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Fight over fate of mother brown bear defending her cubs intensifies in Italy

Brown bear
Brown bear Marshmallow via Wikimedia Commons CC 2.0

Animal activists are urging Italian authorities to spare the life of Daniza, a mother brown bear who attacked a man hunting for mushrooms in the northern provence of Trentino citing the fact that she was nursing her cubs and was only protecting them. In the meantime, Alessandro Olivi, Trentino’s vice president, has signed an order for her capture “for the sake of public safety,” and noted that Daniza is currently “under surveillence.” He also stated that, “the bear's life would only be at risk should she pose "an imminent, serious and not avoidable danger for the operators of the capture and third parties".

However, Caterina Rosa Marino of the League for the Abolition of Hunting sees not valid reason to take the bear into custody, arguing that Maturi had stumbled across Daniza in "the only circumatance which is really dangerous: encountering a mother with her cubs".

In the meantime, Massimiliano Rocco of WWF Italia, was quoted stating that "Capturing Daniza now, preventing her from raising her cubs, would be an historic defeat for environmentalists who reintroduced the bears back into the region from 1999-2001 by importing 10 brown bears from Slovenia into the Dolomite Mountains, where they are now thriving, much to the objection of local farmers, who complain that the animals have been killing sheep, lambs and goats.

According to the victim, Daniele Maturi, 38, he was searching the woods near Pinzolo (in the center of the Dolomite Mountains) when Daniza, attacked, viciously biting and scratching him.

"She seemed crazy," he told local television station TNN after being released from hospital. "She chased me. She took me with one paw on my back; she made a hole in my back. I was on the ground and then she jumped on top of me injuring my wrist, leg, knee and back.”