The relatively high temperatures of late autumn and early winter are altering the timing hibernation of some bears in the Pyrenees.
The technicians of the monitoring program of this species and the Project PirosLife estimated that all specimens of this species were from mid-December in its hibernation caves but the films collected on days 8, 11 and 12 January have shown that at least Caramellita bear family still enjoying the landscape in the Lladorre area (Pallars Sobirà) in the Natural Park of High Pyrenees.
Caramelita was observed and filmed in May 2014 and the images obtained these days confirm that now takes care of three cubs born in 2015.
“Early in the year the whole family should be found in a cave in the Natural Park of High Pyrenees, but surely because of the relatively high temperatures and the low amount of snow, the animals have been delayed hibernation” have detailed the technicians of the monitoring program.
Live open-air while they can
Experts remind that as hibernation of bears is not total (other mammals such as marmots and dormice permanently sleeps during the winter) may specimens as Caramellita and their offspring have begun the period of winter break but due to favourable weather conditions for food availability, they have been awakened and come out to eat and walk. In this sense, the experts consider highly likely that when the definitive snow starts, the bears retake the hibernation again inside their caves.
Under normal conditions, the bears of the Pyrenees begin winter in their caves taking advantage of forces accumulated during the autumn months. The vegetation of the Aran Valley and the Pallars (especially oak acorns) has facilitated this season good nutrition for all members of the family of bears in the Pyrenees (which currently consists of thirty specimens).
One of the automatic cameras installed in the Natural Park of High Pyrenees with the collaboration of PirosLife Project allowed capturing images of a female with a first year cub in early December, just days before the two entered the cave where they will spend this winter.