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Bear Flees Over 3 Electric Fences, Drawing Mockery for His Captors

Rangers search woods in northern Italy
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2019 6:32 PM CDT
A European brown bear roams a forest.   (Getty/ErikMandre)

(Newser) – Forest rangers are searching the woods for a bear that climbed over three electric fences and a 13-foot barrier to escape a wildlife enclosure in Northern Italy. The bear had been captured only hours before, the Guardian reports. "Run and save yourself," the president of an animal rights group implored. "We are on the side of the bear and of freedom." The president of the province of Trentino had ordered the capture of the European brown bear after it was spotted near residential areas. After the escape, he authorized rangers to shoot the bear, labeled M49, if it went near people, per MSN. Italy's environment minister overruled that order, saying, "M49's escape from the enclosure cannot justify an action that would cause its death." He sent a team to Trentino to help catch the bear without harming it, and to investigate the escape.

Animal rights advocates mocked the bear's captors. One cheered the bear on, and another said: "A solid electrified fence with adequate power is an insurmountable barrier even for the most astute bears. Obviously the structure was not working properly, since bears do not fly." An anti-hunting organization said that "evidently, M49 is an escape genius … gifted with superpowers akin to a hero of Marvel Comics." The group suggested the bear was allowed to escape Sunday so it could be decreed dangerous and killed. Italy's constitution court, per ANSA, on Tuesday upheld provincial laws allowing the capture and killing of bears and wolves that pose a threat. The bear was spotted by a camera on Tuesday. Rangers think it's somewhere in the Marzoil woods near Trento. (Read more escaped animal stories.)

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