People before bears in South Tyrol

Bears roaming in the Dolomites. Photo: Tim Hersevoort

BOLZANO – Farmer unions should be more active in Brussels to stop the resurrection of the brown bear in Central Europe. This to protect themselves and their land, says the director of the farmers union in South Tyrol.

By Tim Hersevoort

Throughout the last decade the brown bear has been returning in the mountainous regions of Central Europe, among others via resettlement projects in Italy, Austria and France. But in the Italian Dolomite province of South Tyrol, not everybody is happy with its return.

As mountain farmer Oswald Schwarz says in the local newspaper Dolomiten: “Must someone first get harmed before something can be done about it?”European problemAccording to Siegfried Rinner, director of the local farmers union (Bauernbund), not only South Tyroleans, but also people in Switserland, Piedmont and France have troubles with the bears.

Because the brown bear is a protected species by the European Union, he suggests that local farmer unions should unite in Brussels to fight the danger.Not everybody is unhappy with the revival of the European bear though. Biologists and ecologists see their return to their former natural habitat as a success story and wish to let them settle and live there.

About T Hersevoort