Above the pretty village of Borce is the Parc Ours which houses fauna that is typical of the Pyrenean region. Expect to see a variety of goats, sheep, deer and marmots as well as cute donkeys and prowling bears. The petting zoo is very popular with younger visitors. The centre can be explored in a pleasant two hour walk, whilst enjoying views of the surrounding hillsides.
Falaise aux Vautours (Cliff of Vultures)
The griffon vulture has lived in France for many centuries. A light sandy-brown colour, this bird of prey stands one metre high, has a wing span of around three metres and weighs approximately seven kilograms. With a lifespan of around four decades, it is thought that pairs mate for life. The vulture lives and hunts in packs. Individuals can patrol a mountainous area of up to 150 square kilometres.
The vulture is capable of spotting objects as small as 20 centimetres from more than three kilometres away. Using circling movements and by making noise, vultures are able to communicate their observations to fellow birds. This activity can quickly attract a large flock.
By the early 1970s, shooting, egg-collecting and poison (left out for other animals) had reduced the resident number of griffon vultures in the western Pyrenees to just 20 pairs. Seven pairs were discovered living on the Falaise aux Vautours.
From the mid-1970s, new rules were imposed and reserves were created. This included the Falaise aux Vautours at Aste-Béon (less than an hour from Lescun) to allow these huge birds to breed in peace. Numbers have soared in the past three decades. The visitors’ center at Falaise aux Vautours has closed-circuit cameras to show birds to enthralled tourists and is open to the public from late spring through the summer months.