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BEAR

Easter bear snagged and tagged

The bear that has been roaming around since the Easter weekend stealing honey and mauling a goat has now been tagged with a tracking device.

 

“Last night the bear was anesthetized with an anesthetic gun from 20 feet away,” Georg Brosi from the Department for Hunting and Fishing told online news site 20 Minutes.

A press release confirmed that the bear known as M13 had been anaesthetized with a shot on Thursday night and then fitted with a GPS and VHS tracking device.

The operation took place just outside of Scuol in canton Graubunden, near to where the bear was first spotted, online news site 20 Minutes reported.

The aim now is that the bear can be tracked. Every hour, Brosi will receive an update about the bear’s position, and can use this information to determine when the bear is approaching places he should stay away from.

This is the second collar that the 120kg bear has been fitted with. The first one, which he lost in January, was fitted in South Tyrol after he had shown no sign of being afraid of humans.

Not long before the latest tagging, bear M13 broke in to an animal enclosure and killed a goat. He has also been helping himself throughout the week to local honey from several beehives.

The hope is that Brosi will now be able to decrease the human-bear conflict-potential by repelling M13 away from certain areas using rubber bullets, as they do in Canada and the US. Otherwise, they may have to consider killing him, as they did with bear JJ3 in 2008.

Local residents are being asked to ensure that all food waste is disposed of properly or otherwise kept out of bear-reach. Otherwise, M13 might think it a good place to stay in the vicinity, which could be dangerous both for the residents and, ultimately, for the bear.

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LYNX

Watch: Rare sighting of raccoon in downtown Zurich

A recent video showing one of the North American natives in Zurich has highlighted the arrival of an invasive species in Switzerland's largest city.

Watch: Rare sighting of raccoon in downtown Zurich
A still from the video. Image: Michael Hill

The footage shows a raccoon passing in front of Zurich’s Restaurant Opera in the city’s Seefeld district before scuttling down a street to the surprise of onlookers.

“I was walking behind the opera house when I saw the animal waddle behind a chair,” Michael Hill, who took the video, told The Local.

“Within a second, I realised it was a raccoon and I took out my phone and started walking towards it and filming. Then it ran off,” said the 41-year-old who is now based in Zurich but has previously spent time in the US, where he saw the animals.

“It was totally taken aback. It was so weird. I didn't even know there were raccoons in Zurich, and I had to go online afterwards to check,” he said.

It was a rare sighting of the animal in the city of Zurich but such occurrences are becoming more frequent.

“We are getting more and more reports from hunters about raccoons in the forest or in populated areas and we have to assume there are more in the city too,” Jürg Zinggeler from the canton of Zurich’s hunting and fishing authorities told the Tages Anzeiger newspaper.

Zinggeler said that a hunter had killed a raccoon in the city a month before the recent sighting in Seefeld. He said this was the correct procedure as the mammals, which originate from Northern America, are classified as an invasive species in Switzerland

Raccoons first arrived in Switzerland in the 1960s after being released into the wild in Germany in 1934. The German population has grown to around one million animals, and the animals are present in many German cities.

They can cause plenty of damage to homes when they nest or live in roofs.

The orange dots represent pre-2000 raccoon sighting and the orange dots post-2000 sightings. Image: CSCF/Swisstopo

The population has not grown rapidly in Switzerland for reasons that are not clear. But Zinggeler says it could be because the animal’s population in Germany was allowed to grow too large before attempts were made to stop the spread.

The mammals are not dangerous to humans unless they feel threatened. They will then defend themselves,Lukas Handschin from Zurich city authorities told the 20 Minuten news site.

Read also: Brown bear strolls across Swiss ski slope