A bear who had escaped in northern Italy for 10 months after successfully escaping a natural park had been captured, park rangers announced Wednesday, ending the saga that captivated the region.
The bear, known as M49, escaped to the wild in July. He came out of the natural park where he lived by climbing more than four fences, including those filled with high-voltage electricity.
M49 was captured again in a pipe trap on Tuesday night, Italian media reported.
He was then transferred to the natural park where he had originally fled, a statement from the province of Trento said, where he was placed in a fenced area containing female bears. He was “in good physical condition,” the statement said.
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The 167-kilogram animal has been found several times in recent months, both in illegal settlements and near human settlements. He killed several farm animals during that time.
After hearing the news of his arrest, the Coldirett farmers association said it was breathing “a sigh of relief,” while the Italian branch of the World Wildlife Federation said it was “terrible and sad news for the preservation of nature in our country.”
M49 has been the target of a firefight order imposed by the President of the Province of Trento Maurizio Fugatti if the bear approached humans.
But the move was highly criticized and the authorities later said they would prioritize capturing him alive, with the shootings set aside as a “last resort,” local media reported.
Italian Environment Minister Sergio Costa said Italy was now looking for another European country to accept the M49.
“We are voicing European parks, contacting countries where bears can live well and without risk, also activating diplomatic channels,” he said. “The aim is to give this bear, which we love, the best home possible.”
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