Spain’s Brown Bear Foundation (FOP) has condemned the abuse of two young animals which were chased by a car down a highway in the northern region of Cantabria.
Brown Bear Foundation
The incident was captured on video and posted online where it has been watched nearly 30,000 times. The viral one-minute video, filmed by the passenger, shows the bears being pursued by the car down the road linking the villages of La Lastra and Tudancia.
Instead of slowing down or stopping to allow the bears to leave the road – which is the correct response, according to the bear foundation – the car continues at full speed with its headlights on.
A person can be heard whistling and growling at the bears to grab their attention as a woman exclaims, “look how they run together.”
The brown bears can be seen running in front of the car until one is chased off the road and the other continues on alone.
The foundation has declared the actions: “iIlegal because abusing endangered animals is prohibited” and “dangerous because it could cause a traffic accident with the cars ahead.”
The foundation has also warned of the growing popularity of videos depicting animal cruelty.
“Every day it is becoming more common to see cruelty like this on social media,” it said, adding that people are taking advantage of the surge in bear numbers to abuse the animals for entertainment purposes.
The pair behind the viral video has yet to be identified. The video has been shared by over 420 people and received more than 100 comments – both defending and attacking the actions of the driver.
Brown bears can grow up to 2 meters in height and weigh between 85 and 115 kilograms, depending on the sex. A brown bear lives between 25 and 30 years and can run up to speeds of 60 kilometers over short distances.
Around 240 brown bears are estimated to live in the regions of Asturias and Cantabria and in the provinces of Lugo (Galicia), and León and Palencia (Castilla y León).
English version by Melissa Kitson.