Court grants reprieve to brown bear that killed Italian jogger | Italy

An Italian court has suspended a ruling that a brown bear should be put down for mauling to death a jogger in the Alps.

The animal, a 17-year-old female identified as JJ4, was captured after the fatal attack on Andrea Papi, 26, near his village of Caldes on 5 April. He was the first person in Italy to be killed in a bear attack in modern times.

Judges at the Rome administrative court, known as the council of state, said on Friday that while the bear should be kept in captivity for public safety, the cull order was “disproportionate” and unnecessary.

It was another reprieve for the bear, whose fate has grabbed media attention since the attack. The head of the province of Trento, where the attack took place, has pushed for the bear to be destroyed, while animal rights groups have fought for it to be spared.

A definitive decision is not expected until a further appeal in December.

The area around the northern city of Trento, which was repopulated with bears from 1999 under an EU-funded programme, has had several bear attacks in recent years, raising questions about how cohabitation with the mammals can be achieved successfully.

JJ4 had previously been blamed for attacks on two other people.

The animal rights lobby group LAV welcomed Friday’s court ruling and said it should secure a safe future for the bear.

“There is no more reason to delay JJ4’s transfer to a safe and authorised refuge in Romania,” said Massimo Vitturi, a spokesperson for LAV, which has found a Romanian refuge and offered to pay for the bear to be taken there.

The Rome judges also gave a reprieve to another bear, MJ5, which has yet to be captured and was also facing a cull order after injuring a man in March.


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