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Reno Sommerhalder


I was born in Zürich, Switzerland in 1965. Right after finishing a chef’s apprenticeship, I emigrated to Canada on a whim and have put down my roots here in the Rocky Mountains since 1986. That same year, an encounter with a bear would change my life forever.

This meeting, during which the bear entered my tent as a result of my own wrong doing, ended with both of us parting unharmed. Now so many years later, it seems to me that it must have been the soul bearer of the ursidaes himself, as I have since that moment dedicated, first all of my spear time and then later, my entire life to the understanding and conservation of bears and their habitat.

Since my “escape” from Europe, I spend my summers among bears in Canada, Alaska, Russia or Europe. After thousands of hours among these magnificent animals, there is no doubt in my mind that bears are highly tolerant and peace loving critters. It is obvious that as long as we can abort the old myth of Ursus horribilis, which are mainly based on irrational fear, Hollywood and hunting lore, that we humans can learn to peacefully co-exist next to these important indicators for a healthy environment.     
In the past many years I out myself through survival workshops and have been certified (ACMG) as a wilderness guide. I have helped with the field work on scientific projects, conducted bear safety workshops and behavioural research on bears in order to better understand human behaviour during encounters with these gentle giants. I have been hired by NGO’s and governments to help advise about conservation of brown or grizzly bears. With the help of guided tours, multimedia presentations, books, documentaries and media stories, I am continuously pointing towards the urgent necessity to protect the natural spaces that are left and with it the wildlife inhabiting them.

I am even able to surprise anyone interested with a most unconventional and adventurous meal, prepared entirely with bear foods.

I would be happy to hear from you!

Reno Sommerhalder

In the wilderness is the salvation of the world.

Henry David Thoreau

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