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New sighting of brown bear in Bern region

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Wild bears were absent from Switzerland for over a century until they returned in 2005. File photo: Depositphoto
21:06 CEST+02:00
A bear was spotted on Wednesday in the Siebenbrunnen area of the commune of Lenk in Bern, cantonal authorities have said.

The sighting of the bear was confirmed by Switzerland’s Carnivore Ecology and Wildlife Management (Kora) who examined video footage of the animal.

A dead calf found in the area where the bear was spotted was not thought to have been killed by a wild animal, according to initial reports. It is now being examined by vets at the University of Bern.

Read also: Brown bear strolls across Swiss ski slope

It is not clear whether the bear sighted on Wednesday is M29, a bear who has been spotted on several occasions in the canton of Bern. M29 is thought to have been born in Italy in winter 2013 before migrating to Switzerland in April 2016.

Data analysis and mapping carried out by Kora shows the extent of M29's travels across Switzerland in 2016 and 2017.

In any case, Wednesday’s sighting follows on the heels of several similar incidents in Switzerland in recent months. In April, ski resort workers spotted a brown bear on a ski piste and in May a bear suddenly appeared on the road in front of a student driving along Lake Thun.

Authorities subsequently published guidelines for hikers in areas where bears are present.

While stressing that bears are generally very shy, and the likelihood of meeting one in the wild is low, the information flyer warns that animals that have lost their fear of people may pose a risk.

Hikers taking a walk in an area where bears have been spotted are advised to stick to footpaths, avoid areas with dense fruit bushes, keep dogs on the leash and avoid dropping rubbish or food scraps.

In the unlikely event of an encounter with a bear, it is recommended that walkers alert the animal to their presence by speaking at a normal volume. Walkers should retreat slowly and avoid behaviour that could be seen as aggressive, such as yelling. 

The guidelines for hikers also warn people not to run as bears as far faster than humans. 

M29's appearance in Bern in 2017 was the first time a wild bear had been spotted in the canton in 190 years

Bears made a return to Switzerland in 2005 after being absent from the country for over a century.

Read also: Runaway flamingo turns up in Bern's historic old town

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