PARIS, Sept. 20 (UPI) — Two endangered bears may have been killed in the Pyrenees Mountains, the French Secretary of State for Ecology said.
Chantal Jouanno said the National Hunting and Wildlife Agency is investigating a claim the bears were killed and legal action will be taken if it is true, Radio France Internationale reported.
“At the moment we cannot say whether a bear has been killed or not. It is just suspicion,” Jouanno said. “It would be a blow to years of conservation work. Bears are a protected and threatened species.”
Jouanno ordered the probe after last month’s claim by a group opposed to the reintroduction of bears into France.
“Some people are doing a bit of clearing up,” Philippe Lacube, identified as an anti-bear activist, said. “I can honestly tell you that two bears were killed this spring in Haute-Ariege (an area in the Pyrenees).”
Years after bears died out in France, three of the animals were brought to the country from Slovenia to reintroduce them into their former habitat. Five more were brought in after two of the original imported bears were shot by hunters.
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