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The wilderness holds us in Greece


A couple of Austrians fights more than 10 years for the bear’s rescue
Reporting: Fotini Stefanopoulou
Published on Thursday the 14th of January 2010
Greece is a heaven for the wild nature. Unfortunately, there are few people that realize the advantage of being able to exploit the tourism development.  ‘’I hope, at least, to understand and develop it before destroy the natural environment’’.

The love for the wild fauna and the adventure brought Susan Rigler and her husband, Arwin, from Austria to Greece. She is a veterinarian and her husband an environmentalist and they lived the last 10 years in our country providing their services for the bear and the wolf rescue, at Arktouros at the beginning and now at the Kalisto ecological Organization.
«We were working together at the centre of lost animals in Vienna. However we wanted to move abroad in order to deal with wild animals and get into contact with the nature and the mountains. At the beginning, in 1998 we went to England, first to London and then to Norwich, but we could not stand the rain! Thus, during the summer of 2000 we pack all our staff in the car and came to Greece. We visited Lefkada where we have some friends. We have been carried away by the summer and the sea leaving few months pass away by doing several works. When we heard that Arktouros organization search for people, we applied and we got the job», says Ms. Ringel in the «ΝΕΑ» newspaper.

Natural wealth

They were caught immediately by the mountainous volumes of Pindos, not only by their beauty but also for their rare fauna. «In Austria we have destroyed everything by constructing roads and skiing centers. The mountains have only animals that man is not afraid of, such as wild pigs, rabbits and deers which we take care in order to be able to hunt them. Many of our friends who want to see wild animals, mainly bears, go to America or Canada.  Here the nature has life. The biodiversity of Grammos, for example, is unique and it could be exploited for tourism provided that is not going to be destroyd by the asphalt», Susan pointed.
They have worked at Arktouros organization since February 2004, however in meanwhile they gave birth to their first son. The difficulties that the organization has faced concerning the realization of its projects, made them return back to their country. This was only for a while as when they heard that some jobs were provided at Kalisto, they came back to Greece without second thoughts. Henceforth they live together with their two kids at Nestorio Kastoria and they are not thinking of going back to Austria. «In Austria we are operating in a programme. We are doing whatever they say immediately. Here things are exactly the opposite. Life is more chaotic. The day begins peacefully and then I have to run in order to finish all my work. But this is also good. There is no doubt that we have used to it and we cannot return», she notices.

«They are very sensitive animals»

Susan enjoys the contact with the wild animals and mainly with bears: «Bears are very sensitive animals and not wild as they seem to be. They very much look like men. They want peace and they react only when they are provoked». However, she feels very concerned about the car accidents and the murders that lead to the extinction of the bear kind. «Many farmers behave like this because the compensations received in case of disasters from wild animals are too low. As for the car accidents, what we have expected with the fencing that has been done? It seems to me that first will die all bears and then we will change the fences, except for the case of man death. The certain thing is the law should change» she concluded.
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