The arrival of the summer season notably increases the number of visitors and the leisure and nature activities in the mountain areas of the Cantabrian mountain range. Are areas with presence of grizzly bears. With the objective of improve the safety of both plantigrades and visitorsthe LIFE project ‘Bears with a future’ has just launched a animation video titled ‘Tips for Touring the Grizzly Bear Mountains’.
The audiovisual is made with traditional techniques, with image-by-image treatment, to recreate with maximum fidelity the natural movements of the characters and animals. It is part of the information campaign of the LIFE project, which develops different conservation actions for the Cantabrian bear in climate change scenarios.
The ultimate goal of the video is contribute to the compatibility between recreational activities in nature and the presence of bears in a context like the current one, in which both these activities and the bear population are increasing.
The video, which lasts 5:00 minutes, tells the story of two groups of visitors who behave very differently while touring a bear mount: on the one hand, a father with his daughter, who act responsibly and enjoy of the excursion, and on the other hand, a couple with inappropriate behavior that puts the bears and themselves at risk.
The counterpoint between both groups serves to emphasize what to do (and what not to do) to avoid a fortuitous encounter with a bear, and what to do if this exceptional situation still occurs.
Bears avoid contact with people
The protagonists who follow the appropriate recommendations They always use the authorized paths and trails and do not go into the thick vegetation. They don’t follow bear trails or go near dead animals., which can be a food source for the bear and other species. Besides, they keep their dog on a leash and don’t throw away the remains of their picnic. “His experience of him in the bush, observing bears from a distance and responsibly, is very satisfactory,” highlights the Brown Bear Foundation (FOP).
In the other story, the couple with erroneous and uncivil behavior tries to take a selfie near the bears and try to pet a bear cub, provoking the defensive response of the mother. On the road, they will end up being fined after chase a bear on the road with your vehicleinstead of slowing down, activate emergency lights and wait for the animal to leave the road.
The video also addresses the recommendations for action in the event of a possible encounter with a bear, even in the event of a charge by the animal or a very exceptional attack situation.
“It should be emphasized that in Europe bears avoid contact with peopleand they usually detect it well in advance, discreetly moving away from the place without the person realizing it in most cases”, highlights the FOP.
However, in the face of a fortuitous encounter, one should never react aggressively or by shouting. Nor should an approach be attemptedwhich the bear would identify as a threat.
The story and the style of the audiovisual is aimed at all audiences. The LIFE project will intensify its campaign in the coming months throughout the distribution area of the Cantabrian bear, with special emphasis on those spaces that receive the greatest influx of visitors.
Effects of climate change on bears
In addition, the ‘Bears with a Future’ project highlights the importance of extend the informative actions also during the winter “to raise awareness that the rise in winter temperatures in the mountains due to climate change will predictably affect hibernation, shortening it or even eliminating it, which will cause more bears to be active in the mountains”. With this objective, the promoters of the project will connect with a hundred associations from the winter sports sector and the hunting sector.
The video has already been made available to the Hiking and Mountain Sports Federations of the Cantabrian communities, information points of national and natural parks, as well as all groups involved in conservation or leisure activities in bear mountains.
Finally, the LIFE project ‘Bears with a Future’ has conceived this video so that it can be disclosed not only in the Cantabrian mountain range, but also in the Pyrenees and other bear mountains in Europe.
The execution has been carried out by The Glow Animation Studio, from the production company Glow, recognized, among other awards, with the European Film Award and a Goya from the Academy of Cinematographic Arts and Sciences of Spain. The original idea and the script have been conceived by the FOP.
Coordinated by the FOP, LIFE ‘Bears with a Future’ is co-financed by the European Commission and has as partners the Biodiversity Foundation of the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO) and the Natural Heritage Foundation of the Junta de Castilla y Lion. The Government of the Principality of Asturias and the Fundación Tierra Pura also participate as collaborators.
More visits to the House of the Bear
On the other hand, the Bear Foundation of Asturias (FOA) has revealed that Between April 11 and 17, 417 people toured the facilities, which represents an increase of 9.7% compared to 2019 (last year visits were marked by restrictions on mobility due to the pandemic).
The main novelties this year were the installation of panels on the Asturian ecosystems and various elements related to beekeeping, outside the enclosure, and also the temporary exhibition ‘Cortinos. Traditional apiaries of western Asturias’, which could be visited until last day 2.
Most of the visitors who came to the facilities of the Casa del Oso during Holy Week were national tourists, mainly from Madrid (119), the Basque Country (59), Castilla y León (32) and Catalonia (25). In addition, 57 Asturian visitors attended the Casa del Oso, the majority from Oviedo (25) and Gijón (15). Finally, fourteen French and two Dutch also enjoyed the exhibition proposal.
On the other hand, the environmental informants of the FOA advised 682 hikers who visited the Somiedo Natural Park, Las Ubiñas-La Mesa or the Valles del Oso Natural Park during Holy Week. They carried out 239 surveys on the degree of knowledge of the brown bear and on nature tourism and distributed different brochures with information on good practices in the natural environment.
The initiative has the support of the EDP Foundation and the Baldajos Group, which facilitates sustainable mobility by donating two emission-free electric vehicles.
FOP website on ‘Bears with a future’: https://fundacionosopardo.org/proyecto-life-osos-con-futuro/