Thousands of trees and shrubs will be planted across northern Spain to provide a food source for brown bears during the winter who are being forced out of hibernation early because of climate change.
A series of scientific studies have found that warmer winters have also affected the food sources which bears depend on. As part of a project backed by the European Union and the Spanish government, 150,000 native trees and shrubs will be planted, producing fruit such as chestnuts, cherries, and apples across 155 hectares in Cantabria, Castilla y Leon and Asturias. There are estimated to be about 330 brown bears living in northern Spain and the species is classified as endangered. Blueberries, which is one of the bear’s favourite foods, have suffered because of warmer winters, so the researchers have sought to replace it with other fruit. The project also aims to educate the human population about how they should adapt to having more bears in woods and mountains during the winter. Recently, skiers have come face to face with bears that have come out of hibernation earlier than usual due to climate change.