The smugglers and ancient alliances defying the borders of the Pyrenees

France — Report

The Pyrenees mountains separating France and Spain have long been a crossing route for smugglers of all kinds of wares, which today range from cigarettes to elvers. But the 623-kilometre-long border between the two countries, definitively traced in 1866, has also never been a barrier for the centuries-old exchanges, local alliances and regulations established between the communities living on either side. Emmanuel Riondé reports. 

DNA tests of bones found in Pyrenees matched to British hiker

France — Link

Partial skeletal remains found in the Pyrenees mountains along a line between the French and Spanish border has been identified by DNA analysis as being that of British hiker Esther Dingley, 37, who mysteriously disappeared in the region in November 2020.

Conch shell from French cave may be prehistoric wind instrument

France — Link

Scientists believe a conch shell found in a cave of prehistoric paintings in the French Pyrenees and which since 1931 remained largely forgotten in a French museum, is likely to be a musical intrument dating from around 18,000 years ago due to modifications to the shell which have only recently been studied.

France airlifts two bears into Pyrénées, evading roadblocks

France — Link

Bears from Slovenia brought in to boost depleted French population, sparking protests by farmers who complain animals are threat to livestock.

French museum reveals rare mastodon skull kept secret by farmer

France — Link

A farmer working his land in south-west France discovered the skull of a massive four-tusked ancestor of the elephant believed to have roamed the Pyrenees millions of years ago but kept his exceptional find secret for two years for fear that his property would become an excavation site, the Natural History Museum of Toulouse has revealed.

Armed and masked men declare war on France’s bears

France — Link

Brown bears, a protected species, were blamed for deaths of about 450 sheep who fell over cliffs while being chased by the bears.

Basque separatist ETA leader arrested in France

France — Link

Mikel Irastorza, aged 41, who has been on the run since 2008, was detained in a house in Ascain, a village near the Pyrénées mountains.

French farmers protest plans to release more wild bears

France — Link

Protestors in and near the French Pyrénées are also unhappy at the protection given to wolves and vultures in 're-wilding' programme.

Famous French Pyrenees bear Balou found dead

France — Link

Officials say the 11 year-old animal, whose 'godparents' were actors Gérard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant, 'probably' died from a fall.