Bears are quite common and different : some are tall, others are small, depends on their nature(…) nonetheless, their live and habits are the same whatever their nature, but the tallest are the strongest and they are those who eat sometimes personal animals. They are extremely strong except their head which is so weak that if he is hit, it kills them immediately.
The bear know how swimming, it tarnishes itself and drinks as a boar, but he eats like a dog.
Their love happen in December, but it depends on their way of living. When bears are making love, they seem as men, one under the other. Later, the female takes refuge in a cave under the rocks, where she is staying until the delivery. Males are staying in caves during forty days without eating nor drinking, they suck their fingers and after the fortieth day, they go out the cave.
Gaston Phebus, count of Foix (1331-1391), the author of “le livre de la chasse”, available among the treasures of the national library.
|Flora||Orchids||Lys of Pyrenes|
In spite of their great wealth, Pyrenean fauna and flora is not well known and a lot of work is to be realized in order to get precise inventories concerning species and environment of massifs.
This first thought has to be compared to the excellent work of the National Pyrenean Park about certain areas.
Our second thought let us to consider particularly protected Pyrenean fauna and flora.
We have to bear in mind that our nature is well healthy comparing to other western European regions and that is quite envious.
We listed 73 species in 1980, French Pyrenean mammas fauna seems to be the richest in France.
As a comparison , French mammas fauna had 101 species in 1984 …..
Muskrat and coypu have been recently introduced in the Pyrenean mountains.
Born in America, these species introduced in France for breeding and the use of coat, widespread quickly to become wild population. The "muscardin*", common in the Alps, is certainly present in the Pyrenees.
10 species of bat have been listed : "Molosse de Cetoni*", "Vespertillon de Bechstein*", "Noctule*", "Noctule de Leiser*", "Pipistrelles de kuhl, Nathusius et de Savi*", "Oreillards roux et méridionaux*". "Sérotine*", not listed but certainly present.
These species won’t be identified them all during the horse round.
"Ursus Arctos bear" is about to disappearing. We might see him in the Vallée d’Aspe et d’Ossau, in 1000 m to 1600 m altitude forests.
Illusion or reality ? our equestrian team for locating species seemed to recognize a bear on the south side of the Pic de maubermé at the end of september in 1995
Otter have nearly disappeared on the French side, whereas it is spreading on the Spanish side.
Among carnivores, we can see foxes, badgers, beech-marten, weasel, ermine, polecat "genette*", wild cats Felis silvestris.
Among rodents, we can see squirrels, marmots.
Marmots can be widely observed on high territories, coming down from the port de la Picada. Their whistling is strangely common ;
Marmots are about to widespread near the Port d’Aula
Some areas are invaded by ongules, such as wild boar, stags, roes, izards…, which can be easily observed by day…
It is interesting to point out that horse smell is stronger than the one of human, so the approach is easier.
Mountain lakes fauna is essentially composed of aquatics unvertebrates. All sorts of aquatic insects are presents : "trichopteres*" (porte-bois), "éphémères", "perles", "libellules" et "coléoptères".
Trouts « Fario », the only truly born in the Pyrenees, widespread in rivers.
Fishermen have introduced other species such as salmons de fontaine and the cristivomer and the trout rainbow.
Indeed halieutic ressources are importants
Butterflies are famously known in all Europe to be present in the Pyrenees.
Settled on sunny rock, rider with binoculars will be at ease to observe birds. He will notice "le chevalier guignette*", "le cincle plongeur*", "la bergeronnette*" of rivers (ruisseaux) close to torrents and lakes, and la "bergeronnette grise", "le pipit spioncelle*", "le rouge-queue noir*", "le traquet motteux*", "le bruant fou ou jaune ou zizi*", "la fauvette grisette*", "la pie-grièche écorcheur*", "l'alouette lulu*", "le serin cini*", "le bec-croisé*",et le "venturon*" can be observed everywhere.
This long list, counting more than 300 species is far from being exhaustive.
The black Pic, with his red hat is always elegant…
You may meet by chance the cock de Bruyere or « big tetras », and he will fly heavily…
The "lagopèdes*" or snow partridges, grey in summer, are quite common on summits.
Vultures and the percnoptere are big animals. Their cleaning role is well known.
The problem of their feed in winter is still under question and horses could be used to take the offals distributed in winter and in autumn.
Rides at the end of the summer and at the end of the autumn will be a mean to observe the passage of a lot of migratory birds : "milans*", "milans noirs, bondrées (buses apivores)", "cigognes noires*", "grues*".
Ducks and gooses fly by night, and will not be observable.
In spring, migration phenomenon is usually less common, these birds are flying up the Atlantic and the Mediterranean sea.
These information reveal the richness of the fauna, that horse riders will be able to meet /observe.
Horse riders must have binoculars.
Equestrians guides belonging to the BGET keep on training to have the necessary knowledge to describe species without any doubts. They know how to teach it, the way of life, the habits, and biotopes of each kind of animal species in the Pyrenees.
We are counting more than 3000 vegetal species and among them, 150 are living in the Pyrenees.
Firstly, we must distinguish the forest areas, the breed ones, altitude lawns, and rocks areas.
Inside the all natural Pyrenean in heritage, these diverse ecosystems are different one another and each one is particularly interesting for tourism.
Pyrenees are rightly famous for his wide collection of big birds.
Big birds of prey live on both side of the Pyrenees.
In most of French cantons , in the Midi Pyrenees region, forest represent the fourth or the third of the areas.
On the Spanish side, because of less breeding, forest areas is bigger even if it rains less than in France.
Usually, forests are
diversified and wide. They are composed of :
At the sub alpan step : pine "à crochet*", silver birch, "sorbier*", "saules nains rampants*"…
At the mountainous step : beech , fir, box tree, holly tree, pine "sylvestre*" on spanish side
At the hill step : oak "sessile*", mountainous elm.
These forests smell several essence : "frênes*", "châtaigniers*", "tilleuls*", "alisiers*", "noisetiers*" et "coudriers*", "érables*"…
A certain number of prehistorically areas or protoprehistorical in Pyrenees prove the breeding presence dating from 3 thousand of years…
Recently, we found that this breeding activity is being decreased because of the sudden closing of some middle altitude meadows. At the same time, some species without any feeding role is wide spreading…
Under a lone impression, rocks hid a variety of sub alpan plants :
"Silène brise-pierre*", "alchémille plicatula*", "potentilles endémiques*", "saxifrages*", "ibéris de Bernard*", "asters*"….
It is at the middle of july that we can see this kind of plants….
Orchids are the most natural emblematic element of the Pyrenees ever known.
If you watch carefuly, you can see a lot of dactylorhizain july or in august on itineraries proposed.
You can observe Lys of the Pyrenees everywhere on these itineraries, as well as the spreading "gentianes*"…
In Spain, flora is composed of several endemic species unknown on the northern mountain.
A lot of things could be told about habits linking the Pyrenean man to the mountains plants.
Medicinal plants, enjoying one or evil ones, belief and superstitions
Mythology and scientific realities just revealed, stories are numerous and guides belonging to the BGET know how to tell people these strange stories during evening