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Another barren Easter for Berne's bears

The traditional Easter presentation of newly-born cubs at the bear-pits in Berne has failed to take place for the sixth year in a row. However, the bears' keepers say they are not too upset about another barren spring.

The traditional Easter presentation of newly-born cubs at the bear-pits in Berne has failed to take place for the sixth year in a row. However, the bears' keepers say they are not too upset about another barren spring.

The pitter-patter of tiny paws may bring tourists flocking, but finding homes for the new cubs can be difficult. In 1993 Selma, one of five bears at the pits in Berne, gave birth to three cubs who were all put to sleep because of the shortage of space.

The director of the site, Bernd Schildger, said there was no danger of Selma giving birth this time around. Her partner in the smaller of the two pits, Urs, was castrated years ago.

Schildger said it was possible that Pedro, the male bear in the larger pit, could still produce cubs with either of his companions, Tana and Delia. However since they are also his sisters there could be a risk of genetic problems for any offspring.

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