French cheer bear’s return

TOULOUSE, France – Best of luck, Balou!

Hundreds of people – hugging teddy bears, dressed as bears, singing bear-loving songs – rallied Saturday in support of four bears released in the French Pyrenees in a contentious repopulation effort.

A 4-year-old male, nicknamed Balou and weighing 194 pounds, was set free Friday, the fourth brown bear to find a mountain home here in recent years.

Fearing clashes with angry farmers, the demonstrators switched their rally venue from Bagneres-de-Luchon, near where Balou was released, to the regional capital, Toulouse. The march unfolded peacefully, and included top Green Party politicians and members of animal rights groups, including the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and the World Wildlife Federation.

Pyrenean farmers have protested the program, fearing bear attacks on their livestock. After brown bears disappeared from the Pyrenees in the 1980s, authorities released three bears in the region in 1996, and one of them killed 165 sheep last year.

“We understand the problems of the farmers … but the bear should not be a scapegoat in the crisis of farming life,” environmentalist Christian Agisu said.

Another marcher, Roland Guichard, called the reintroduction of bears “a reparation of past losses.”

“Don’t Touch My Bear” read some placards. Some marchers chanted “Bears, shepherds, sheepdogs – let’s live together.”

Talk to us

More in Local News

NO CAPTION NECESSARY: Logo for the Cornfield Report by Jerry Cornfield. 20200112
No right turns on red gets a look, a bid to expand sports betting arrives

It’s a new week. Here’s what’s happening on Day 22 of the 2023 session of the Washington Legislature

A man was injured and a woman found dead Sunday night after an RV fire in Marysville. (Marysville Fire District)
Woman dead, man burned in Marysville RV fire

The Snohomish County Fire Marshal’s Office and Marysville Police Department were investigating the cause of the fire.

The final 747 is revealed during a celebration in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2023. The plane was rolled out Dec. 6 from the Everett assembly factory and delivered to the customer, Atlas Air. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
‘Still jaw-dropping’: Last Boeing 747 takes the stage in Everett

Thousands, including actor John Travolta, gathered at Boeing’s Everett factory to bid goodbye to the “Queen of the Skies.”

Logo for news use, for stories regarding Washington state government — Olympia, the Legislature and state agencies. No caption necessary. 20220331
Lobbyist barred from WA Capitol after ruling he stalked representative

State Rep. Lauren Davis, D-Shoreline, obtained a domestic violence protective order against longtime lobbyist Cody Arledge.

(Lake Stevens School District)
Charges dropped for Lake Stevens teacher accused of harassing student

Prosecutors won’t pursue misdemeanor sexual assault charges against Mark Hein, who “has been absolved of wrongdoing,” his attorney said.

Karla Wislon holds a champagne glass while celebrating the closing sale of her home in Palm Springs, Ca. on May 14, 2021. (Family photo)
Former state Rep. Karla Wilson, 88, remembered as ‘smart, energetic’

Wilson served the 39th Legislative district from 1985 to 1991. She died Dec. 31.

Federal agents seized many pounds of meth and heroin, along with thousands of suspected fentanyl pills, at a 10-acre property east of Arlington in mid-December 2020. (U.S. Attorney’s Office) 20201223
Leader of Snohomish County fentanyl, meth ring gets federal prison

A search of Cesar Valdez-Sanudo’s property in Arlington unearthed kilos of drugs and hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Port of Coupeville to make offer on Oak Harbor airport

The Port of Coupeville continues to pursue ownership of the A.J. Eisenberg Airport near Oak Harbor.

James Lewis
COVID still ‘simmering’ in the county, while booster uptake remains low

Meanwhile, flu and RSV cases have plummeted, suggesting the “tripledemic” could — emphasis on “could” — be fading.

Most Read