Forget Survival of the Fittest: French Officials Consider Castrating Dominant Bear to Allow Other Males in the Population a Chance to Breed

A Pyrenean brown bear.  (Ursus arctos)[Editor’s Note: True, this bear population may be experiencing a lack of genetic diversity, but the article fails to explain how potentially harmful this could be. Bears have been around long before humans tracked their mating patterns and could probably survive, if not benefit from, this alpha bear dominating the group for as long as nature intended. Thoughts?]

An elderly brown bear in the Pyrenees is facing castration or segregation amid fears that his sexual dominance is threatening the species’ survival in the region by limiting genetic diversity.

Pyros, one of the oldest of the 30 or so bears who roam the mountains between France and Spain, is the father, grandfather or great-grandfather of nearly all of the cubs born in the Pyrenees over the past two decades. There are four other males in the colony – only one of them is not related to Pyros – and none of them have fathered any offspring.

Spanish officials said they were being forced to decide between castration or segregation for Pyros after the recent birth of a cub who was both his daughter and grand-daughter.

“If he keeps up this sexual vigour and dominant attitude for a few more years, the other males in the mountains have no chance of mating with any of the females,” José Enrique Arró, the councillor who oversees environmental issues in the Val d’Aran, told La Vanguardia.

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