04 Apr Brown Bear Sighting in the Cantabrian Mountain Range
Are you passionate about nature and animals? Discover one of the last refuges of the brown bear sighting in Spain and see how these large mammals live in the Cantabrian Mountains, with Naturalimits.
Spain is a privileged country if you want to see bears in the wild. Not only because of the imposing sight of the plant-eating mammal, but also because of its natural habitat. Specifically in the Iberian Peninsula, the Cantabrian Mountains is one of those places.
A must-do activity!
Somiedo Natural Park, an ideal place for brown bear sightings
Probably, if a bear could choose a perfect home for the life it likes, it would choose Asturias, and in particular the Somiedo Natural Park.
Bear sightings are mainly made in spring, summer and early autumn, when the bear is most active and can be observed more easily.
With the didactic resources of the equipment we will learn about the regulations and zoning of the protected area and, before going out into the mountains, we will remember notions of safety and sustainability.
Depending on the weather conditions and the behaviour of the animals, we will approach different viewpoints to identify the habitat of the brown bear, and try to locate an individual. After settling into the waiting area, we actively search for the animals with the telescope while our guide tells us about the natural history of these valleys.
Community of Cantabria, Saja-Besaya Natural Park
Not far from Somiedo, the bear population in the Cantabrian region is increasing year after year.
They are mainly concentrated in places such as Liébana, Alto Campoo and Valderredible. Cantabria is a region that does not have the great viewpoints found in Asturias, but the tracking and hiking routes that lead to the observation points are well worth the effort.
In green Cantabria, the Saja-Besaya Natural Park is framed between the catchment areas of the rivers of the same name. Its terrain is shaped by the deep valleys that the course of the streams has carefully shaped.
Of great value in terms of flora and fauna, Saja – Besaya surprises with the ever-changing beauty of its mountains. With a large number of trails, the park is an ideal place for trekking and hiking at different levels. Animal lovers can also enjoy watching species such as the Cantabrian brown bear.
Brown Bear in danger
Unfortunately, the Ursus arctos pyrenaicus (the Cantabrian brown bear) is on the verge of extinction. Although the population has increased slightly in recent years, thanks to efforts to protect it, the threat is still very serious. Poaching, habitat degradation due to deforestation and encounters with humans have been the main causes. An unfortunate reality.
The bear is an amazing, ferocious animal, standing up to two metres tall. It is one of the last powerful representatives of wildlife in the Iberian Peninsula.
Respect for wildlife is vital. And in that sense, we must demand that sightings are responsible. Interacting with animals can lead to the degradation of their habitat, modify their habits and, consequently, cause serious damage to the species.
Best time for sightings in spring
The probability of bear sightings increases in spring and then decreases until late summer. For this reason it is worth travelling in spring, as the probability of seeing them with guarantees, and in good conditions, increases at this time of year.
Naturalimits, know the best locations to get a good sighting.
Bears has certain routines that must be known in order to be able to see it up close without disturbing it. It should be borne in mind that they spend the long winters locked up (hibernation) in their den or cave and, when spring begins, they come out enthusiastically.
They take walks through the forest with their cubs in search of food, and the males, for their part, go in search of a sexual partner (bears are very promiscuous and mate several times a day). These mammals can walk up to 20 kilometres a day. Bears are constantly on the move.
It should be noted that without an expert guide the chances of spotting a bear are almost nil.
Looking for brown bears with your guide is the best way to get to know this natural heritage, and watching these wild animals roaming free can be an unforgettable experience. A must on your next visit to Asturias.
You need to know the terrain in depth and understand how they behave, and what their daily habits are. It is not advisable to make an expedition on your own. It would be a great risk. Bears tend to run away from humans, and the few attacks that have occurred have been provoked by the ignorance of visitors. And of course, the law strictly prohibits disturbing or disturbing them. The preservation of these natural areas is essential for their reproduction.
Necessary equipment for brown bear watching:
Participants in the Brown Bear Sighting should bring:
Discreet warm clothing (dark colours) and waterproofs
Good hiking shoes
Sun protection (hats, sunscreen, sunglasses…)
The guides will give you:
Observation equipment (binoculars and telescope).
Decalogue of good practices for sightings of brown bears and other wild animals:
Precisely, in order to work on the conservation of fauna and the habitat of animals at risk of extinction in Spain, such as the bear, the wolf or the Iberian lynx, the guide offers a decalogue of good practices for the observation of our fauna:
Legal regulations must be known and respected.
Observation should be based on respect for the animals, the ecosystem and the people with whom the environment is shared.
Observers should try to remain unnoticed by the animals, avoiding interfering with their natural behaviour.
As spectators, we must behave politely and cordially with the other users of the natural environment.
Inappropriate behaviour must be reported to the authorities.
The enjoyment of the activity must include the interpretation of the natural environment, ethnographic heritage, ways of life, local populations, etc.
Avoid sharing information about the presence of these species in specific places.
We must not deliberately attract or disturb the animals.
It is advisable not to have close encounters with the animals.
It is recommended to rely on the mediation of companies and responsible professional guides.
Travel this spring with me to all these places, and learn, observe, and enjoy the brown bears, and the nature of these wonderful parks, biosphere reserves. All the information HERE