A brown bear has left its mark in southern Bavaria. In the border area between Germany and Austria, footprints were documented last weekend, according to the Bavarian State Office for the Environment on its website. The animal left tracks with its paws in the snow in the Miesbach district and in the Rosenheim district.
Brown bears are among the largest land predators in the world - in the bear family, only the polar bear is larger. Male brown bears can weigh more than 550 kilograms, while females are significantly smaller and lighter at up to 250 kilograms.
The stately bears were widespread throughout Europe up until the Middle Ages. Nowadays, however, it is a rarity when a brown bear roams Germany. When the bear "Bruno" immigrated to Bavaria in 2006 and killed sheep there, he was shot. The main reason for the shooting back then was that "Bruno" was not afraid of people and settlements and was considered dangerous.
According to the Bavarian State Office for the Environment, it is unclear what kind of specimen the bear is, which has now immortalized itself in the snow in southern Bavaria. After evaluating the footprints, the authorities could only confirm that it was a brown bear. However, it was not possible to determine what kind of individual was there. Authorities, interest groups and representatives of livestock farmers have been informed, reports the Augsburg-based office.
A bear visit to Bavaria is not entirely unusual: according to the authorities, the last confirmed indication of a brown bear in Bavaria was less than a year ago: in the summer of 2022, in the German-Austrian border area, in the area between Reutte in Tyrol, the district Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen, several indications confirmed. But even then it was not possible to say anything more about the bear.
According to the state office, it is quite unlikely that a brown bear will settle permanently in Bavaria. However, it happens that young males travel long distances in search of a female. The animals could then be on the road for several months or even years. Seen from Bavaria, the nearest bear population is in Italy, in Trentino, around 120 kilometers from Bavaria. According to the information, about 100 animals live there. So it's quite possible that the bear found in Bavaria is an "Italian".
Sources: Bavarian State Office for the Environment, WWF, Deutschlandfunk
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