A BEAR is believed to have chased more than 200 sheep off of a cliff in Spain.
It comes after 209 sheep were found dead at the base of a cliff in the Pyrenees near the border between France and Spain.
Experts believe the bear targeted one of the sheep, which sparked panic among the flock and sent the animals hurtling over a cliff to their death 200 meters below.
The mass death occured in a gorge outside the village of Lladorre in Catalonia.
An investigation found a bear was to blame after analyzing hair found on one of the sheep, which belonged to a farmer in Couflens, southwestern France.
Farmers have been incensed by the news, renewing the debate over the reintroduction of bears to the Pyrenees.
“Pastoralism, which is a guarantor of biodiversity and of a living and welcoming mountain region, is not compatible with the reintroduction of large predators,” said the French Confédération Paysanne (Farmers’ Federation) in a statement.
“The state, which is responsible for the reintroduction of the bears, should remove the ones that are causing problems and should not reintroduce any more bears,” it said.
Native Pyrenean brown bears almost died out in the 1990s due largely to hunting.
The first attempt to re-introduce them was in 1996-97 when two females and a male were brought from Slovenia.
There are now believed to be 35 brown bears on both sides of the Pyrenees.