Around two weeks after the deadly attack on a jogger in northern Italy, foresters captured the wild bear JJ4. The female bear was caught in the night by the Trentino forest corps with the help of a large pipe trap and prepared for subsequent transport to a wildlife reserve, the regional president of Trentino-Alto Adige, Maurizio Fugatti, told journalists. "The capture of JJ4 now brings more calm and security to the area."
At around 11 p.m. at night, the emergency services in Val Meledrio, a connecting valley near Val di Sole in the northern Italian province of Trentino, managed to catch it. According to the information, the bear had a total of three cubs of about two years old. During the catch, two of the three boys got caught in the pipe trap, but were released a little later. The boys are already weaned and fully independent and have therefore been separated from JJ4, said Raffaele de Col, who is responsible for civil protection in the region.
JJ4 with M49 in enclosure
The bear was then placed in an electrically-secured enclosure at the Casteller Animal Care Center in the province of Trentino, where another "problem" bear, M49, is already located. In addition to bears, lynxes and wolves are also native to the mountainous and wooded area. Fugatti said after catching JJ4, the search would continue for two other "dangerous bears," MJ5 and M62. According to him, the danger of bears in the area has not yet been completely averted.
A 26-year-old jogger was found dead in early April along a forest path in the Trentino municipality of Caldes, in a valley (Val di Sole) popular with hikers and tourists. His body and face were covered with deep scratches and bite marks. The bear JJ4, who had already attracted attention several times, had attacked and killed the man. A DNA comparison later revealed that she was the sister of the "problem bear" Bruno, who was shot dead in Bavaria in 2006.
Kill orders cancelled
17-year-old female bear JJ4, also known in Trentino as Gaia, is no stranger to the area. The animal attacked two people, a father and his son, on Monte Peller around summer 2020. Even then, the province gave the shooting order for the bear. However, the responsible administrative court overturned the decision a little later and arranged for JJ4 to be fitted with a radio collar, which ultimately stopped working.
After the attack on the Trentino jogger two weeks ago, the province ordered the animal to be killed again. But again the administrative court in Trento overturned the shooting order after animal welfare organizations had appealed. According to the decree, the order will initially be suspended until May 11th. Then there will be a court hearing to decide JJ4's fate. In his own words, Fugatti will continue to work to ensure that the court allows the bear to be shot.
After the death of the young jogger, a heated debate erupted in Italy about the coexistence of bears and humans. Around 100 bears have been living in Trentino since the "Life Ursus" settlement project. Fugatti reiterated on Tuesday that bear numbers must be halved and aggressive and dangerous bears must be killed. He was saddened by the discussion: "The problem is not JJ4, but that in the face of the death of a young man we are talking about a bear and not about a human life."
Animal rights activists, on the other hand, criticize the plans and advocate the establishment of wildlife corridors or raising public awareness of how to deal with wild animals. The bears are part of the Alps. You have to try to live together - bear and man.