Switzerland's only wild bear shot after 'posing threat to humans'


Switzerland
's only recorded wild bear, known as M13, has been shot dead after fears it had begun to pose a threat to humans.

Adrian Aeschlimann, spokesman for the Federal Office for the Environment, said M13 was shot dead by wildlife rangers on Tuesday. He told news.com.au: "The cull was carried out according to the management plan for bears in Switzerland."

M13, who was around two years old, lived in the mountains of the Graubuenden region of eastern Switzerland, on the border with Italy, and spent the spring seasons in the Val Poschiavo.

He had been considered problematic since November 2012, and had headed into residential areas looking for food, sometimes even following people.

According to The Australian, M13 was the only survivor of a trio of cubs who were part of a programme in Italy's Trentino Alto Adige region to reintroduce an animal long wiped out by hunters.

The population in Italy is now thought to be around 30.

The Swiss consulted Italian wildlife protection authorities before making the decision to cull the bear, and attempted to increase its wariness of humans by firing rubber pellets and firecrackers before the fatal shooting.

Environmental campaigners WWF hit out at the decision to shoot M13, saying it was natural for a bear that woke up from hibernation to head into the valley to look for food, and that it would have returned to the mountains as the weather improved.

It added that M13 would have been likely to return to Italy to look for a mate as he matured.

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