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‘Killer’ spares Italian court from death sentence | World News

The animal, known as JJ4, has been linked to at least two attacks on humans in the Italian Alps, including a fatal attack on a 26-year-old runner.

go through Daniel Binns, News Reporter

Friday 26 May 2023 at 14:31, UK

A bear who was supposed to be killed after being blamed for a runner’s death has been given a suspended sentence by an Italian court.

The 17-year-old woman, known as JJ4, Caught by park rangers after DNA evidence links her to Andrea Papi’s death April 5.

She was supposed to be fired, but a court in the city of Trento has now postponed the culling until at least June 27 following an appeal by environmental groups.

The body of Mr Papi, 26, was previously found in the Trentino Alto Adige region in the Italian Alps.

After he failed to return from a jog, his worried girlfriend reported him missing.

Along with his body, search and rescue teams reportedly found a bloodstained tree branch at the scene, leading investigators to believe he may have tried to use it to fight off the bear, according to reports.

Back in 2020, JJ4 was also involved in an attack on a father and son while they were hiking in the area.

Local officials said the bear needed to be culled due to its history of attacking humans. But campaigners argue she should be moved to a sanctuary – either in Italy or abroad – instead.

Mr Papi’s family have also previously said they did not want the bear killed.

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At Friday’s hearing, the justices agreed to delay JJ4’s death by at least a month to give both sides more time to present evidence.

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The court said it would hold a new hearing in December. Animal rights groups said this meant the animal could not be killed before then, but officials have not confirmed this.

JJ4 was snared almost two weeks after Mr Papi’s death when she was lured into a trap before being sedated and taken to a detention centre.

Her three cubs, who were with her at the time, were later released unharmed.

another bear on the run

The judge further ordered a similar suspension for another bear suspect, MJ5, who has not yet been arrested.

The bear also faced a cull order in March after it was accused of attacking a man who was injured while walking his dog on a mountain trail – but managed to escape.

Bears in the area were repopulated under an EU-funded program in 1999 amid concerns that the bear population was dwindling and endangered.

According to official figures, there were about 100 wild bears in the area in 2021, and since 2015, the number has increased by about 10% every year.

Trentino state governor Maurizio Fugatti said he was under pressure to reduce the number of bears because there were “too many bears” in the region and said the optimum number was around 50.

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