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Italy court suspends order to kill bear after fatal attack

News welcomed by animal rights groups.

An order to kill a bear responsible for killing a man in a mountain area of Italy's northern Trentino province has been suspended by the regional administrative court of Trento.

The region's president Maurizio Fugatti had ordered the capture and killing of the wild animal, a 17-year-old female known as JJ4, after the fatal attack on jogger Andrea Papi on 5 April.

The bear's stay of execution, in force until 11 May, follows an appeal by the Italian Anti-Vivisection League (LAV) against the order to have the animal killed.

Describing the court's decision as a setback to the "arrogance" of Fugatti, LAV welcomed the news on Twitter, writing: "Bears and Trentino citizens have the right to live in peace."

JJ4 was identified after tests were carried out on bloodied tree branch believed to have been used by Papi, 26, in an attempt to defend himself in the bear attack.

"It's not my son's fault and not even the bear's" - Papi's mother stated in a letter issued by her lawyer after her son's funeral on Wednesday - "shooting the bear won't give me back Andrea."

Papi's family plans to sue the Italian state and the Trento province for reintroducing bears in Trentino as part of the Life Ursus scheme which Fugatti claims has got out of hand in recent years.

"The management of this project, over time, has become increasingly incautious and inadequate and has not taken into account and evaluated the growth in the number of bears and the population", reads the statement from the Papi family, which demands that somebody be held responsible "for the lack of protection and prevention, they can't get away with it."

JJ4 was the same bear that attacked a father and son hiking on Monte Peller in 2020, prompting Fugatti at the time to order that the animal be killed, a decision subsequently overturned by courts.

Papi was the first human to be killed since the wild animals were reintroduced in Trentino after being imported from Slovenia in 1999, with several of the bears recently deemed "problematic" by local authorities.

The scheme had originally envisaged about 50 bears in the province but the population has since swelled to around 100 animals.

File photo Shutterstock

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