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Remembering 2020: Bears return to deserted Welsh village during lockdown

29 May 2023 2 minute read
A bear. NPS Photo / Kevyn Jalone

As Nation.Cymru continues to celebrate its birthday, we have been looking back at some of the big hitters of each of the last six years – this, from 2020, when we couldn’t resist a little bear-faced April Foolery

Bears have returned from the mountains to one Welsh village for the first time in hundreds of years due to the lockdown keeping everyone indoors.

The village of Llanarthmawr (Big Bear Parish) is named after the creatures, but Councillor Ebrill Siriol said they hadn’t been seen roaming the streets in centuries.

The bears were thought extinct, she said, but there were some rumours that a few breeding pairs were still living amongst the nearby Cambrian Mountains.

“It was bin day yesterdays and I woke up to find one of them rooting through,” she said. “It was scary but also incredible.

“They must have been hiding this whole time – but now that there’s no one around they’ve come back down.

“These houses are mostly Air BnBs and second homes so this is probably the quietest the village has been in hundreds of years, too.

“It might all explain why some tourists who were going up the local mountain, Mynydd yr Arth Lwglyd, weren’t returning.”


Ebrill Siriol said that she did not mind the bears but that rumours that wolves had been heard howling at night were a cause for concern.

“I think bears have an attitude that if you don’t bother them they won’t bother you but I would like to be able to cross the street without worrying about a pack of feral wolves,” she said.

“Now that it’s April 1 and the new financial year I would hope the emergency services would have the funds to do something about it.

“At least I didn’t wake up with a woolly mammoth in my garden this morning as my sister in Cardiff did.”

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1 year ago

Anybody else see two bears?

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