Décision de justice

Brown bear warning shots – Decision dated 4 February

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The appeal: Several environmental and wild animal associations called on the Conseil d'État to rule against firing warning shots to scare brown bears in the Pyrenees, which the government had introduced on a trial basis to prevent damage to herds.

The decision of the Conseil d’État: The Conseil d’État struck down the measure for firing off warning shots to scare off brown bears.

In 2019, around fifty brown bears remained in the Pyrenees, whereas according to some forecasts, around one hundred would be needed to ensure the survival of the species in France.

The Conseil d'État stated that, as far as is known, "basic" means of frightening by sound, light or smell are not likely to hinder the survival of the species and the improvement of its state of conservation.

On the other hand, it judged that the use of "reinforced" scaring, using non-lethal shots authorised by the prefect, is not sufficiently regulated and could have effects on the survival of bear populations in their natural habitat and the improvement of the species' conservation status.

For this reason, the Conseil d'État today removed the measure from the order of 27 June 2019 of the Ministers for Ecological and Solidarity Transition and for Agriculture and Food.

> Read the decision (in French)