Are There Bears in the Swiss Alps?
You won't find brown bears in the Jungfrau or in Valais where we do most of our hiking. After a brown bear was shot by a hunter in 1904, they were extinct from the Swiss Alps through most of the 20th century. But in recent years bears from the Slovenian Alps have extended their range into Austria, and in 2008 there was a sighting in eastern Switzerland. Given adequate protection, it's likely that bears will continue to extend their range and possibly even move into other areas of the Swiss Alps where they have long been extinct. Brown bears pose no real threat to hikers. In July 2006 Switzerland brought a "bear plan" into force to promote coexistence between humans and bears. It provides for bears to be killed if they are classified as posing a risk to humans, notably by frequenting human settlements and ignoring attempts to deter them.
Since March 2008 there has only been a few wild bears in Switzerland. The bear, known as M13, was believed to have killed several sheep on various occasions. M13 was first seen in the Engadine in April 2012. On several occasions he was seen near houses. He was fitted with a transmitter, which showed him wandering between Switzerland, Italy and Austria. In April 2012, M13 was hit by a train in Graubünden. Towards the end of 2012 M13 appeared in the Val Poschiavo, where he killed a donkey, destroyed beehives, and broke into a holiday home. His behavior led the environment office to classify him as a "problem bear". After waking up in February 2013 he continued to show total lack of fear of humans. He was classified as posing a safety risk and shot on February 19, 2016.
More recently, a bear, known as M29, who was born in Italy, migrated into Switzerland in 2016. The bear wandered north and in April 2018 was spotted in Engelberg. This was the first bear sighting in canton Bern in 190 years.