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Swiss family makes rare bear sighting

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10:18 CEST+02:00

In a rare sighting, a bear was spotted at Scuol in the Lower Engadine in eastern Switzerland on Saturday.

The bear was observed by the Riatsch family as they arrived by car at their country house.

“The bear tumbled suddenly in front of our car and was at least 15 metres from us. My husband, a hunter, waited until he moved about 30 or 40 yards away from us and then got out of the car to photograph and film him,” Sereina Riatsch told newspaper Le Matin.

They had been particularly wary of the animal in case it was hungry having just woken up from hibernation, she added.

It has been two years since a bear was last seen in Switzerland. In 2010, a group of scouts saw one that had killed five sheep.

In 2008, a bear known as “JJ3” was shot by wildlife guards since he was not afraid of humans and was therefore considered dangerous.

These bears are most likely coming from Slovenia, where an estimated 500 bears are living in the wild. Two were seen a week ago in Val Venosta, South Tyrol, and Roland Buillard, head of the Servion Zoo in canton Vaud, said he thought it likely that the bear seen in Engadine was one of those 

It is unclear which gender the Engadine bear was. If it is a male, it is not expected to hang around as males travel far and wide in search of a mate and food. But if it is female, she may well settle in the region, as females stick to particular territories.

It may be that the bear is a young adult female who has only just left her mother and is looking to set up a territory of her own, Buillard said.

View footage of the bear: SF Tagesschau

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