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Swiss bears must follow new law or be shot

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Bears must stick to rules - or be shot

A month after neighbouring Germany gunned down an errant bear, Bruno, the government has issued guidelines on how the animals can avoid a similar fate in Switzerland.

The "Bear Strategy", published on Tuesday, maintains that bears and humans can co-exist peacefully but enables regional authorities to shoot-to-kill if public safety is threatened.

The strategy document was widely criticised by mountain communities, hunters and farmers when it was put out for consultation earlier this year.

They said the federal authorities needed to make it easier to shoot troublesome animals – and the government has now taken on board their concerns.

The new guidelines, which will be issued to cantons shortly, stress that "public safety is paramount".

Bears will now fall into three categories: "unobtrusive", "problematic" and "high-risk". A bear can be killed once it becomes "high-risk": if it is no longer scared of humans despite efforts to scare it off and if it has become aggressive towards them.

A "problematic" bear is defined as one that is not afraid of humans, starts foraging for food in residential areas or kills large numbers of livestock.

"In the case of a problematic bear we would capture it, fit it with a tracking device and try to educate it to stay away from humans and livestock. To do this, we would shoot pellets, use dogs and loud noise to try to drive the animal away when it gets close to inhabited areas," Reinhard Schnidrig, head of the hunting and game division at the Federal Environment Office, told swissinfo.

"But if the bear doesn't learn, then it becomes a risk – and as a last resort we would have to shoot it. If ever a bear became aggressive towards humans, it would immediately be shot."


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Why isn't PETA protesting over this?


Too busy looking to fund animal rights terrorrist?

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