The bodies of a female bear and two cubs have been recovered from a 100-foot-deep cave after a fight to the death with a male.
Spanish rescuers found the male’s body just 50 feet from the cave, where experts believe the mother and her cub fell during the life-or-death struggle.
Environmental crews from the regional government of Castile and Leon, went down the vertical cave in Montana Palentina Natural Park and located the animals’ corpses on Friday, 2nd September.
‘Naturaleza Castilla y Leon’ shared two videos of the descent on Twitter on Saturday, 3rd September.
Media reported that the incident occurred on Sunday, 5th June, reportedly during breeding season, when male bears seek females to mate with and kill any existing offspring that get in their way.
The feisty mother, however, fought back in order to protect her cub and killed the male.
But during the struggle, she and the cub fell into the cave and suffered “extremely serious” injuries themselves, according to media.
An emergency team consisting of vets, guards and environmental personnel rushed to the scene to provide food and water to the animals, which remained stuck in the narrow crevasse.
They also searched for another missing cub that had taken shelter in the area just days before the deadly fight.
The Junta de Castilla y Leon said in a statement obtained by Newsflash: “During the following days, the work carried out by the Junta’s operation ended without new indications of the presence of the bear and the bear cub, and the decision was made to carry out a remote survey of the interior of the cavity using a videoscope, as well as with an interior inspection drone, with no visual records of either the bear or the cub obtained.”
It added: “Due to the characteristics of this area of the Palentina Mountain – a karstic complex in a limestone formation – it could not be ruled out that, although there were no new images of the bear and the bear cub, both remained inside the cave in other unexplored cavities or chasms, since the cavity where the two specimens were initially located consisted of numerous totally inaccessible galleries and wells.”
Months after the incident, a specialist team from cities of Leon and Palencia went down the cave and found the remains of the female bear and the two cubs.
After retrieving the remains, they were transferred to the Burgos Wild Animal Recovery Centre.
Subsequent autopsies and DNA tests should reveal if both cubs were related.