Saturday, 18 August 2007

Swiss Bears

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

It all started about 2 years ago when a bear was once again seen in Switzerland after 100 years absence. Of course there are countries that have to avoid bears every day as they wander around the towns and make their efforts to find food in garbage cans or on the streets. Picknickers are also good victims for food hunting.

In Switzerland there is a different state of affairs. Our bears are tourists, and also tourist attractions. The last time a bear paid a visit, coach trips were organised to see the bear and mothers with children got dangerously near to see the bear and take photos. The photo above shows an example of what happened. This bear eventually left Switzerland after 2 months not before it had made a meal of a few sheep.

Today I read the following in the NZZ (Neue Zürcher Zeitung):

The Bear is Back (I think he left the last time because of the publicity he was getting – it’s just not the bear sort of thing)

Large bear seen near Zernez – further sightings on the border

n Kanton Grisons a bear has appeared again. The hunting inspector confirmed this report on Monday. Many people saw the bear on Sunday near Zernez on the border of the national park (I thought parks were there for such animals). On Whit Monday a bear had already been seen on the border, meaning that in this area 2 bears must be moving around.

The Swiss office for hunting and fishing made a very detailed report which says that from Zernez in the direction of the Ofen Pass, a bear climbed up to 2800 meters. Afterward the bear changed to a side valley.

The hunter Fadri Gottschalk from Zernez saw the bear and told the gamekeeper, Guolf Denoth. When Denoth arrived in the valley the bear had already disappeared but Denoth found a footprint in the snow and made a photo of it (after all it is not every day that a bear is walking around in Switzerland). On the following Monday the gamekeeper found no further tracks (we have clever bears, they know when to make themselves scarce). Based on the footprint Georg Brosi the chief gamekeeper of Grisons established that it was a fully grown bear.

As we are not stupid in Switzerland further investigations were made. A search was made for hair and droppings to be able to identify the bear with a DNA analysis. I mean you have to know where the bear has come from. The last one that found his way into Switzerland 2 years ago apparently took a walk from Slovenia. The authorities also want to take steps to protect the sheep which often graze in this part of Switzerland.

It is assumed that the immigrant bear is a shy animal (unless he meets a few sheep on the way) and probably comes from North Italian Trentino where they are trying to resettle the bears in this area. Approximately a dozen young bears in the age from 1-2 years old are already living there. The return of this large animal of prey can be expected in this case.

At Whitsun near the Stilfserjochs, 2 kilometers from the Swiss borders a bear was seen (did he want to leave Switzerland or enter?) This was most likely the second bear.

I live North of the centre of Switzerland so the biggest animal I ever see are horses (we have a riding school nearbye) or storks, meaning I don’t have to worry about meeting a bear if I go for a walk in the nearbye forest.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

No comments:

Post a Comment