The brown bear named Amarena (“black cherry”), which repeatedly remained in villages in the central Italian Apennine region of Abruzzo, was shot dead in the San Benedetto dei Marsi area of L’Aquila province overnight. The man who killed the bear has been located, the administration of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park said. Investigations into the case are ongoing. About 60 grizzly bears live in the park.
“There is no reason that justifies the incident. Although Amarena caused damage to agriculture and livestock, this was always compensated by the park. The bear, who traveled with her cubs, was never a problem for humans,” wrote the park administration. A few days ago she was filmed in a village. The dead bear’s cubs are being searched by drones and rangers.
Animal rights activists: “Hash campaign against predators”
The animal protection association OIPA called for appropriate punishment for the man who killed Amarena. “Amarena is the victim of a defamatory campaign against predators that has been ongoing in Italy for months,” the association complained.
The man who shot Amarena justified himself by saying that the bear surprised him after she entered his property. “I shot out of fear, I just wanted to scare her and not kill her,” the man reported. Death threats against him appeared on social media.
Amarena was a Martian brown bear. This is a subspecies of which only around 50 animals remain, compared to around 100 in 1980. This species lives in the central Apennines of Italy. The death of “Amarena” again raises questions about the often problematic coexistence of bears with people in mountain communities. The issue is also current in Trentino-South Tyrol. Since 2010, 15 bears have been killed in central Italy, three of them in Abruzzo parks.
“The news of the murder of the Amarena bear is a serious gesture against the entire Abruzzo region, causing sadness and anger. Over the years, communities outside and inside the parks have always shown that coexistence with bears is possible”, commented bitterly the president of the Mountainous Region of Abruzzo, Marco Marsilio.