Brown bear seen for first time in 150 years in northern Spanish park

Jack Guy, CNNUpdated 5th May 2020
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(CNN) — A film crew working in a national park in northwestern Spain has captured footage of the first brown bear believed to have been seen in the local area in 150 years.
Cameras left in the Natural Park O Invernadeiro, in Ourense, Galicia, as part of a movie project, recorded a young male bear, thought to be around three to five years old, according to a statement from production company Zeitun Films.
In the video the bear can be seen snuffling around in the grass in front of one camera, and a night vision camera shows the animal scratching his back against a tree trunk.
Brown bears have been a protected species in Spain since 1973 and have historically been known to live in the region of Galicia, albeit intermittently, according to the statement.
It is believed to be the first time in 150 years that a brown bear has been seen in this part of southern Galicia, near the border with Portugal.
The crew is working with environmental experts at the park who said the bear would have lived in O Invernadeiro for the whole winter, according to the statement.
This means the park will be able to support other bear populations in the future, they added.
"After years of conservation work the O Invernadeiro protected area has become a suitable habitat for brown bears," reads the statement.
The crew placed various cameras in the park two years ago for a project called "Montaña ou Morte," produced by Felipe Lage and directed by Pela del Alamo.
The bear is thought to have spent the whole winter period in the park.
The bear is thought to have spent the whole winter period in the park.
Montaña ou Morte/Zeitun Films
The team have been investigating the lives of wild animals in the park and other spaces for three years, Del Alamo told CNN via email.
Boars, deer, and civets had all been recorded on film, but no one expected to see a bear, he added.
"There had never been a bear sighting in the area before," said Del Alamo. "It was a chance discovery."
As things stand there is not a stable population of female bears, he said, which would be necessary for the species to settle in the area.
O Invernadeiro covers 6,000 hectares, according to the official website, and is also home to wolves, boars, deer and wild mountain cats.