The animal has been a protected species in Spain since 1973.

By Cailey Rizzo
Updated June 01, 2020
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In what's believed to be 150 years since a certain species of brown bear roamed a park in Spain, a film crew happened to be set up at the right place, at the right time to capture the moment of when one emerged.

Zeitun Films left a camera running in Parque Natural de O Invernadeiro, located in the western part of Spain known as Galicia when the animal was discovered.

"There had never been a bear sighting in the area before," director Pela del Alamo told CNN. "It was a chance discovery."

The bear is believed to be between three and five years old and the film crew thinks he has been in the park at least all winter. Video shows the bear sniffing and rooting in the park’s grass. Other footage shows him scratching his back against a tree.

The brown bear has been a protected species in Spain since 1973 and only intermittently spotted in Galicia.

“Beyond the beauty that we all find in these images, we hope that this small but significant discovery raises awareness for everyone involved in nature conservation: citizens, institutions and various specialized agents,” the film company wrote on Facebook. “It takes a long time for a species like this to find a suitable habitat. However, it can be lost in a very short time. Preserving Galician natural heritage is the responsibility of each and every one of us.”

Wildlife rangers — who acted as advisors on the film — hope that this bear spotting could mean the species is returning to the park. The video at least is proof that the area can support brown bears, but in order to create a stable population, there would need to be female bears present. At the moment, there is no evidence that any have wandered their way into the park.

The video was captured as part of a two-year filming project at the park, called “Montaña ou Morte” (Mountain or Death) that focuses on Galician nature and conservation.