The Italian Almanac

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it's a wild life

Italian News - May 30

An Italian bear who grabbed the European media spotlight last week by straying into 'hostile' German territory has been sighted alive and well in Austria. The brown bear disappeared after Bavarian authorities gave a green light for the animal to be killed, saying it was a threat because it seemed to have developed a taste for fresh meat.

The bear, dubbed 'Bruno' by the media, has allegedly disembowelled seven Bavarian sheep and broken into a henhouse or two, raising alarm among farmers north of the Austrian border. The 'kill' order provoked anger and horror in Italy, which dispatched a team of experts to "save the bear", preferably by getting it back onto Italian territory. But then the animal dropped out of sight and after a few days there were reports it had been killed.

But on Sunday night WWF operatives in Austria spotted Bruno in the southern Zillertal valley, not far from the Italian border. The bear is believed to come from the Adamello-Brenta park in northern Italy. To get into Germany it wandered about 80 km from its home, passing through Austria and into the Oberammagau area of Bavaria.

German experts were initially excited, announcing that it was the first wild bear seen in the country for about 170 years. After its jaunt into Germany, the bear seems to have decided by itself that returning to Italy is the best option. It only needs to amble another 20 km and it will be back on friendly soil.