Bears take winter break

Two brown bears that made their way to the Swiss Alps this summer have finally begun to hibernate.

This content was published on December 11, 2007 - 16:12

They are the first to spend winter in Switzerland since a bear was sighted in 2005.

The animals had taken time to settle because of a particularly warm November.

"JJ3", a young male who had been a nuisance and was fitted with a transmitter to track his movements, is sleeping in canton Graubünden's Albula valley. He moved there about a month ago after being chased away from the Lenzerheide resort.

"MJ4", the other bear, is hibernating in the Zernez area, close to the national park.

JJ3 will have to watch his step when he wakes up next spring. The authorities will have him shot if he threatens anyone.

The animal has not learnt to fear humans, and spent time earlier this year foraging through rubbish bins in the Lenzerheide area. He only left the zone after gamekeepers shot at him with rubber bullets.

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