A female bear Accused of fatally injuring a jogger Innocent in northern Italy, animal rights activists told AFP on Thursday that the victim’s teeth marks proved the attacker was male.
The 17-year-old bear, identified as JJ4, is being held in a high-security enclosure while a court in Trentino province decides whether he should be euthanized.
“JJ4 is innocent,” animal welfare association Leal said
Province of Trentino
The brown bear is accused of killing Andrea Papi on April 5 while running along a forest path in a mountainous area near her village. The 26-year-old suffered injuries to his neck and head.
Papi’s family said they did not want to kill the bear.
Trentino president Maurizio Fugatti said traces of JJ4 were found at the scene and he ordered his capture, promising to destroy him.
Trento provincial authorities ordered him euthanized, but animal rights groups appealed to an administrative court, which suspended the order.
Officials in Trento announced last month that the female bear was trapped overnight in a tube trap baited with fresh fruit.
“The removal of Jj4 now ensures greater peace of mind and safety in the area,” officials said in a statement with a photo of the bear’s captivity.
Jj4 is the same alpine brown bear that injured a father and son while hiking in the area in 2020. Still, the Trento provincial authorities ordered his execution but a court blocked the move
The bear was separated from her three two-year-old cubs, but activists have issued a legal appeal against the killing order.
Among the documents examined by the court, which is set to rule on May 24, is a forensic report submitted by the region and drawn up by the pathologist Mattia Barbarecchi who attended the autopsy.
He found bite marks “characterized by a distance of about 8 cm to 8.5 cm between them, which is the normal distance between an adult bear dog”.
Leal said it presented another forensic report to the court, by two veterinary experts who studied Barbarecchi’s findings, which claimed the distance between the dogs was “that of a full-grown male,” not a female.
“We have asked the court to order a special veterinary doctor to examine the samples, to measure his teeth,” said Lille’s lawyer, Aurora Loprete.
The association also said that finding traces of JJ4’s DNA at the scene was not proof that he was the killer, raising questions about whether the collection process was done properly.
Leal said the autopsy also showed it was a “prolonged attempt by the bear to distance and discourage hunting” rather than “a deliberate or predatory attack.”
Papi’s death sparked a debate about the threat posed by bears, which were reintroduced to the region between 1996 and 2004.
About 100 of them are now in Trentino, according to the province.
Arterra/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Fugatti ordered the JJ4 taken down in 2020, after an attack on two hikers, but that order was overturned by a court.
JJ4 was replaced with a radio collar so he could be tracked, but the device’s battery went flat and was not replaced.
Animal rights groups insist that bears generally keep their distance from people and that it is up to local authorities to keep people away from areas where female bears raise their cubs.
In 2020, a brown bear was caught on camera climbing onto the balcony of an apartment building in the northern Italian city of Calliano.