines handed out to Madrid residents who left cardboard boxes next to recycling bins rather than inside them have brought to attention a new Spain-wide law against leaving waste on the street.

You can now be fined €2,000 in Spain for leaving cardboard in the street

It’s not uncommon in Spain to see large cardboard boxes sitting on the street next to the bins, instead of inside them.

Whether it’s as a result of the contenedores de basura (bins) being full and the boxes not fitting through the slits, leaving cardboard by the side of the bin is something that most of us living in Spain have probably been guilty of at some point.

The alarming news is that if you commit this misdemeanour in Spain, you can now actually be fined for it.

A law was passed by the Spanish government in April 2022, but it is only now coming to light following two cases of people being fined for doing exactly this.

Article 108 of law 07/2022 states that “the abandonment, including littering, the dumping and uncontrolled management of any type of non-hazardous waste puts people’s health at serious risk or is causing serious damage or deterioration to the environment”, and it is therefore an offence.

Article 109 of the same law states that the fine for minor infractions can be up to €2,001, for serious infractions penalties range from €2,001 to €100,000 and for very serious offences penalties go from €100,000 to €3.5 million.

In late September 2022, a man in the Barajas neighbourhood of Madrid received a fine from the Madrid City Council, for “leaving a box outside the dumpster meant for the disposal of cardboard”. The city hall decided that he should pay €2,001.

This is the second fine that has occurred recently, with another woman being fined in Madrid’s Aravaca neighbourhood for leaving a large cardboard box outside the bins, which contained baby nappies she bought on the internet.

She was identified because her name and address were on a sticker on the outside of the box, but she has claimed that it wasn’t her who left the box by the side of the bin but rather one of the building’s concierges who was responsible for taking out the neighbours’ rubbish. 

There is no evidence that towns and cities in other regions in Spain are currently handing out such large fines to their citizens, but Spanish law states they are now at liberty to do so, and municipalities can also implement their own laws and fines relating to incorrect waste disposal. 

Madrid City Council has defended its actions pointing out that it has recently drawn up its own new law for the Cleaning of Public Spaces, Waste Management and Circular Economy, and that those who are fined can reduce the amount by 40 percent if they pay in the first 15 days after receiving the fine.

The aim of this is to have a cleaner city by implementing measures that “enable the reduction of waste generation to guarantee the protection of the environment and people’s health, and to promote a greater collective awareness,” the council said in a statement.

The draft bill is set to be approved in December and includes new penalties for offences such as leaving large cardboard boxes outside their corresponding bin, with proposed fines of up to €750 for not properly recycling bottles or other glass objects.

Madrid also plans to hand out €3,000 to revellers who don’t throw away bottles and other waste from botellones (outdoor drinking gatherings).

Between now and December, when the bill will be approved, citizens can put forward their arguments stating whether they believe the sanctions are too high and if they are justified before it is voted upon by the council.  

Madrid city mayor José Luis Martínez-Almeida said he was “surprised” by the high fines but explained that the final amounts will be enshrined in the new decree. He hasn’t indicated what will happen to those who have already been slapped with the higher €2,001 penalties.

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