CANTABRIAN BROWN BEAR
Cantabrian brown bear refers to a population of Eurasian brown bears (Ursus actos arctos) living in the Cantabrian Mountains of Spain. In Spain, it is known as the Oso pardo cantábrico and, more locally, in Asturias as Osu. It is timid and will avoid human contact whenever possible. The Cantabrian brown bear can live for around 25-30 years in the wild. Weighing in at an average of 130kg for females and 180kg for males and measuring between 1.6m – 2m in length and between 0.90m -1m in height, the Cantabrian brown bear, or Oso pardo cantábrico, is one of the smallest of the brown bear family.
Historically, the Cantabrian brown bear was seen by man to be competition for food. Having once roamed most of the mountains of the Iberian peninsular, the Cantabrian brown bear’s population was reduced in the first half of the twentieth century to two isolated pockets in the mountains of the Cordillera Cantábrica and to a tiny enclave in the Pyrenees. Systematic persecution through hunting led to a drastic decline in numbers, a total ban not coming into force until 1973.
Latest, most optimistic figures for the Cantabrian mountains give a total of around 140 bears split between a population straddling the borders of Asturias, León, Galicia and Cantabria.