- A brown bear dubbed Mike by its fans has been shot and killed by gamekeepers in a mountainous border region in southeastern Switzerland after several run-ins with locals, Swiss officials said on Wednesday.
How to deal with the bear, known as M13 by authorities, had sparked controversy between gamekeepers and environmentalists far outside the Graubuenden canton, which borders on Italyand Austria and where the animal was most often spotted.
Swiss gamekeepers said Mike, given the name by creators of a Twitter account set up to track him and spread his fame, had increasingly pushed into populated areas and shown no fear of people, presenting a major safety risk.
“The bear’s behavior couldn’t be changed,” wildlife wardens in the canton — home to famous winter holiday resorts like St Moritz, Klosters and Davos – said in a statement.
Mike’s adventures, such as breaking into beehives belonging to a school in the town of Poschiavo, were closely monitored after he was fitted with a tracking device last June.
Sightings – including when he was hit by a train on the local Rhaetian Railway, a major tourist draw – became a staple in Swiss tabloids, and Mike’s popularity grew when the Twitter account was set up.