We know how much you enjoy hearing about all things bear-related, so today we’re introducing you to Adrien, our local expert brown bear guide who will accompany you on some fascinating bear-related experiences in the Pyrenees mountains and foothills.
Adrien is a nature guide and works for Pays de l’Ours ADET.
They’re a non-profit association in the central Pyrenees that’s responsible for educating both the locals and visitors on how a peaceful co-habitation with the brown bears is possible.
Q1 – Have you always been interested in wildlife? Tell us about your earliest wildlife related memory.
Yes, since I was a very young boy. My father would often take me into the forest where I lived and we’d spend the night in a shepherd’s hut.
I think that’s when my interest in Nature really started.
Q2 – What do you enjoy the most about your job?
I guess it’s the variety of my work. Sometimes I’m outside, sometimes at my desk, sometimes with young children, at other times with teenagers, adults, families … I can be out in all weathers in all seasons, so I’m never bored!
Q3 – Tell us about your most exciting wildlife related experience
It was actually an encounter with a badger! I was walking home from work one evening and there he was in front of me, obviously looking for something to eat.
He was so pre-occupied with what he was doing that he passed within 2-3m of me without even seeing me! It was truly unbelievable!
Q4 – Why do you think unusual wildlife such as the brown bears thrive in the Pyrenees?
The brown bears need dense forest and woodland to find the peace and quiet and the food that they need.
You only have to look around you to see why the Pyrenees really are perfect bear country!
Q5 – What is your favourite time of year for wildlife watching in the Pyrenees?
The Spring is great time of year, especially for watching the birdlife, but to be honest I love all the seasons in the Pyrenees.
Q6 – If you were to encounter a bear when out hiking, would you be excited, nervous or scared?
Probably a mix of all 3! But I think more than anything I’d be excited!
There really is no reason to be afraid, as the brown bear is no more dangerous than any other animal
Q7 – Where did you learn to speak such good English?!
My studies were as a multilingual nature guide but not speaking English on a day to day basis makes it hard for me to perfect the language!
However, I think I am able to make myself understood 😉
(Ed – you most certainly are!)
Q8 – Which food should anybody who’s visiting the Pyrenees try?
The cheese in the Pyrenees really is excellent (Ed – I’m seeing a recurring theme in these interviews!). If possible, visitors should try and get hold of sheep’s milk cheese that has the ‘Pé d’Escaous’ label.
This is a top quality, pure, unpasteurised cheese produced according to traditional methods in the mountain pastures where the brown bears are known to roam.
These shepherds have learnt to live in harmony with the bears and the fresh blocks of cheese are imprinted with the footprint of a bear as a sign of recognition of this important relationship.
Many thanks to Adrien for sparing the time to chat with us. What a lovely chap he is!
Are you intrigued by the bears in the Pyrenees? Read more about them here.
The fascinating educational half day with Adrien is offered as an option on our summer multi activity holiday.