Pyrenees: authorities seek to capture “problem” bear Goiat to equip it with a GPS

The Ministry of Ecological Transition has authorized its capture in order to equip it with a GPS collar which will allow it to be located and warn breeders if it gets too close to the herds.

The ministerial decree fell this Wednesday, June 22: the agents of the OFB (French office of biodiversity) are authorized to capture the Goiat bear on the departments of Ariège, Aude, Haute-Garonne , Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées and Pyrénées-Orientales. The idea is to equip it with a GPS collar which should make it possible to locate it permanently and thus to warn, upstream, the breeders if the animal were to approach the herds. He will have to be released on the spot, once the operation is finished.

Goiat has actually been involved in several attacks since arriving in the Pyrenees. His behavior has even led the French and Spanish authorities to classify him as a “problem bear” on several occasions. An expertise concluded in 2021 evoked a “criminal record” loaded: “it has, on several occasions, over very limited periods, caused a repetition of attacks reaching and exceeding the threshold of three or four per week, which it multiplied in 2017 and 2018 attacks on young or adult horses, which he has, on several occasions, caused damage to protected herds, in particular by entering a livestock building twice.

Identified thanks to his DNA, he had then been the subject of a first series of measurements. The OFB officers had been authorized to fire bullets into the animal’s hindquarters in order to scare it. Without success since his trace has since been definitively lost.

This 15-year-old male bear was introduced to the Pyrenees on June 6, 2016 on the Spanish slopes in the Pallars. It was then necessary to replace the Pyros. Since then, he has given the authorities a hard time. Some time after arriving in the Franco-Spanish mountains, he lost his GPS collar. Recaptured and reequipped in 2018, he got rid of the device again in 2020. And today, he remains untraceable.

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In France, he had been spotted in Ariège and then mainly in the Hautes-Pyrénées, where he would also have committed attacks. In 2021, he breeds with Caramellita and becomes the father of a little cub.

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