A female bear with two cubs was shot dead by a man on the outskirts of San Benedetto dei Marsi in central Italy on Thursday evening, the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park said, according to Reuters. The gesture sparked outrage among animal rights activists. “I find it hard to believe that she was killed in self-defense,” says the president of the National Park, Luciano Sammarone.
In a post on Facebook, park representatives shared a photo of the bear and the two cubs and stated that the Police had identified the alleged shooter.
It is not clear why the animal was shot, but bear hunting is prohibited by law in Italy.
The bear had been seen in a town near the park a few days ago with her two cubs. She was known as “Amarena” (black cherries), after the fruit she ate.
The Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park is home to around 50 brown bears, a species found in central Italy.
The scandal caused by the shooting of the bear follows a dispute over an incident in April, when a bear killed a 26-year-old sportsman in northern Italy.
Its death has sparked a legal battle between local authorities, who want to kill the bear, and environmental groups, who want to save it.
On Friday, the animal rights group Lav called Amarena a “victim of hatred of the national climate” and of wildlife, saying the phenomenon was fueled by politicians.
However, her death was mourned by local and national authorities, including Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin.
The president of the National Park, Luciano Sammarone, said that the bear crossed a private fence, but had no history of attacks on people. “I find it hard to believe that (she was killed) in self-defense,” he said, adding that he would await the outcome of investigations.
Green Party leader Angelo Bonelli said park rangers were searching for the two bear cubs and there were fears for their survival.
Editor : C.L.B.