There’s nothing better than being able to snuggle up to your favorite stuffed plush bear, especially when you’re a kid. With some children having a stuffed plush bear they can never be parted from, no matter how beat up it might get over the years, one thing remains true: it’s the best friend and comforter any child could hope to have.
Brown bears living in France, can only be found in one place: the Pyrénées mountains. It’s here where two sub-populations of the species make their home; one is a central population that is growing and the other is an endemic western one created from a translocation. In field data from 1993 to 2005, that was collected and analyzed, researchers found that the bears in the western sub-population were not doing as well reproductively as the bears living in the central sub-population.
Guillaume Chapron from the Grimsö Wildlife Research Station, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden and various colleagues say: “our results suggest that having a viable bear population in France requires further translocations. In particular, male bears need more females.” With the use of a population model, Chapron and colleagues were able to determine how many female bears would be needed for release so as to ensure long-term survival of the species. They were also able to compute how the current population would be able to recover if the right number of female bears were translocated.
In addition to the importance of increasing the brown bear population in the western sub-population, it’s also crucial for general conservation biology. Usually, when a translocation is going to take place, it’s recommended that the reasons for the decline [of a population] should be reversed first, before going ahead with moving animals into a specific area. In this case, however, the opposite is true given a translocation of brown bears will, as Chapron puts it, “ actually remove the biological mechanisms behind the decline.”
The stuffed plush bear you choose to bring home with you can certainly be a brown bear, or a black one, or even a white one for that matter. It doesn’t have to come from France as there is certainly no decline in the stuffed bear population to speak of – whether it’s in a local shop or on the Internet.