A rare sighting at Olmares - the bears are coming back!
Bear country - Photo taken from the Olmares apartments by Juline Mcguirk 2020
Lara who works at Olmares was out doing one of our local hikes (the inner circuit) with her boyfriend Dario last week, about 30 mins in they came round a corner on the mountain track to find a fully grown brown bear up a cherry tree gorging himself on ripe cherries! The beautiful creature upon seeing them, slowly clambered down and retreated off casually into the undergrowth.
What a sight! Lara & Dario took a few moments to compose themselves before continuing on their way.
It's amazing to think that my parents (Richard & Suzanne) when they first arrived in this region 30 years ago, felt compelled to launch the Amoroso (love bears) campaign to try to help protect these incredible creatures that were on the verge of being wiped out in the region. The Picos de Europa was one of the last remaining regions in Europe to have an indigenous Brown Bear population, however hunting and other human activities had really pushed them to the brink.
The great news is that this population is most definitely coming back, and over recent years we have heard of sightings rippling through our valley in the Liebana from village to village with a gradual increasing tendency. Our housekeeper Pili also saw one whilst out walking with her daughter Elena near their village last year.
I also spotted some bear prints in the snow whilst hiking up near Collado del Salce (about 1 hour walk behind Olmares), but this was around 7 years ago (photo below).
Lara's sighting is a bit of positive news in these difficult times and shows that these wonderful animals are thriving once more in the mountains around our little village of Basieda.
Bear prints in the snow in the mountains behind Olmares back in 2013.
Lara and Dario - great hikers! Photo taken at Pozo de Los Altares