Brown bears in Europe?

1 January 2016 | 0 comments

Leavi200px-Brown_Bear_us_fish_2ng Chamonix,  over the Col des Montets, right on the Swiss border, is the lovely valley and small resort of Vallorcine.  Valley of the bears (Val….Ours), complete with restaurant ‘The Three Bears’ and many other beary references. So, I’ve wondered, are there still bears in the Alps?

  • In Switzerland the Canton of Bern was named for the bears, but the last bear in this area was killed in 1792 by hunters from Grindelwald.
  • Areas of the eastern Alps (Slovenia) are still home to some brown bears
  • There is a stable population of around 250 bears in the Cantabrian mountains of North West Spain at the moment.  However, the population of brown bears in the Pyrenees is extremely low, estimated at 14 to 18, with a shortage of females. Their rarity in this area led biologists to release bears, mostly female, from Slovenia, to reduce the imbalance and preserve the species’ presence in the area. The bears were released despite protests from French farmers. A small population (about 70) of brown bears also still lives in central Italy, protected by strong laws, but endangered by human presence.

So now I know. Next I’ll have to be looking up precautions to take when hiking, ready for my trip to British Columbia.


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