The Bear Patrols collaborate in the monitoring and surveillance of the bear populations and the fight against poaching, support research and environmental education programmes and act as guides for visitors to the Natural Parks.
FOP technical staff carry out programmes of applied research about bear management and conservation and habitat fragmentation and improvement.
HUNTING AND THE BEARS
Bears are fully protected in Spain, but they can be disturbed by hunting activities. FOP and the hunting federations and associations signed collaboration agreements to make the practice of hunting and bear conservation compatible.
The Habitat Programme encompasses all those actions aimed at decreasing impacts, facilitating infrastructure permeability and improving the coverage and feeding conditions in the bear areas.
In the western part of the Cantabrian mountains, FOP co-owns 14 forests, with an extension of 110 km2, representing high quality habitat for the brown bear, the cantabrian capercaillie and other species. These forests are included in Natura 2000 and various female bears with cubs of the year frequent the area every year. FOP participates in the co-ownership of these woodlands to ensure the maintenance of its environmental quality and the search for solutions in sustainable management and natural habitat improvement. This co-ownership system guarantees the contribution to the conservation of large and valuable territories with an optimum cost-benefit balance. FOP also owns 114 pasture properties, with an extension of 36 ha, to be replanted with fruit trees.
The European Union LIFE Projects constitute one of the most important financial tools for the conservation of European biodiversity. FOP has directly participated in six different collaboration formulas, demonstrating the support given to the bears and the trust in the Foundation’s work.
The HUELLA Programme promotes environmental education, training and information, with the aim of bringing about changes in attitudes and fostering social support for bear conservation.
The FOP technical and scientific staff, with the collaboration of scientists and experts from various Universities and scientific centres, have prepared and edited an important number of books and publications. Dissemination material as booklets, leaflets, folders or didactic sheets, has been elaborated in some of the FOP projects, which has helped publicise the importance of brown bear conservation both inside and outside this territory.
TERRITORIO OSO (BEAR TERRITORY)
The brand Territorio Oso (Bear Territory), registered by FOP, promotes and encourages different products and services native to the Cantabrian mountains and the Pyrenees and which fulfils sustainability requirements. This project enhances the social acceptance of the bear, fostering its positive image as a dynamic factor of rural areas.
These are thematic centres offering information on brown bear ecology, problems and challenges in its conservation, as well as the relationship between this emblematic species and the people who share the territory. The aim of Las Casas del Oso is to become brown bear information and outreach centres and to create a positive impact in the areas where they live. Las Casas del Oso in the Cantabrian mountains are FOP projects and the one in Alt Àneu, in the Pyrenees, is a joint project shared with the collaborating NGO Acciónatura.