Italy-brown bear “KJ2” killed in Trentino

Italy, brown bear “KJ2” killed in Trentino, possibly with no permit: her two orphaned cubs will have to survive Dolomites` winter with no hibernation knowledge.
Many tourists have decided to cancel their holidays to Italy’s Dolomites and to change their ski location for next winter, after heard the news of the renowned mother bear KJ2 has been killed, in front of her two cubs, by hand of local forest rangers.
The female brown bear seems to have attacked a man on 22nd July.
The man, Angelo Metlicovec, was walking his dog with no lead (forbidden) in an area indicated by the Trento province as the breeding corner of the Adamello Brenta National Park.
The bear performed the typical bluff charge and stopped a meter away from him. Mr Metlicovec, so he said, hit the bear`s muzzle with his stick, causing her expected reaction.
The man was slightly wounded but survived the attack and has fully recovered in a few days.
The bear, which was collared and therefore was easily trackable, was shot by local officials the moment she left her den after a week of rain.
The killing was ordered by the Trento Province President Mr. Ugo Rossi and took place, apparently, without the necessary permits to be obtained by the Italian Ministry for the Environment and by ISPRA (Higher Institute for Environmental Protection and Research). The rangers used a 300 mm bullet for big game hunting, the same used for hunting elephants and which explodes after penetration.
The Park, with its 50 bear exemplars, displays information about how to avoid accidents with bears:
“Female bears with cubs, inside the Park, can be very protective. Tourists must check the map indicating the position of the bears, especially mother bears with cubs. Tourists are invited to stay away from those areas, to never feed or attract the attention of these wild animals and to keep dogs on lead while trekking”.
The details and context of the sudden death of KJ2, which was object of specific studies and had supporters and even fan pages on social media, spread immediately outrage across the nation and abroad. Bears and wolves, in fact, are fully protected in Italy and people see them as a symbols of their cultural heritage.
Concern is rising day after day for the survival of the two orphaned cubs, which have been spotted a few days after the killing of their mother, very confused and unable to go back to their den.
“The cubs are only eight months old and the chances they will survive the Dolomites` winter are very weak.” Osvaldo Negra, Zoologist of Trento Science Museum, comments: “Cubs remain with their mother about two years, going through the winter to learn all information about hibernation. These yearlings will have to face a rigid winter without any of these information while having also to escape the attacks of male bears and natural predators as wolves and eagles.”
Italian Animal Rights Associations are demanding the President of the Province to resign for his irregular and incompetent resolution. “President Rossi had taken the decision to put down this mother bear without
even consulting the Italian Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mr Galletti.
“This violates the protocol which requires a specific procedure to classify the scale of problematic behaviour
before taking the decision to remove the animal.”
Meanwhile, the future of the cubs is uncertain. They will most probably die during the winter and, if they survive, they will certainly become problematic bears: “They will end up getting closer and closer to humans
in their search for food, they will lose the fear for men, something that is essential for wild animals` survival. They will become dangerous and will have to be put down too. If KJ2 was still alive, this would have not happened: the mother would have taught the cubs how and where to avoid all kind of dangers and provide shelter. We can say that the Province, which receives conspicuous funds from EU to protect these bears is actually causing their death.”
During her life, KJ2 had rose with success 13 cubs in 6 different litters in 2007, 08, 10, 12, 2015 and 2017.
Instead of killing protected animals, Trento should assign a dedicated off-limit zone inside the Park where unauthorized humans cannot access. After the killing of KJ2, this would also become the place where not only KJ2`s orphaned cubs, but all orphans could recover, far from human activities, hunting and other forms of disturbance. A dedicated area where “Man Should Not Pass.”

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