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    Bear who killed jogger gets stay of execution, though she’s a repeat offender
    • April 14, 2023

    A bear who killed a jogger last week in Italy has been given a stay of execution – even though the animal had previously mauled people.

    The 17-year-old bear now will remain alive at least until May 11, after the tribunal in the city of Trento approved an ordinance sought by several wildlife protection agencies.

    The animal – officially JJ4, but commonly known as Gaia – fatally mauled 26-year-old Andrea Papi on April 5 in a nature reserve near Caldes, a town in Italy’s mountainous northeast corner. His body was found a day later, after his family reported him missing.

    DNA, including some found on a stick with which Papi apparently tried to defend himself, identified the bear as one who had attacked two hikers in the same area in June 2020. After that attack, her death had been ordered, but a court rescinded the order and declared that she should be monitored with a tracking device.

    The battery in that device died a few days before the attack on Papi.

    On April 12, Trento Governor Maurizio Fugatti signed the order to cull JJ4. Fugatti now has until May 11 to appeal the tribunal’s stay.

    A statement on the website of the animal welfare group Anti-Vivisezione said that they petitioned the court to protect JJ4 because the order to cull was “an action that appeared more like a gesture of revenge against the bear than an effective search for everyone’s safety in a peaceful and informed coexistence.”

    JJ4 had recently given birth and experts say her aggressive act may have been linked to a perceived threat against her cubs.

    But the World Wildlife Fund, which had previously petitioned to keep JJ4 alive, told CNN they agree that the bear should be put down. It said seven people had been attacked by bears in Italy in the past 20 years; Papi was the first to be killed.

    JJ4 is one of about 100 bears in the province of Trentino. Twenty years ago, there were three; then the European Union project Life Ursus began to reintroduce brown bears into the region. The original projection was that the bears would spread across the Alps, but most have remained in Trentino.

    JJ4 was born in the region to a pair imported from Slovenia around 2000 as part of Life Ursus.

    Fugatti’s office said that the project had “become unsustainable.” There are now three other bears with judicial orders to be culled.

    In the previous attack attributed to JJ4, Fabio Misseroni, 59, and his son Christian Misseroni, 28, were attacked as they hiked on Mount Peller, 3 miles south of Caldes.

    JJ4 is the sister of JJ1, a “problem bear” known as Bruno who attacked farm animals in Bavaria. He was killed in 2006 under a “shoot-to-kill” order from the government.

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