May 4 (UPI) — A film crew in Spain announced Monday the release of video of a rare brown bear filmed in a national park — the first time the species has been seen in the area for more than a century, wildlife officials said.
“The bear, a male aged between 3 and 5, is the first to be filmed in the area and probably the first to have crossed through the region in the past 150 years,” Zeitun Films said in a statement.
The bear was filmed by remote cameras during the day and captured by infrared camera at night, eating grubs under a rock in the park, wandering in the rain and scratching its back on a tree.
The bear was spotted in the Invernadeiro national park in northwest Spain in Galicia’s Ourense province, where the crew was shooting a film called Montaña ou Morte (Mountain or Death). The bear will make a cameo appearance in the film, the company said.
Cantabrian brown bears, native to Europe, have been a protected species in Spain since the 1970s. There might be around 350 brown bears in all of Spain, with about 30 bears living in the Pyrenees mountains of Spain and France, according to the European Wilderness Society.
Filmmakers credited luck and the involvement of two wildlife agents for the chance to capture images of the bear, which likely spent the winter in the national park.
“Years of conservation work in the Invernadeiro national park have allowed it to become a suitable habitat for the brown bear,” the film crew said in a statement.
Last year a brown bear was sighted in Portugal, thought to have wandered across the border from northern Spain, the Portuguese Institute for Conservation of Nature and Forests said. The bears had been extinct in Portugal since the end of the 19th Century.