Berne's bearpit gets a major makeover

( dpa ) - Things are looking up for bears in the Swiss capital Berne which is famous for both these big, furry animals and the less than ideal conditions in which they are kept.

Now after many years the bears are about to get a new custom-built home on the outskirts of city named after what was allegedly the first wild beast killed by its hunting founder in the Middle Ages.

Bears have been kept in a pit in Berne for centuries but many visitors are dismayed to see the creatures languishing in an ancient pit in the Nydegggasse alongside the River Aare. The site is historically correct but it gives the animals little view of the world outside.

This year marks the last season for the "Baerengraben" which dates back to 1857 and once held as many as 12 bears. Modernisation in the mid 1990s did little to silence the criticism from tourists and animal rights activists who maintain that the sunken concrete oval measuring just 3.5 metres across pit is not a suitable place to keep Tana and Pedro - two Pyrenean brown bears born in 1981.

At night, the bears are locked in their cages but at their new stomping ground in a 6,000-square-metre park they will be able to gambol outside to their heart's content. The new riverside reserve is costing 9.7 million Swiss francs (9.6 million dollars) to build and will extend along the Aare.

"The money is there and construction work will continue throughout this year. The re-opening ceremony is planned for summer 2009," said Berne's head of tourism Markus Lergier. He makes no secret of the fact that he would have preferred to see the bears' new home finished in time for this summer's European Football Championship which Switzerland is co-hosting.

"Nevertheless we are looking forward to next year," said Lergier.

Visitors to the three Euro games in Berne this coming June and other tourists will still be able to peer at Tana and Pedro. A vendor will also be on hand as usual to sell the carrots and other food which visitors like to toss to the animals.

And although the bears will have to wait a while for more salubrious surroundings, city guide Domenico Bernabei says they enjoy a healthy, "80 per cent vegetarian diet" which includes plenty of grapes and other fruit.

Tana and Pedro were two years old when they arrived in Berne and as a rule they take the air in the summer months from 8.30 to 18.00 daily.

At 27, they are not yet ready for retirement but it is planned to settle a new pair of bears in the revamped reserve, with the aim of breeding cubs, said Lergier. The new park has been designed to resemble as far as possible the natural habitat of the bears, allowing them to roam at will 24 hours a day, to hibernate in caves, dig holes and hunt their own fish.

In their new home the bears may become a little harder to spot but most tourists will prefer this to having to see the animals in unnatural confinement.

Turkmenistan reveals schedule of intercity buses
Turkmenistan reveals schedule of intercity buses
UK's European Technology Development Ltd interested in doing business in Turkmenistan
UK's European Technology Development Ltd interested in doing business in Turkmenistan
Turkmenistan's State Enterprise opens tender to buy electrical equipment
Turkmenistan's State Enterprise opens tender to buy electrical equipment
Loading Bars
Latest
Chinese embassy opposes Indian media's allegation on cyberattacks
OPEC sees positive oil market outlook, continued downside risks
Iran's CBI discloses number and value of exchanged checks
Italian Parliament demands provision of maps of mined areas of Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
AZAL Announces Conditions for Rebooking Tickets for Flights Canceled due to COVID-19 Pandemic
Singapore's manufacturing PMI falls to 50.5 in February
Promise to provide countries with necessary vaccines within COVAX initiative is not fulfilled - State Agency of Medical Insurance
Parliament head to support all joint efforts for new constitution
Georgian President appreciates EU support
Macron to hold phone talk with Iranian counterpart over JCPOA
OECD recommends Georgia to support land registration reform for increasing FDI-SME linkages
Turkmenistan reveals schedule of intercity buses
Azerbaijan's State Tax Service registers Fuzuli Airport LLC
Azerbaijan felt Turkey's support not only during Karabakh war but throughout history - Minister
Int’l Model Non-Aligned Movement Simulation Exercise underway - Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry
Azerbaijan, Germany interested in increasing mutual trade turnover - Deputy minister
Iran's Energy Exchange announces products to be on sale on March 3
Azerbaijani State Agency of Automobile Roads talks about repair and construction on roads
Azerbaijani Finance Ministry places medium-term bonds at auction
Azerbaijan shows footage from Ucbulag village of Fuzuli district (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Georgia to receive first doses of COVID-19 vaccine via Covax platform in February
Irrigation systems to be put into operation in Iran’s agricultural sector
Azerbaijani Defense Ministry shares updated list of martyred servicemen in Second Karabakh War
Larization of loans increase in Georgia
Georgian AgroZone products to be exported abroad from Kutaisi Airport
Turkish specialists together with Azerbaijan’s AzTV to shoot film in Nagorno-Karabakh region
Ro-Pax ferry vessel commissioned by Azerbaijan's president - video report
Azerbaijani winemakers’ production down in 2020
Azerbaijan, Tajikistan discuss development of tourism co-op
Georgia’s banking sector begins year with profit
France uses only quarter of Astrazeneca vaccine doses
Uzbek-Korean JV to buy spare parts for electric actuator via tender
Kazakhstan identifies priority tasks to develop agriculture by 2025
Georgian Ministry of Finance sees decrease in mobilized income tax
Likelihood of interest rate decrease in Azerbaijan for 2021 seems minimal - Unicapital
Azerbaijan's AzNET segment neutralizes more phishing attacks in Jan.2021
Azerbaijan's new borrowings not to raise debt burden - Gazprombank
Azerbaijan studying Turkey's experience to strengthen institution of primary health care (PHOTO)
Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan talk big potential for co-op in agriculture
Hertz set to ride out of bankruptcy with $4.2 billion from investment firms
Money transfers via int'l payment systems down in Kazakhstan
Azercell obtains yet another award on customer experience management
German companies may take part in restoring Azerbaijan's liberated lands - ambassador
Excavation of well in Iran's Ahvaz oil field launched
Uzbekistan considers resuming air communication with Russia
Bahar Azadi gold coin price again falling in Iran
Kazakhstan, Georgia resume mutual flights as COVID-19 restrictions lifted
Uzbekistan eyes expanding mutually beneficial relations with foreign partners
Azerbaijan and Germany to continue co-op on improving qualifications of managers
Generation data of Iran's Shahid Rajaee TPP announced
Lithuania supports subsidizing renewable energy projects in Georgia
Demand for pick-up trucks in Azerbaijan may increase - expert
Kazakhstan boosts agriculture output, sets up tasks for sector's dev't
Turkey issues Jan. 2021 data on passenger traffic at Istanbul Airport
Azerbaijani company discloses output of primary aluminum
Spain's jobless hit four million for first time in five years as pandemic curbs bite
Volume of exports from Iran's Qom Province increases
S.Korean oil company holding exploration on land plots in Uzbekistan
EU executive says joint vaccine strategy not unravelling
Azerbaijan, Germany discuss expanding cooperation in oil & gas sector
Azerbaijani business environment entering recovery period - Minister of Economy
Iran's awaits action from US over JCPOA
Indonesia says identifies two cases of British COVID-19 variant
Europe – Iran held business forum to expand trade
Uzbek-Russian JV completes geological exploration at Akchalak investment block
Azerbaijani electricity supplier first to use special-purpose UAVs
Iran reaches gas export growth
Turkish president instructs to shoot TV series about Karabakh war victory
Cargo, passenger traffic via Turkish Sabiha Gokcen Airport down from early 2021
Germany to extend coronavirus lockdown until March 28
Iran unveils data of imports, exports through Anzali port
Azerbaijan records notable growth in population's US dollar demand
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for March 2
Azerbaijani Association of Travel Agencies and Association of Travel Bloggers sign agreement of understanding (PHOTO)
Union ministers Amit Shah, S Jaishankar get Covid-19 vaccine after PM Modi
Azerbaijan to hold new auction for public property facilities
Azerbaijan in cooperation with Turkey to make movie about Karabakh War
TV, radio channels to be non-accredited for 2021 Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Iran's Changuleh - 'a very complex oil field', says official
Proven gas reserves not adequate to furnish rising demand
BHOS launches next ‘Business Education for Engineers’ course
Iran to build combined cycle power plan in Mazandaran Province
Azerbaijan confirms 143 more COVID-19 recoveries
Gold, silver prices down in Azerbaijan
Nitin Gadkari: Despite Covid, highway construction at a record of over 32 km a day
IAF To Take Part In Multinational Exercise "Desert Flag" With France, US In UAE
Uzbekistan reports increases in gasoline price
Uzbek ministry to purchase computer equipment via tender
Uzbek commodity exchange reports volume of RON-80 gasoline sold
Russia's Novak preparing for OPEC+ meeting on March 4
UK's European Technology Development Ltd interested in doing business in Turkmenistan
Iran discusses potential of power transmission lines to neighboring countries
Uzbek commodity exchange reports volume of goods sold for Feb. 22-28
Azerbaijan's Tax Service registers local affiliate of UAE's Masdar company
Azerbaijan shares data on mortgage and guaranteed loans issued over February 2021
Azerbaijan reveals amount of foreign currency bought by banks
Georgia shares details of state property privatized for symbolic price
F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2021 to be hosted without spectators
F1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix to be held until 2024
Georgia reports 461 new cases of coronavirus for March 2
All news