Brown bear Cachou found dead in Pyrenees was poisoned

Brown bear, photo: NOAA on Unsplash
Brown bear, photo: NOAA on Unsplash

The six-year-old brown bear Cachou, who was found dead in the Spanish Pyrenees in April, was poisoned with a toxic substance used in antifreeze, Spanish prosecutors said Thursday.

They confirmed the main suspect was a forest ranger who was arrested last month. In a statement sent to AFP, the prosecutor’s office in the northern Catalan town of Lerida said the bear died as a result of “poisoning with ethylene glycol”, a toxic compound used in antifreeze.

Cachou was found dead in Val D’Aran on the 9th of April in the Spanish Pyrenees. A year before he died, Cachou had gotten a GPS collar. That’s how rangers discovered he was dead. He hadn’t moved for days.

He was the first of three brown bears to be killed in the Pyrenees this year. In June, a five-year-old male bear was shot dead near a ski station in Ariege on the French side of the border. So far, investigation has turned up no leads.

At the end of November, a hunter shot dead the female brown bear Sarousse in the Spanish Pyrenees. Regional officials said the hunter “claimed to have acted in self-defense”.

Close to extinction, the brown bear was reintroduced to the Pyrenees in the early 1990s, with animals brought in from Slovenia. There are about 50 bears today, but their presence has caused tension with animal farmers.

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