The Bear Patrol

Q: How do the “Children of the Mountain” help save the brown bear?

A: By forming the Bear Patrol!

And yes, they are as cool as they sound. The Bear Patrol is made up of five dynamic teams of men and women who work for the Fundación Oso Pardo (FOP) (The Brown Bear Foundation) who patrol the Cantábrian Mountains of Northern Spain monitoring and observing bear populations, movements and behavioural patterns.

The patrols are formed by  men and woman known locally as the “Children of the Cantábrian Mountains” born and raised in bear territories, these people now work tirelessly to protect their lands largest inhabitants.

Between 1988 and mid-2010 The Bear Patrols observed 141 groups of females over 958 days, observation times ranging from less than one minute to ten hours and twenty minutes, with an average of 2 hours!

We promote a positive image of the bear as an element of rural development that can foster sustainable tourism.


FOP currently have five Bear Patrol teams operating throughout the Cantábrian Mountains working alongside the local governments. These patrols have been monitoring  bears in the area for the last twenty five years and have gathered data on demographic trends that have been essential to the conservation and protection of these bears.


Data gathered by the Bear Patrol  looks into behaviors, e.g. playtime, feeding, den emergence,  interaction with other bears/other species and the bears reaction to the presence of people. In addition, their records include rarely observed events such as multiple mating partners, infanticide, attacks on goats and the break-up of family groups. The Bear Patrol also observed a female bear attack and kill a wild boar weighing about 40kgs! Her aim likely being to prevent danger to her cubs rather than predatory.

To showcase the land where the Bear Patrol have been operating since 1988, The European Nature Trust is launching the UK Premiere of Cantábrico on November 16th at BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly. Cantábrico is a feature length documentary created that showcases the natural history and beauty of the Cantábrian Mountains and the wildlife that lives there. We would love to see you there, tickets can be purchased here.