Cantabrian brown bears have developed a slightly different genetic identity to other brown bears, although not as different as was once believed.

Field work for the first national genetic census of the Cantabrian brown bear.

The autonomous communities of Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria and Castilla y León, in coordination with the Ministry for the Ecological Transition and the Demographic Challenge (MITECO), have completed the field work of the first genetic census of the Cantabrian brown bear, which will now continue with the genetic individualization work by the University of Barcelona.

Field work carried out in the forest regions in the provinces of Zamora, León, Palencia and Burgos.has involved more than 150 people for four months, including forestry workers, biologists, environmental agents and with the collaboration of the Brown Bear Foundation.

Read the full press release (In Spanish) here.

Field work brown bear census 28 jan 2021 map
Field work brown bear census 28 jan 2021 map

The above map shows that of the 292 areas surveyed, 136 areas show indications of the presence of brown bear. (69 in the western subpopulation and 67 in the eastern subpopulation).

All the samples collected in Castilla y León have been sent to the University of Barcelona for genetic individualization in order to better estimate the population through genomic techniques The Junta de Castilla y León considers it especially relevant to know the kinship and connectivity relationships, as well as the level of inbreeding of the different specimens of the Cantabrian population, especially considering the recent exchange of specimens between the eastern and western subpopulations of the Cantabrian Mountains.

As well as in the determination of individual inbreeding (degree of relationship between parents) and kinship relationships between specimens, which will help to know the degree of connectivity between the different subpopulations.

Read more about the brown bear in Spain here

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