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   xoxoxoBruce  Sunday Feb 19 11:20 PM

Feb 20th, 2017: Bear Moat

The historic Českż Krumlov Castle in the Czech Republic, was built in the mid-13th century by the powerful
Rosenberg family. Itís the second largest castle in the Czech Republic, on a rocky promontory with the Vltava
river on one side and the Polečnice stream on the other. The castle complex contains forty buildings and
palaces, five castle courts, a large rococo garden, and a bridge over a deep gap in the rock it was built on.
There were lots of bears around like free range guards.

The Rosenberg family were forced to sell the castle to the Romans in 1601. The protective moat between the
first and the second courtyards was dug at the beginning of the 17th century and the bears installed in the
last half of the 17th century.

From the first record in 1707, Bears were kept in the moat throughout most of the 18th century. There were
two long gaps in the 19th and early-20th century, when the moat remained empty. In 1907, bears returned
to the moat, and since then, the moat has never been bear-free.

Every year at Christmas and on the bearsí birthdays, the castle operators organize bear festivals. The moat
is festively decorated and there are piles of presents and food for the bears. The bears and these festivals
are very popular among children visitors of the castle.
I donít think the bears get a vote.


Snakeadelic  Monday Feb 20 09:25 AM

The original white Bengal tigers lived in a somewhat similar situation when discovered. There was a single population, much less well known even in their homeland than these bears, and the only reason any survived was the local low-tier royalty could afford to put out extra meat. Contrary to so, so many starry-eyed "legends" I keep running into online, white tigers were not and are not Siberian in origin. I've always thought the gene that scrubs off the orange might be useful in the Siberian population, but apparently Nature disagrees. Many white tigers now are subspecies hybrids (useless for repopulation programs) and the subject of endless argument over whether they should continue to be (in)bred in captivity at all.

These bears appear to have had a good deal going for a long time. And I'd bet their living conditions now are the best they've ever been. Besides, if you ask the average kid "Do you wanna go see a castle where the moat isn't full of water because bears live in it?" the average kid is probably gonna break the sound barrier getting to their parents' car, where they'll GPS the castle and start yelling about when can they leave to go see the bear moat!

Snakeadelic  Monday Feb 20 09:41 AM

Also, between this, the geology of limestone karst environments, and Plitvice, if I'm ever gonna travel overseas I will be going straight to eastern Europe. if you haven't seen/heard of Plitvice, also known as the Land of Falling Lakes. One of the very few places in the world where travertine pools (like the ones in Turkey and in a couple of American National Parks) form in heavy forest.

xoxoxoBruce  Monday Feb 20 11:08 AM

I took this in Grand Canyon National Park.

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