MORE than 200 sheep have plunged to their deaths after one of the flock was attacked by a brown bear and the others panicked and plunged off a 200-metre high cliff in the Pyrenees.
The bodies of most of the sheep were found the next day at the foot of the cliff in the Spanish village of Lladorre near the Spanish-French border.
Brown bears, a protected species in Spain, have been reintroduced to the mountain region over the past three decades after being wiped out by hunters.
The French government has been engaged in a repopulation programme since the early 1990s and there are now thought to be about 30 brown bears in the region.
The last female brown bear native to the Pyrenees was shot dead by hunters in 2004.
In September last year, the dead body of a brown bear was found with a gunshot wound to the chest in the Asturias, northern Spain.