Bear That Killed Italian Runner Sees Its Execution Stayed

Bear JJ4 mauled a jogger to death in a nature reserve
By Steve Huff,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2023 4:50 PM CDT
Bear That Killed Italian Runner Sees Its Execution Stayed
   (Getty Images / LuCaAr)

After 26-year-old runner Andrea Papi was mauled by a bear named JJ4 in a Trentino, Italy, nature preserve, Papi's mother released a letter through her attorney, reports Italian publication Today. "As a mother," Franca Ghirardini wrote, "I can't accept such a horrible death." But, she continued, "I want to make one thing clear: it's not my son's fault, and it's not the bear's fault either." That 17-year-old female bear—also called Gaia—was due to be killed on the order of the Trento governor, after it was positively identified as Papi's killer. Now CNN reports that that death sentence has been stayed until May 11; the governor has until then to appeal the decision.

The move comes after multiple wildlife protection agencies filed complaints arguing that Gaia/JJ4 should be relocated instead of killed because she is mother bear to a pair of cubs. In her letter quoted by Today, Ghirardini wrote that euthanizing the bear "won't bring Andrea back." She instead directed her criticism at the LIFE Ursus bear relocation project, which worked to reintroduce bears into the area between 1996 and 2004. But the nine that were originally brought have grown to a population of about 100, reports the Guardian.

According to CNN, Anti-Vivisezione, a group against the medical testing of animals, asked the court to protect JJ4, stating on its website that culling the bear was essentially "revenge against the bear" rather than a move made to increase safety. Experts believe that JJ4's aggression was due to her cubs—whom she birthed recently—but the bear has attacked humans before, reports CNN. It first received a death sentence in 2020 after attacking two people. In that instance, the court allowed for a stay after the bear was tagged with a GPS monitor to help track its movements. But its battery went dead just days before Papi was killed.

(More Italy stories.)

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