THE death of the last female brown bear in the Spanish Pyrenees marks the end of the species.
Camille, who was thought to be about 20 years old, has not been sighted since February 5, and is now “almost certainly dead”.
Her death has been described as “the blackest of omens” for the endangered species, by Ecologistas en Accion.
The group blames the French and Spanish authorities for failing to offer adequate protection to the few remaining animals.
The group confirmed that despite keeping a close eye on the bear population for the last 30 years and investing tens of millions of euros into saving the endangered animal, numbers have been steadily decreasing.
In fact the entire population of European brown bears (Ursus arctos) in the Pyrenees is thought to number between just 19 and 22, following the relocation of bears from Slovenia and Croatia to help boost the native species.
Earlier this year the French government caved in to pressure from shepherds who claimed the bears were killing their livestock.
It announced it would abandon a 20-year initiative to repopulate the Pyrenees with brown bears.
The last native female bear living on the French side was shot by hunters in 2004.