TWO bears have been killed during wild boar hunts in northern Spain, sparking fury among conservationists.

Two brown bears were killed on Sunday during two different hunts, one in the Bardaji Valley (Ribagorza, Huesca) and another in the area of Ventanilla (Cervera de Pisuerga, Palencia).

In the former, which took place in the Spanish Pyrenees, the hunter claimed to have acted in ‘self-defence.’

The bear was named Sarousse and has become the third bear to be killed in the Pyrenees this year, just 10 days after police in the neighbouring Catalunya region said they had arrested one person over the death of another bear back in April.

The regional nature protection service has opened an investigation and an autopsy was held on Monday.

Meanwhile, the second killing, another female bear, was described as ‘accidental’ by the hunter.

The incident took place in Ventanilla, 120 km inland from the coastal city of Santander, with Environment Minister Teresa Ribera saying efforts were under way ‘to clarify what happened’.

The two cases have inflamed various conservation and animal protection organisations.

Many see it as ‘unjust’ that hunters have special permits which allow them to move around and hunt wild boar during the state of alarm.

In fact, in some communities, special permits have also been granted for hunting other species, such as rabbits.

Brown bears have been a protected species in Spain since 1973. They were reintroduced to the Pyrenees in the early 1990s, with animals brought in from Slovenia.

Spain is home to the most varied wildlife in all of Europe, including snakes, wolves, ibex, flamingo, lynx, deer, ibex, eagles and more.

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