An animal sanctuary in Germany is trying to save a bear due to be put down in Italy following a fatal attack on a jogger.
The bear sanctuary in Bad Fuessing, near Passau, has pleaded with the administrative court in Trento, Italy, to save the animal from being shot.
Munich lawyer and Animal Union chairman Arpad von Gaal, 60, told local media: “When the decision to shoot the bear was made, we submitted a written letter of intent to the authorities and the administrative court in Trento.
“We wanted to give the bear a chance.”
He explained: “Our bear sanctuary has been in existence since 2008. We have already rescued 24 bears there.”
The sanctuary is currently home to 14 bears, including Franzi, Romeo, and Goliath. Von Gaal is hoping that Gaia will be the latest addition.
He said: “These bears all come from poor private captivity – some circus bears, many from cage confinement, where they couldn’t even stand upright.
“They come from Russia, Albania, former Yugoslavia, Lithuania, Italy, Bulgaria, and Spain. We have an international presence there.”
The bears at the sanctuary live in two densely-wooded enclosures, each measuring 100,000 square metres and surrounded by metre-high fences.
Although the sanctuary is not a zoo, visitors can see the animals via a walking path around the area, a viewing platform, and an hour-long tour every Thursday.
Von Gaal is under no illusion that integrating Gaia into the sanctuary will be easy. He said: “The fact that Gaia is a wild bear makes a difference. It’s a challenge.”
He added: “Like all new arrivals, she would first come into quarantine for four to six weeks until the doctor releases her.
“After that, she would be placed in a single enclosure – it’s one hectare with a swimming pool and many trees.
“Only then would we see if she could be introduced to other bears.”
Von Gaal hopes that a decision on the animal’s fate will be made next month (May).
Gaia was captured alive and taken to a fenced wildlife enclosure after she attacked and killed a young man in northern Italy.
Victim Andrea Papi, 26, was disembowelled by the mother bear while he was out jogging in the woods above the Sole Valley on 5th March.
The 17-year-old animal was finally captured on 17th April.
Hundreds of people protested on 23rd April, demanding that the Trento government release the bear.
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Story By: William McGee, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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