Last modified: 2005-03-05 by ivan sache
Keywords: hautes-alpes | ristolas | queyras | bear (black) |
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by Arnaud Leroy
The small village of Ristolas (73 inhabitants) is located a few kilometers upstream from Abriès. It is the last village in the upper valley of the Guil. In 2001, a new species of bat was discovered near Ristolas and called Plecotus alpinus (Alpine long-eared bat, oreillard alpin).
Ivan Sache, 17 May 2004
The flag of Ristolas was photographed by Hervé Prat in summer 2003. The image shown on this page was made by Arnaud Leroy, who checked some details with the municipality of Ristolas.
The flag of Ristolas is white with the municipal coat of arms and RISTOLAS EN QUEYRAS written horizontally below the coat of arms.
The coat of arms of Ristolas is yellow with a black bear. The shield is surmonted by a mural crown. The bear has a red necklace.
Brown bears (Ursus arctos) were common in all French mountainous
areas in the Middle Ages; they disappeared from the Vosges in the
beginning of the XIXth century, and could then be found only in the
Alps, the Pyrénées and the Jura. In the beginning of the XXth century,
the bear remained common only in the Pyrénées and locally in the Alps,
where the last bear was spotted in 1937. Since then, the French bear
populations have dramatically decreased: 150-200 in 1937, 70 in 1954,
50 in 1964, 25 in 1975, 15-20 in 1985, and 10-11 in 1992.
Bears are legally protected in France since 1972, but are a matter of controversy in the Pyrénées. A few bears from Slovenia were introduced in the Pyrénées in the 1990s in order to increase the population and its genetical diversity. The bear dispute unfortunately reached new low in automn 2004, when the last adult Pyrenean bear was killed by a hunter, allegely beating for boars in spite of official warnings (including by hunters' organizations) of the presence of the bear in the area.
Ivan Sache, 8 November 2004