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Northern Italian bear JJ4 must still not be killed

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Northern Italian bear JJ4 must still not be killed

Environmentalists demonstrate for the liberation of bear JJ4.Photo: Enrico Pretto/LaPresse via ZUMA Press/dpa

After the deadly bear attack on a young jogger in northern Italy, the dispute over the future of female bear JJ4 continues. Now a court has decided again.

The female bear JJ4 in the northern Italian region of Trentino-Alto Adige must still not be killed. A court in Trento has again suspended the provincial government’s shooting order for the animal – which is said to have killed a human – until June 27th. This was announced by the administrative court in a decision on Friday. The objections of various animal rights activists – above all the association LAV – were accepted. The decision also includes an order for the killing of another “problem bear”, MJ5, which the province intends to be killed as well.

Among other things, the judges justified their decision with the fact that the dangerousness of the two animals – but especially of JJ4 – assumed by the province and the authorities was not sufficiently proven. No “sufficient investigations” had been carried out in this connection. The suspension of the order to kill lasts until the end of June. Until then, the parties involved can provide additional explanations, reasons, evidence or objections. A final decision on the matter should be made in mid-December. A further public hearing is then planned.

According to official information, the female bear, also known as Gaia, attacked and killed a 26-year-old jogger on a forest path in the Val di Sole in Trentino, which is popular with hikers and tourists, in early April. Maurizio Fugatti, the president of the Trentino-Alto Adige region, then issued a decree to kill the bear. After a lawsuit by animal rights activists, a court suspended this instruction for the time being in mid-April. A later second order to kill was also quickly recovered by the judiciary.

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Protests against the killing of JJ4

JJ4, a sister of the “problem bear” Bruno, who was killed in Bavaria in 2006, was caught and taken to a secure game reserve in the region. Animal rights activists had a report drawn up at the beginning of May, according to which the jogger was not killed by JJ4, but by an adult male bear. This can be seen from the distance between the canines in the bite wounds.

The animal protection association LAV was confident. “A new win for LAV! The lives of the two bears are secured for the time being,” the association said in a statement. The chances for a resettlement of the bears are now “real and concrete”. LAV will work to house the animals in a safe sanctuary and submit a project plan to the authorities. According to its own statements, LAV wants to bear the costs. Most recently, a so-called sanctuary in Lower Bavaria had agreed to take Gaia in.

In Italy, since the death of the Trentino jogger, the debate about the coexistence of bears and humans has come to a head. Many people protested the killing of JJ4. Some celebrities also spoke out and demanded that the bear be allowed to live. Animal rights activists are constantly calling for citizens to be made more aware of wild animals or for wildlife corridors to be set up. (dpa)

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