A court has again suspended a decision to execute a mother bear that attacked and disembowelled a 26-year-old jogger in northern Italy at a time when she had three cubs.
The Regional Court of Administrative Justice of Trento in Italy was forced to order a stay of execution while considering an appeal by several animal rights organisations over a ruling by the President of the Province, Maurizio Fugatti, who ordered the killing of the bear named JJ4.
The culling order came after an initial destruction notice was suspended following an appeal from animal welfare organisations.
The bear had been due to be put to death on 11th May but was again given a last-minute reprieve as the court needed more time to consider the appeal case by organisations that included the Lega Anti Vivisezione (Anti-Vivisection League; LAV).
The organisation also claimed that the bear was being abused by being kept in a confined space and that eventually, even if she is free once again, the lack of free space will have damaged her and reduced her to a subspecies of bear.
The organisation had also offered to house the bear at its own expense abroad, a solution which was also proposed by the Italian Minister of the Environment Gilberto Pichetto Fratin and other organisations.
JJ4 was caught in the woods above the Val di Sole, in the northern Italian province of Trentino on 17th April – just a few miles from the site of the attack.
She is currently held in the Casteller wildlife centre and her capture came following a culling order that was signed by Fugatti after 26-year-old Andrea Papi was found mauled to death on 5th March.
Papi’s girlfriend had also demanded that the bear be caught and killed.
Investigators were reportedly able to determine which bear killed Papi through DNA testing.
The bear was captured with a fruit-baited tube trap and was accompanied by her three cubs which were just starting to be weaned off their mother’s milk.
Two cubs reportedly entered the trap with their mother and were later released.
Investigators believe the bear disembowelled the jogger after she killed him and dragged his body into the woods.
The 17-year-old bear, which is one of the oldest in the mountains of Trentino, has previously been saved from culling back in 2020.
Back then, JJ4 – or Gaia as her defenders renamed her – was accused of attacking a father and son who were walking on a nearby mountain.
After a long judicial dispute between the regional court and the Council of State, the bear was let off free.
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