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Wildlife Rare bear seen again in the Bern area

brown bear

Like Finn (pictured), who lives in the BearPark in Bern, is wild bear M29 going to stay in Switzerland?

(KEYSTONE/Peter Klaunzer)

Swiss wildlife authorities have confirmed the sighting of a brown bear in the Bernese Oberland, continuing the pattern of increased spottings over the past few months. 

Having seen a video unavailable to the media, Switzerland’s Carnivore Ecology and Wildlife Managementexternal link reported on Thursday that it was definitely a brown bear. 

+ Switzerland’s last wild bear was killed in 2013 

What’s not clear is whether it was M29 – a shy male born in Italy in 2013, who is believed to have first crossed the border into Switzerland in April 2016. M29 was spotted a few times before slipping off the radar in September 2017. 

Wednesday’s observation in Lenk marks four consecutive months of Swiss bear or bear track sightings: in April 2018, one was seen on a ski piste in the Engelberg valley near Lucerne; several people saw a bear near Lake Thun in May; and in June bear tracks were found near the Bern-Lucerne border. 

Apart from the destruction of a couple of beehives, the bear or bears have kept their distance from farms and settlements. A dead calf found near Wednesday’s sighting was not killed by a wild animal, according to a local gamekeeper. 

The Bernese game authorities have published a list of dos and don’ts (in German) for people who see a bearexternal link. For example, they should keep their distance, speak in a normal voice, withdraw slowly and call +41 (0)800 940 100 to report any sightings.

bear in cage

Also on Wednesday, former Serbian circus bear Napa arrived at the new bear sanctuary in Arosa. More on that story coming soon.

(© KEYSTONE / Gian Ehrenzeller)


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