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Spain searches for wounded bear and cub after brutal attack – Science-Environment News – Report by AFR

Spanish authorities are trying to locate a female brown bear and her cub who were separated after a brutal attack by a male bear, which was filmed on camera by two viewers.

The attack took place on a rocky mountainside in the northern region of Castilla y Leon.

Although the mother bear managed to fight off her attacker, she was wounded and separated from her cub, footage released late Tuesday showed.

“We know that the mother bear is wounded and we don’t know anything else, the investigation is still open,” a source in the regional environment ministry told AFP.

In the footage, which is two and a half minutes long, the two adult bears fight for about 40 seconds before falling over the edge and plunging down the rocky slope.

The male bear, which was much larger than the female, died from injuries sustained in the fall, officials said, while the injured mother eventually got up and tried to find her cub, although it wasn’t immediately clear if she was were reunited.

In a post on Twitter this season, the regional Ministry of Environment said that “mother bears often have to defend their cubs from attacks by adult males.”

During the mating season, male bears often fall into a frenzy of killing cubs for lust in order to induce estrus – a stage of sexual receptivity – in females who would otherwise only come into heat after raising their cubs to independence.

The behavior is referred to as sexually selected infanticide and has also been observed in birds, bats, primates, and big cats.

The mother, “seen with two cubs a few weeks ago, had already lost one of them, presumably after being attacked by this or that male,” the ministry said.

The team that searched for the wounded mother bear and her cub included veterinarians, environmentalists, bear conservation specialists and members of the Guardia Civil police.

“As with other animals, male bears have an instinct to kill cubs in order to mate again. They’re looking for female bears with cubs to kill,” Brown Bear Foundation director Guillermo Palomero told AFP.

“The female enters an oestrus period two or three days later (the cub has been killed) so that the male bear can copulate with her,” he said, describing such attacks as “very violent.”

According to the foundation, 330 brown bears roam the Cantabrian Mountains and another 70 are in the Pyrenees on the border between Spain and France.

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