Bear slaughter horror: Mother bear who charmed tourists as she wandered through Italian town with her cubs is found shot dead hours later, sparking outcry

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  • Reading time:6 min(s) read

  • The tagged bear, named Amarena, was caught on camera by holidaymakers
  • A man – yet to be identified – was questioned by police after the body was found

A bear who was filmed in adorable scenes walking through an Italian town with her two cubs just days ago has been shot dead – sparking a furious backlash.

The known and tagged bear, named Amarena, was caught on camera by dozens of tourists as she strolled through the centre of a village earlier this week.

Amarena was spotted first and then seconds later – to the sound of cooing from bystanders – her two cubs suddenly appeared and followed her across the road.

The ursine family then trotted down some stairs and away into the forest at San Benedetto dei Marsi in Italy’s central Abruzzo region, which is home to dozens of brown bears.

But in a devastating turn of events, just hours after the cute creatures had been spotted gathering in the street, the mother bear’s lifeless body was found in the garden of a house on the outskirts of the village.

The bears have never been aggressive towards humans in the town, shocked regional president Marco Marsilio said upon hearing about the shooting.

The known and tagged bear, named Amarena, was caught on camera by dozens of tourists as she strolled through the centre of a village earlier this week
Seconds later – to the sound of cooing from bystanders – her two cubs suddenly appeared and followed her across the road

The known and tagged bear, named Amarena, was caught on camera by dozens of tourists as she strolled through the centre of a village in Italy earlier this week. Seconds later – to the sound of cooing from bystanders – her two cubs suddenly appeared and followed her across the road

A man – who has not been identified – was questioned by police after the bear's lifeless body was found in the garden of a house on the outskirts of the village just hours later

A man – who has not been identified – was questioned by police after the bear’s lifeless body was found in the garden of a house on the outskirts of the village just hours later

A man – who has not been identified – was questioned by police over the death.

He told officers: ‘I fired because I was scared but I didn’t want to kill the bear. It was on my property, it was an instinctive act, an impulse.’

Meanwhile, the woman who captured the scene and posted it on Facebook, Gemma Di Pietro, said: ‘I was the first to see Amarena in town the other night, it must have been around 1015pm.

‘I called the local carabinieri station and said I had seen the bear and her two cubs in the centre, you could tell she was frightened and wanted to get across the road to safety.

‘A few minutes later I heard the owners of a house sounding the horn on their car and flashing its headlights, so the bear didn’t approach a chicken run behind their property.

‘Then I saw the bear run off and the first thing I heard that it had been shot. You could tell she was frightened, and I just don’t understand this act.’

The bear can be seen strolling about on the road as holidaymakers take video of her
She then backs away as her cubs come to join her

The woman who captured the scene and posted it on Facebook, Gemma Di Pietro, said: ‘I was the first to see Amarena in town the other night, it must have been around 1015pm.’ Pictured: The mother bear surrounded by tourists and being joined by her cubs

Abruzzo region president Marco Marsilio said: ‘This is a very grave episode, against the whole community and it fills us with rage and pain because it is an incomprehensible gesture.

‘In all these years, the community both inside and outside the region’s parks have known how to live with and alongside the bears and not interfere with their behaviour.

‘Never has a bear in the Abruzzo region represented a danger to man, not even when they have wandered into built up areas in the past.

‘This act of aggression has no justification. We put our trust in the investigation that has been started by the police, and who have already identified the person responsible and will now face justice.’

Officials said a task force of 100 forestry workers was now combing the nearby regional park using drones to locate the two missing cubs.

Amarena was one of around 60 Marsican brown bears in the region. An adult can reach a weight of up to 210kg and 180cm in length, while female bears are smaller.

Earlier this year in another incident, a bear in the northern Italian region of Trento was captured after it attacked and killed a jogger.

A court initially ruled that the bear should be put down, but this has now been overturned.

After they were spotted, the ursine family then trotted down some stairs
They headed out into the forest at San Benedetto dei Marsi in Italy's central Abruzzo region, which is home to dozens of brown bears

After they were spotted, the ursine family then trotted down some stairs and away into the forest at San Benedetto dei Marsi in Italy’s central Abruzzo region, which is home to dozens of brown bears

Elsewhere in Italy, police have launched an investigation after video footage was posted online of a group of youths kicking a goat to death on a holiday farm at Anagni near Rome.

If found guilty of animal cruelty they face up to 18 months jail and a maximum fine of £15,413.

In a statement on its Facebook page, alongside a graphic picture of the dead bear, the National Park of Abruzzo wrote: ‘The Park veterinarian intervened on the scene with the emergency response team, who could however only determine the bear’s death given the severity of the injury.

‘The man was identified by Park staff and taken by the Carabinieri of the local station, who intervened following their call.

‘The dynamics of the incident are underway and will continue as park staff are engaged in identifying the two bear cubs to evaluate what to do.

‘The episode is a very serious incident that causes enormous damage to the population that counts about sixty and involves one of the most prolific females in the history of the Park.

‘Obviously, there is no reason to justify the incident since Amarena, despite causing damage to agricultural and zootechnical activities, always and in any case compensated by the Park has never created any kind of problem for humans.’




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