02 Apr 2016

Pyros the Bear

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Management experts imported a male brown bear from Slovenia to the Pyrenees in order to enhance reproduction opportunities for the endangered bear population, but recently the same Big Brains have been worried that their imported bear may have been too good at his job. These kinds of people are never happy.

Wall Street Journal:

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. Animal specialists say there is an urgent need for new blood. Pyros’s hold on the female bears, they say, poses a threat to the gene pool. …

“It’s like what happened to the royal houses of Europe that intermarried so much,” passing on infirmities such as hemophilia, explained Ivan Afonso, conservation director for the Catalan county of Val d’Aran. …

Regional and county officials debate whether a younger bear can win a mating contest with the acknowledged master. Pyros is about 27 years old, and it is unusual for brown bears older than 30 to survive in the wild, said Santiago Palazón, a wildlife specialist for Catalonia’s regional government. “He’s been hanging on and hanging on and hanging on,” said Mr. Palazón. “But he’s reached the point of dying.”

Other Pyros watchers say the new bear’s sponsors may be underestimating their tall, dark and hairy hero. “He’s superman…a myth,” said Carlos Barrera, the head of the government in Val d’Aran, the heart of Pyros’s turf.

For the greater good of the bear community, the only sure solutions are either “killing [Pyros], sterilizing him or returning him to Slovenia,” said Mr. Afonso.

Thanks to his virility, Pyros may be the only bear anywhere with his own groupies. Spanish Pyros fans started a Twitter account under his name identifying him as the “father of all the bears.” French public television dubbed him “the stud of the Pyrenees” and a French newspaper likened him to Casanova.

A couple of years ago, Pyrenean officials did broach the idea of castrating Pyros. That trial balloon attracted media interest beyond scientific journals. “Randy bear faces the snip,” blared the headline in the U.K tabloid, Metro.

The proposal was dropped as being excessively cruel—as well as impractical, given the difficulty of capturing him.

6 Feedbacks on "Pyros the Bear"


Maybe send him to live out his days with Bill Clinton .

jerry the geek



Isn’t a smaller, limited gene pool a bad thing when applied to survival of a species?
Maybe humans should just mind their own business.

bob sykes

If genetic diversity is the issue, the biologically correct solution is to import a few more Slovenian bears.

Maggie's Farm

Tuesday morning links

Pyros the Bear Scientists seek to resurrect the aurochs, the extinct beast that inspired cave paintings Grammar: Did the Serial Comma Take a Hit? Parents feed babies candy, soda, and chips. What does this have to do with the industry? Ameri

Dink Newcomb

I would not even pretend to be an expert on any of the issues involved (although I was in intensive amateur Olympic class training for a shot at the sex title at one time in my life, alas, time moves on! Except for Pyros!) but it appears to me that a twofer is in order. How about a virile male AND a totally unrelated fecund female after the Pyros issue has been resolved. LOTS of genetic diversity with no male chest pounding!
That extra money would be very well spent if it was removed from the absurd expense of providing quickly destroyed habitation for unwelcome “refugees”.


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