The "Bear Pit", which still exists, and remains at the bears' disposal, has been listed as one of the federal cultural objects of national significance and has been included in the highest cantonal preservation category. The pit is connected to the park via a tunnel.
Guests can go on a tour of the old bear pit as well as the new bear park. They get to see the new park with its green hilly terrain, which includes caves and the "Bear Bath" in the Aare River.
I live in Switzerland but am most definitely not Swiss. The Bern Bear Park is a travesty. The Swiss attitude to animal rights is hypocritical and cavalier. As long as things have a "humane" stamp on them (think "bio" meat, gobbled up conscience-free by every Swiss in the name of a good "grill-party"), then animal exploitation is acceptable and even encouraged. According to the Swiss, these majestic animals don't deserve freedom, just a new strip of grass. The fact that they even built the adjoining park is an admission of guilt. In typical Swiss style, they went in for a compromise, and instead of freedom, gave them a swimming pool. Does this remind you of other compromises which still allowed tourist and foreign cash to keep filling their coffers? All in all, those bears should count themselves lucky, though. The few wild bears that do manage to make it across Swiss borders are usually dealt with in the most uncompromising way of all: with a shotgun.
Graham in Canberra
We visited this horror some years ago and It shook my belief that Switzerland was a forward thinking country. These poor miserable animals are still treated so poorly. They should be traeted in a much better environment. Swiss myopia at large with no respect for creatures other than for contained space to gawk at and of course the attraction of visitor spending in nthe City. Damned animals!!
I agree with Amy. This is so much better than the concrete pits but what would be EVEN BETTER would be to retire the bears to a sanctuary or release them back into the wild. I will be urging everyone I know not to visit Bern until the bears are no longer there.
Switzerland needs to abolish this park completley. I'm glad it was finally upgraded from the concrete hole in the ground where they used to live, but this is still not right. If Switzerland (Bern) really loves the bear they should be free to roam and live normal bear lives. Put them into rebahilitation or a wildlife sanctuary. Shame on Switzerland. I'm sorry but I will not be visiting the city of Bern.
Nice. I might like to visit someday.