According to The Times, Carla Bruni, France’s First Lady, has drawn the wrath of Pyrenean farmers by taking up the cause of local brown bears, whose reintroduction has fuelled a violent feud between naturalists and sheep breeders.
I wonder if Ms Bruni is a fan of an author from her adoptive country, Fred Vargas? The plot of one of Vargas's books, Seeking Whom He May Devour, does not concern bears, but rather: the "invasion of wolves across the Alps from Italy [nationality of Ms Bruni] is a source of fascination to the wildlife service and biologists, who observe their behaviour and track their movements with almost obsessive interest. One such biologist is a Canadian, Johnstone, who identifies totally with the wolves, giving them names and ascribing a personality to each, feeding rabbits to the one that is too old and toothless to kill his own prey. Everything changes, however, when sheep are brutally killed, in what seems from the toothmarks to be an attack from a giant beast."
According to The Times's account, "President Sarkozy, who married Ms Bruni in February, has so far stayed out of the “bear wars”, which pit environmentalists against farmers and local politicians who say the bears kill sheep and threaten their livelihoods." Ms Bruni, said to be "the epitome of the Parisian left-wing upper class", apparently agreed in 2006 to be “godmother” to Hvala, one of five bears brought in from Slovenia to replenish a population that had dwindled to about 15. The anti-bear protesters, among other initiatives, carry placards stating "Go home to