PYRENEES, SPAIN AND FRANCE — Hundreds of sheep plunged to their deaths in the Pyrenees[d] on the France-Spain border after being chased by a brown bear.
After the native Pyrenean [e]brown bears were wiped out by hunters, the French government began repopulate the species in 1996 with brown bears brought in from Slovenia, the Local reported.
A descendant of one of these brown bears became the furry predator that launched an attack on one of a flock of sheep, which scared the fleece off of some 200 others, causing all of them to hurtle over 650-feet-high in a bid to escape.
One hundred and sixty-nine sheep were discovered in a Spanish village called Lladorre, while some more were found on the French side of the border. The Local said bear fur was discovered on one of the sheep's bodies, pointing to a bear being the most likely culprit in prompting the mass accidental suicide. This incident comes almost exactly a year after more than 130 other sheep died in similar fashion.
Although the French government will reimburse the the farmer for his loss, the incident has upset farmers on both sides of the border, as they blame the bears for the attacks. A local branch of the French farmers' federation Confédération Paysanne de l'Ariège is upset as well, as sheep breeders have protested the presence of bears and wolves in the past, which threaten their livestock,
Currently, there is about 35 brown bears that exist in the Pyrenees. Although protected in the region, a bear was found with a gunshot wound to the chest in northern Spain last year.