French President Emmanuel Macron has promised to halt the discharge of brown bears after a surge in sheep assaults, in accordance with a Pyrenean shepherd.

Jean-Pierre Pommies, who raises sheep and cows within the mountainous Pyrenees in southern France, stated the president had made assurances after contemplating the shepherds’ case at a gathering in Pau on Tuesday.

“He promised that the re-insertions [of bears] are completed, that he will not launch anymore… He was capable of perceive that it is a huge downside for us,” Mr Pommies stated.

“Now we have reached the underside, and the state of affairs was ridiculous for Pyrenean herders.”

The reintroduction of brown bears to the Pyrenees – which spans France, Spain and Andorra – is a part of an effort from the 1990s to avoid wasting the species from extinction within the area.

Ten bears have been launched in whole since 1996, with the newest being two Slovenian females freed in 2018 throughout Mr Macron’s first full yr as president.

This transfer, nevertheless, has been largely unwelcome in native herding communities, who blame it for a steep enhance in assaults on livestock.

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The brown bear inhabitants within the Pyrenees is believed to have doubled since 2010 to 40, whereas assaults have additionally doubled from a as soon as constant 100-200 assaults per yr to almost 400 in 2018.

Jean-Pierre Pommies (centre) says he believes a bear-shepherding coexistence is 'incompatiable'
Picture: Jean-Pierre Pommies (centre) says he believes shepherds and the bears can’t coexist

Mr Pommies stated he believed shepherds and the bears had been “incompatible” and that his pal had misplaced lots of of sheep final yr.

The flock, which had grown distressed through the assault, fell to their deaths from a cliff.

He stated: “There have been 256 piled up on the backside. They needed to end a few of them off with their knives. For us shepherds, that’s traumatic.”

Mr Pommies has been a very vocal particular person on the subject, having bartered with the French president for a gathering by threatening to launch his animals into the trail of the Tour de France route final yr.

However whereas the shepherd has maintained the coexistence of herders and the bears can’t work, he says he nonetheless feels a keenness towards the predator.

“I really like bears,” he stated. “I am obsessed with them as animals. However I really like that they dwell fortunately in Yellowstone, in Canada, in Romania and Slovenia.”

Within the Pyrenees, “the people who find themselves pro-bear say that it used to work for the old-timers, that they used to take care of it. And that’s utterly false. Historical past reveals that males have at all times killed them”.

A deputy atmosphere minister who additionally attended Tuesday’s assembly later spoke to Sud Radio concerning the president’s affirmations.

Mr Macron “reaffirmed that we haven’t any plans to reintroduce [more] bears,” he stated, including: “It was necessary to inform them this.”