The provincial authorities of Trentino, in northern Italy, ordered to kill another bear of the local bear population. A hiker encountered the bear on July 22nd 2017, and got non-lethal injuries. The same bear had attacked a jogger with a dog two years ago in the Trentino region. By the end of July, the local authorities captured and killed the bear.

Although a protest was signed to cancel the killing of the bear, the authorities state that legal regulations allowed the killing as the bear forms a potential danger to people. It is the second time that Trentino authorities kill a bear after human-bear incidents. In 2014, bear ‘Daniza’ was killed by the local authorities when they tried to tranquillise her. Miraculously, her two young cubs managed to survive and were last recorded in summer 2016.

Why do bears attack humans?

Bears are normally shy forest-inhabitants and will avoid contact with humans. However, with increased deforestation and urban expansion, bears have less and less space to live. This also results in higher numbers of human-bear encounters, an issue that Romania is currently facing. Under certain circumstances, a bear is more likely to attack any intruder, including humans.

Injured bears are more likely to be aggressive as a defence for their own survival. A female bear with cubs will almost always try to defend her young ones. If another animal or human surprises a bear, it will chase them away as a defence strategy. When bears are disturbed in their home den, or at a carcass where they are feeding, bears also tend to chase the intruder away, in order to be left alone. Also, bears do not like dogs, as it obviously reminds them of wolves and thus form a threat to them. In these cases, when a confrontation cannot be avoided, an attack is the best way of defence for a bear.

Normal and ‘problem’ bears

Humans decide whether a bear is behaving in a normal way, or if it is a ‘problem’ bear. Can we blame the bear for attacking the hiker on July 22nd? Most likely it was forced to defend itself after one of the situations occurred that are described above. Regardless the situation, the result is the killing of another bear by humans due to problems, which are caused by humans.

 

 

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