06 June 2007

Run, Little Bear, Run!

A bear has been spotted in Western Switzerland. And so a European Brown Bear is making international news. Again.

Some of you may remember Poor Bruno, the famous bear from last summer who wandered over the border of Italy, through Austria and into Germany, where the Bavarians promptly shot him. His carcass lies frozen in an undisclosed meat locker while the Bavarians and Italians fight over who gets to keep him.

See, the brown bear has been gone from the Alps since the early 1900's. But Italy started a program to reintroduce bears into the Italian Alps. Unfortunately, even though they are without passports, visas and other appropriate documentation, some of these bears have been leaving Italy and entering neighboring countries.

The program has caused the greatest concern in Germany and Switzerland where local farmers fear for their livestock. And where hikers may be stupid enough to approach the bears for a photo op.

Switzerland, being populated by the Swiss who believe in planning for any eventuality no matter how improbable, developed a "Bear Strategy." Simply put, bears had better follow the rules or they will be shot.

So my advice to any bears who may happen to be wandering through the Alps is to run back to Italy. Because they are unlikely to be able to read the Official List of Rules for Bears posted throughout the Swiss Alps in German, French, Italian and possibly English.

By the way, just in case the Germans and Swiss are not upset enough, the Italians are also involved in a program to repopulate the Italian Alps with wolves. My guess is that the wolves will also eventually get lost and wander inappropriately across borders.

Those rascally Italians just love to stir things up!


Expat Traveler said...

I just wonder how many of them will become pets!

Marcy said...

Brown bears... now are those the Grizzly kind, or the non-deadly kind? I can never remember...

I'm still amazed at all the press little Knut has been getting world-wide! What is it with bears in the news? ; )

Global Librarian said...

I would hope that none of them would become pets! Because, in answer to Marcy's question, these are the grizzly bear kind.

Although in defense of the grizzly, attacks upon humans are exceptionally rare. With a few exceptions, these attacks generally happen because the humans do something stupid.

If given a choice, most grizzlies will run away from humans unless cornered. Or they have become too accustomed to humans being around them.