Swiss want wild bears

Eighty-five per cent of Swiss favour the natural reintroduction of wild bears into Switzerland, according to a representative study of 1,012 people by the WWF.

This content was published on April 13, 2009 - 17:18

The environmental organisation said on Monday – a year after "problem bear" JJ3 was shot after repeatedly entering populated areas of canton Graubünden – that the concept of wild bears was accepted across the country.

JJ3 was killed after attempts to frighten it away failed. It was recently stuffed and is now on display at Chur natural history museum.

"Bears deserve better than ending up in museums or on restaurant walls," said WWF.

JJ3 caused problems in 2007, destroying rubbish bins around the Lenzerheide resort and in the Albula valley. The cantonal government decided it would be killed if it moved into populated areas again.

Switzerland's "Bear Strategy" maintains that bears and humans can co-exist peacefully but enables regional authorities to act if public safety is threatened.

The bear arrived in the area from Italy in June 2007 and was fitted with a tracking device last year. His brother JJ1 was killed after roaming into Bavaria from Austria in 2006. His other brother, JJ2, was the first brown bear to be spotted in Switzerland for over a century.

swissinfo with agencies

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