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Afp

Rescuers find missing bear cub in southwest France

By AFP
media About 50 brown bears live on the French side of the Pyrenees mountains that straddle the border with Spain AFP/File

A malnourished bear cub who was rescued in southern France but later escaped from the home where he was being cared for, has been found and moved to a safe location, the national hunting and wildlife agency said on Wednesday.

"Douillous the bear cub is safe," the ONCFS said.

The five-month-old bear had been spotted by a farmer on Tuesday "as he approached a cage containing bait" to lure him.

The agency immediately sent out experts who caught him "after a chase through the fields".

The cub had initially been found on June 10 wandering alone through a French village in the southwestern Pyrenees region.

He was taken in by a person licensed to keep wild animals in Saint-Pierre-de-Trivisy, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Toulouse.

But on Sunday night, Douillous escaped, prompting a major search by a team of 12, among them three ONCFS wildlife experts.

Weighing a mere 8.25 kilogrammes (18 pounds), the little bear was separated from its mother before being weaned and was very weak when found in Couflens, a village on the French-Spanish border.

Although he had no obvious injuries, Douillous -- whose name comes from the area where he was found -- was malnourished and suffering from anaemia at the time, leaving him so weak he was unable to move properly.

When he went missing, officials said he stood very little chance of survival unless found in the coming hours.

About 50 brown bears live on the French side of the Pyrenees mountains that straddle the border with Spain.

France began reintroducing bears from Slovenia about 20 years ago, despite opposition from local farmers, after the native population was hunted to near extinction.

 
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