PARIS-A female brown bear released in the French Pyrenees has killed eight sheep in Spain, prompting emergency talks between the two countries. Claverina is now roaming through the mountains of Navarre, having crossed from Béarn in south-western France.

Spanish environmental officials are meeting French counterparts. Some sheep are now wearing tracking devices and there are plans to deploy guard dogs. Claverina and another female brown bear were brought over from Slovenia.

They were reintroduced in Béarn last October, because the bear population in that region is tiny - there are just two others, both male. It is a controversial policy - there have been protests by some shepherds in both France and Spain.

Alpine Slovenia has more than 500 brown bears and is helping the French National Hunting and Wildlife Agency (ONCFS) to reintroduce the mammals to the Pyrenees, where their numbers shrank because of hunting. A census last year found 40 brown bears elsewhere in the French Pyrenees.

Sorita, Claverina’s companion from Slovenia, gave birth to two cubs in the winter, a private news agency reports. The news came after the bears had emerged from hibernation. DNA tests show that Claverina and Sorita are not related - an important factor in the project to restore the bear population and avoid in-breeding. Both adult bears have tracking devices: they indicated that Claverina was much more adventurous than Sorita, who stayed in the high mountains on the French side of the Pyrenees. Spanish officials want France to share the keys to the trackers, so that Navarre shepherds can follow the bears’ movements.