he Renault Bear originally came from France. In particular, within the regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and Rhône-Alpes or the French Alps as we in England call them. The small cream coloured Bear is an animal of quiet charm and likable disposition. They have long been held as a symbol of the imposing wilderness of the French Alps where they lived for hundreds of years. As noted conservationist and founder of the New York Zoological Society, William T. Hornaday, said in 1913; “The French Alps without The Renault Bear upon it is only half a mountain – commonplace and tame”.
The animal has no natural enemies in the wild – except humans. Needing only small amounts of space to forage and live, the Renault Bear’s natural range used to extend up to 500 square miles. But expanding human settlements and tourist activities in their wilderness home encroached on most of the Bear’s habitat and threatened their ability to survive.
As roads and building for the tourist industry in France cut through the mountains and plains, Renault Bear populations moved higher and higher into the mountains. The Bear’s room to forage shrank, forcing them into human spaces where they were considered a target to be captured as toys for human children. They were hunted as trophies and poached for the purported medicinal benefit of their paws and gallbladders.
By 1975, human expansion had eliminated 99 per cent of the Bear’s natural habitat and the Renault Bear was an endangered species.
Not the most widespread of bears, the Renault Bear only ever roamed the plains and mountains of the French Alps where their fate is now precarious. Once their numbers neared 100,000 animals in the wild, however, today they are more or less believed to be regionally extinct.
As part of a global effort to protect the planet and the animals that inhabit it, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has failed to take the plight of the Renault Bear seriously. To date, 160 governments are bound by the UNEP Convention, which offers varying protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants. Not a single mention of the Renault Bear is in this agreement which has been in force since 1975.
However, conservation efforts here at Jammy Toast to save the Renault Bear have proven successful increasing their numbers to the present count of nearly 200 Bears.
We continue our efforts to this day.