Troubled bear Amarena shot dead in Abruzzo

Troubled bear “Amarena” shot dead in Abruzzo

The bear, which lives in a national park, has repeatedly invaded villages. The shooter claims the animal entered his property and fired out of fear. There are death threats against him on social media.

The brown bear called “Amarena” (Black Cherry), which repeatedly invaded villages in the central Italian Apennine region of Abruzzo and frightened the population, was shot dead on Friday night in the San Benedetto dei Marsi area. The man who killed the woman has been located, the administration of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park said. Investigations 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 was with her cubs, was never a problem for people,” wrote the park administration. The dead animal’s cubs are being searched for by drones and rangers.

The animal protection association OIPA called for appropriate punishment for the man who killed Amarena. The association complained that she was the victim of a months-long smear campaign against predators in Italy. The shooter, of course, justified himself by saying that he was surprised by the bear after it entered her property. “I shot out of fear, I just wanted to scare her and not kill her,” the man reported. Death threats against him, presumably coming from militant animal rights activists, have already appeared on social media.

Problematic coexistence with fatalities

In January, a male brown bear named “Juan Carrito,” who became a social media star for his forays into the mountain village of Roccaraso in Abruzzo, was hit by a car and seriously injured. He later died. The 150-kilo bear was four years old and was known to have broken into a pastry shop and the kitchen of a well-known three-star restaurant in Roccaraso to get food.

Juan Carrito and Amarena were the so-called Martian brown bears. This is a subspecies of which only around 50 animals remain, compared to around 100 in 1980. The species lives in the central Apennines of Italy.

Amarena’s death again raises questions about the bears’ often problematic coexistence with people in mountain communities. The topic is also current in Trentino/South Tyrol, where a runner was killed by a bear in the spring of this year. It comes from a population that was transferred from Slovenia to Trentino/South Tyrol in the late 1990s, as part of a not uncontroversial EU project, and since then has apparently multiplied much more than expected. (APA/ed.)