It is estimated that the bear colony exceeds the 200 individuals, mostly in western Asturias. This fact speaks for itself: Asturias has the highest environmental quality of the Peninsula. That is why watching bears in freedom is a responsible exercise, subject to strict regulations and growing regulations.
Only a few years ago, few people could boast of having seen a bear in freedom; at the most some trace or excrement. At present, brown bears are regularly seen in the Asturian mountains because their population has tripled in recent decades.
Can we see bears?
The possibilities are nil without the accompaniment of qualified guides, with very precise knowledge about the territory and the behavior of the plantigrades. Venturing on your own initiative in the Asturian mountains, not only is it a waste of time but also a recklessness, because they may feel threatened by human presence and react violently. In addition, it is strictly prohibited and punishable by law to disturb or disturb them. We can go with Geoface.es to your route to see bears. They live in integral reserves whose visit is prohibited in some cases and is restricted access in others. The preservation of these natural spaces has been essential for the reproduction of bears.
Even with everything, we can see them. We must follow some basic rules and be patient. First, hire the services of professionals. They will indicate if the conditions are favorable or not, and will guide us to the most suitable observatories or observatories. The sighting is never guaranteed. Do not despair. If necessary, you will have to access these places for more than a day or two. We are more than a kilometer away. From the observatories, with our telescopes and / or binoculars we will comb the slopes and clearings of the forests where they hide. The best time to do it is spring, because when the heat is squeezed, they rarely leave the interior of the forest.
If we have not had luck with the bears, we will have it for other reasons. We will feel the emotion and magic of nature, we will understand the incalculable value that protected spaces have; scanning every corner with our teles. The bears coexist with other species characteristic of the European deciduous forests in general and of the Iberian fauna in particular: raptors, deer, wild boar, chamois, wildcats, foxes and wolves.
In what areas do brown bears live?
Adult bears with cubs and big males are spotted every year in the mountains of Teverga, Somiedo, Cangas del Narcea, Degaña and Ibias; territories crossed by large autochthonous forest masses and characterized by an excellent state of conservation. This is the area (southwest of Asturias) with greater presence of individuals from the entire Cantabrian mountain range.
The gradual recovery of the species in Asturias seems to end a tragic history. King Fávila, son of Don Pelayo, was killed by a bear in the 739 year. At that time they were very abundant and killing them was a way to demonstrate the value before the subjects. For centuries it was the largest hunting trophy. Once banned, poaching reduced the population for decades. In 1962 there were in Asturias 77 bears.
The fact that two hundred specimens have been harvested - thanks to decades of conservationist policies - is not synonymous with long-term survival. For this to be a reality and the danger of extinction was completely removed it would be necessary to reach the number of 500 players. Researchers estimate that in a bone population only a quarter have the ability to procreate. So the Cantabrian brown bear would only be really safe when it adds at least 2.000 individuals.
The challenge for the coming years is the identification and adaptation of the corridors through which males migrate between the west and eastern Asturias. The eastern Osseous population has been stagnant for years, with no more than 30 individuals; the same number as when 1989 started recovery programs for the species. The Oso Foundation opted in its day to move specimens to achieve an artificial crossing and favor the recovery of the eastern subgroup. This idea was discarded by the administration. The settlement of bears in the central area of Asturias if it seems to grow, which would favor a future migratory corridor. The Fund for the Protection of Wild Animals (FAPAS) has already identified close to about thirty copies in the councils of Santo Adriano, Proaza and Teverga. The demographic progression in this connection zone has been spectacular since the 2004 year was the first time a bear with young was found.
Protectionist measures are increasing in search of long-term survival. Since the 2005 year, FAPAS itself has been developing the "Fruits for the Bear" project. A commitment to increase the number of fruit trees, cherry trees and chestnut trees in areas of bone presence.
How do bears live?
Its ideal habitat is the mixed forest, consisting of beech, oak and birch, heather, blueberries and blueberries. They eat tender leaves and shoots and dig for tubers, roots and insects. The steep and steep slopes are very much to the liking of dams with offspring, which move away from the males during the heat to protect their puppies. Sometimes males kill offspring they do not recognize as theirs to ensure that their genetic inheritance prevails. The bears defend themselves in their own way, they allow themselves to be covered by as many males as possible so that all of them can attribute the paternity of the cubs. The time of heat is in May or June.
The Cantabrian brown bear is a solid-looking animal, short and rounded ears, short tail and a very abundant and thick coat, agile, with great speed at a gallop. They have varied colors but the most abundant is the brownish-yellow. The male can exceed the 180 kg. of weight.
The young are born during hibernation, helpless, with little fur and no teeth. The variety of the coat facilitates population censuses. The characteristics of the mother added to those of the children help to differentiate one family group from another.
The females have territorial differences and it is easy to associate them with specific places. Adult males are much more explorers. It has nocturnal habits and can travel tens of kilometers in a night in search of food.
Who brings us?
Wildlife sighting companies They facilitate transport and a guide interpreter of the natural environment.
Almost the entire Cantabrian mountain range is protected by the natural value of the spaces it houses, where mammal and bird species that are representative of European deciduous forests inhabit. On the coast, wetlands, cliffs or islets are a refuge for birds and mustelids. In the waters of the Cantabrian Sea the Kraken lives with different species of cetaceans and other so many of marine birds. Geoface offers different options for sighting the Asturian fauna: brown bear, deer, wolf, Egyptian vulture or golden eagle in a scientific and responsible way.
We can go with Geoface.es to watch bears.
We will wear comfortable footwear, hat or cap, protective cream, raincoat, mute, water, food and ground telescope or binoculars.Text: © Ramón Molleda for desdeasturias.com