‘Stud bear’ confounds Pyrenees wildlife managers by taking over gene pool

‘Stud bear’ confounds Pyrenees wildlife managers by taking over gene pool

[Ed. – Now that’s a headline you don’t get to write every day.]

Pyros, the alpha bear of the Pyrenees, is on the move again.

In 1997, Pyros was brought from Slovenia to this mountain range on the Spanish-French border to replenish a brown bear population on the verge of extinction. And boy did he ever get the job done. About three-quarters of the nearly 40 bears now roaming the Pyrenees are his offspring, say French and Spanish conservation officials.

Pyros stands nearly 7 feet tall on his hind legs and weighs more than 500 pounds. His amorousness has made him a living legend. The lumbering Lothario has mated with at least eight different females, including some of his own offspring.

Wildlife officials in Spain now say they want to introduce a new male bear onto Pyros’s domain, in the name of genetic diversity. That is providing ammunition not only for critics, who say the interloper’s arrival would be an affront to Pyros, but also for skeptics, who say he doesn’t stand a chance.

If all goes according to plan, a bear will be transported from Slovenia and released into the wild in May, officials from Spain’s northern Catalonia region say.

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