The brown bear (Ursus arctos) is a majestic animal and yet rarely found in Austria in the wild. But the Ötscher area and the bears in particular have a long history.
The history of the Ötscherbären
Once the brown bear was common throughout the Alpine region. With the beginning of the cultivation and cultivation of landscapes, the largest domestic predator not only lost habitat but was actively hunted as a food competitor. Until the middle of the 19th century, the bear was extinct in Austria. In 1842, the last Austrian brown bear was killed near Mariazell.
In 1972, a male probably migrated from Slovenia to the Ötscher area and became the first tarsal bear after extinction. In 1989, a resettlement project was started and the bear "Mira" caught in Croatia was released in the northern Limestone Alps. In June 1991, Mira gave birth to three boys. In the following years, two more bears - the male "Djuro" and the female "Cilka" - were released. Only four years after the resettlement, eight cubs were counted.
In September 1993, Mira was found dead. Probable cause of death was a crash or rockfall. Their three young bears could still successfully overwinter. In the same year, the bears caused more and more damage to apiaries and some sheep were torn. This led to more and more unrest in the regional population.
The most recent scientific data are from the year 2007. The stock in northern Kalkapen was then estimated at a maximum of five bears. Today there is no proof of residence of a brown bear in the Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Park. Food marks and other evidence indicate occasional individuals.
The bear in the nature park
The bear can also be found in many names in the park. There are, for example, the Bärenlacke in Trübenbach. This place was probably used by brown bears to quench the thirst and hence the name. The Bärengang was a popular hiking route for the bears in the Ötscher area. Forester and hunter have often observed the animals in this area near the rear torments leading to the naming.
Probably the best known place in the nature park with the big mammal in the name is the Hochbärneck in St.Anton on the Jeßnitz. Whether the name really has an animal origin is not known. In the past, the alpine pasture was written in Hochperneck. Since the term comes from the Holzschlägerung, this could have been the first name after the colonization.
The bear as a symbol of strength and strength
The bear has a symbolic meaning in many cultures. Especially his strength and size have always fascinated people. As bears are often solitary, they are also credited with freedom and savagery.
Especially the female bears, who take care of the young and protect against every enemy, are a symbol of the maternal instinct. That's why they were worshiped by the Indians.
Due to its usually slow movements, the bear also stands for peace, serenity and down-to-earthness.
Many of these descriptions also stand for the Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Park. The power of the water, the tranquility of nature, the freedom of the vast wilderness and the down-to-earthness of the local population characterize the landscape and the region. For these reasons, the brown bear also serves as a logo and heraldic animal from the Ötscher-Tormäuer Nature Park.
Svenson J.E., Gerstl N., Dahle B. & A. Zedrosser (2000): Action Plan for the Conservation of the Brown Bear (Ursus arctor) in Europe
WWF Report (2007): Status and Future of the Brown Bear in Europe and the Alps