Bear Daniza killed – her cubs are on their own in the Wilderness

The female bear Daniza was accidentally killed by the local authorities using a tranquilizer gun. Her two seven-month old cubs are wandering now without her mother through the forests of Trentino.

This bear project URSUS running from 1996 till 2019 amounts to 12 mio Euro through several EU LIFE and other Projects to reintroduce the brown bears into the region. Part of these monies was earmarked for information dissemination on how to behave around bears.

Daniza had two seven-month old bear cubs. Young bears stay with their mothers between two and three years during which time she will breastfeed them at least during the first two years and sometimes even longer. The bear cubs learn from their mother everything including safe food sources, building a den, protecting themselves from predators and the mother bear also cleanses them from parasites. The average mortality rate in the Trentino bear population is 27% with the mothers being present. Everyone realises that the two cubs will have a much lower chance of survival.

Daniza surprised by mushroom picker

Evidence indicate that Daniza and her cubs encountered a hiker a few days earlier. The hiker followed her while she tried to distance herself from him, which she eventually managed. A few days later on the other side of the mountain where the first incident happened a second hiker collecting mushrooms surprised her and her cubs sleeping. Daniza attacked and non-lethally injured him.

Reasons for human/bear encounters

Considering the research results on the 800 incidents of brown bear and human encounters in Scandinavia, bears typically only attack humans in the following six situations:

  1. if a bear is injured
  2. if a female bear has cubs and the human approaches the cubs (this was the case here)
  3. if the bear encounter happens close to a carcass
  4. if the bear is surprised (was the case here)
  5. if a bear is in a den or cave
  6. if dogs are nearb

Daniza behaviour judged as normal

All experts within the regional authorities as well our own Expert Gudrun Pflueger agreed, that Daniza’s behaviour was thus normal and that she should not be classified as a problem bear. Regardless of this assessment, the actions taken against Daniza were in accordance to the rules and recommendations of the Italian protocol for bear management (PACOBACE). The European Wilderness Society just like CIPRA and other NGOs do not agree with this procedure at all, especially since it is deviating from most others international bear management protocols.

Revision of the bear management protocol PACOBACE proposed

The Italian animal rights organization LAV invited the European Wilderness Society to meet with the regional authorities on Thursday for two hours and both proposed a discussion process to modify PACOBACE to align it with international bear management standards. During this meeting Dott. Romano Mase and Dr. Claudio Groff, as well as everyone else present, agreed that a second Daniza incident must be prevented. Their was a general understanding that a multistakeholder series of workshops would be good opportunity to provide additional input to revise PACOBACE to international standards. There was also an agreement that the output of this discussion process should include an information and dissemination strategy to minimise human and wildlife encounters and that another objective, should be the development of an ecotourism strategy focusing on the successful bear programme. Dott. Romano Mase promised to discuss the idea of such a workshop internally and inform us of their decision very soon.

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4 thoughts on “Bear Daniza killed – her cubs are on their own in the Wilderness

  1. It ‘ a story horrible and shameful , I am Italian and I followed the whole story . Now this false Trentino wants to get publicity even after they massacred innocent .. I also did with the bear Lorenzo . Used for marketing and then barbaramete killed . It ‘ a story that repeats itself , the PACOBACE was modified just a month before killing Daniza , and I think even the small , and only to justify himself … and now they say / promise what? who accept the nature and biodiversity , but if even before killing Daniza were already destroying the mountains and his house with other lifts . Not to mention the lav , had to support the complaint against the province and at the last he pulled back . The Trentino does not deserve the bears and unfortunately I think they have remained very few still alive …

  2. Indeed: the word “incompetent” is correct here! What stupid people are in the environment of the bears!
    They don’t have any overview in the region and I only can agree with the questions Dario Botti – up here – asked.
    So very sad, these 2 cubs now without their mother, wandering around!

  3. Trentino is a very popular region for tourism. I guess that this absurd fact (the killing of a bear mother of two cubs!) is due to the fear of losing tourists. Perhaps it will get the opposite effect.
    In my mind, I have many questions. Is it correct to consider a bear with maternal instinct a problematic bear? Is the current way the scientifically and ethically correct way to manage bears in Trentino? Is it correct to spend public money for bears and then kill them? Does Trentino really want to be a Bear Country? Or bear repopulation was just a greenwashing operation like many others?

  4. thsi is very very sad indeed; wand very bad management of what should not be a problem at all!
    What people are they, those officials that made this tragic and stupid decision? In competent.

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Sign the Open Letter to the German Ministry

Join more than 70 forest experts demanding a radical change in the German forest management system.

Open Letter to the German Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Federal Ministry of
Food and Agriculture
Minister Julia Klöckner
11055 Berlin

Dear Minister Klöckner,

The current situation of the forest in Germany is worrying. It is a forest crisis not only driven by climate change. The current crisis management of the forestry industry is backward-looking and harmful to the forest. The declaration announced at the meeting of ministers in Moritzburg can be described as a `Moritzburg declaration of bankruptcy´. We call on the state forestry industry to, instead of expensive rushed actions, finally carry out an expert analysis of its own work and to involve all stakeholders in this process. What is called for is a consistent departure from plantation forestry and a radical shift towards a management that treats the forest as an ecosystem and no longer as a wood factory.

On 1stAugust 2019, five forestry ministers of CDU and CSU-led states adopted a so-called “master plan” for the forest in Germany, which was affected by heat, bark beetles, fire and drought. As of 2020, the federal government is to make 800 million euros available as a reaction to climate change. This money is to be used to repair the damage caused, reforest the damaged areas and carry out `climate-adapted´ forest conversion – including the use of non-native tree species that have not yet been cultivated in the forest. Research should therefore focus on on tree species suitability and forest plant breeding in the future – keyword: `Climate-adapted forest of the future 2100´.

Remarkably, the damage caused primarily by the extreme drought of 2018 is attributed solely to climate change. Climate change is meeting a forest that is systemically ill due to the planting of non-native tree species, species poverty, monocultures, uniform structure, average low age, mechanical soil compaction, drainage etc. A healthy, resistant forest would look differently! The master plan emphasizes: sustainable, multifunctional and `active´ forest management remains indispensable – and thereby means that its unnatural state cannot be changed. Reference is made to the `carbon storage and substitution effects´ of wood products. The use of wood, e.g. in the construction industry, should be increased and thus the demand for wood should be further fueled – while knowing that the forest in Germany already cannot meet this demand. In fact, forest owners are suffering from poor timber prices due to an oversupply of trunk wood on the world market.

All these demands make clear: the current forestry strategy, which has been practiced for decades, should not change in principle. The concept is simple: cut down trees – plant trees. At best, the `design´ of the future artificial forests consisting of perfectly calculated tree species mixtures, that are believed to survive climate change without damages, can be changed. In all seriousness, the intention is to continue selling the public a so-called `future strategy´ to save the forest. This strategy seamlessly follows the model of a wood factory, that is met with general rejection and must be regarded as a failure in view of the coniferous plantations that are currently collapsing on a large scale. An essential part of the forests that have currently died is exactly the part that was reestablished in 1947 as coniferous monocultures on a much larger area than today. There is only one difference to the situation at the time: considerable amounts of money are to be made available from taxes for forest owners this time.

Climate change is progressing, and this, without a doubt, has massive impacts on all terrestrial ecosystems, including forests. To pretend that the last two years of drought alone caused the disaster is too cheap. On closer inspection, the disaster is also the result of decades of a forestry focused on conifers – in a country that was once naturally dominated by mixed deciduous forests. People do not like to admit that for more than 200 years they have relied on the wrong species of commercial tree (spruce) and have also created artificial, ecologically highly unstable and thus high-risk forest ecosystems. A whole branch of business has become dependent on coniferous wood. And now the German coniferous timber industry is on the verge of bankruptcy.

It would only have been honest and also a sign of political greatness if you and the forestry ministers in Moritzburg had declared: Yes, our forestry industry has made mistakes in the past, and yes, we are ready for a relentless analysis that takes into account not only purely silvicultural, but also forest-ecological aspects. Instead, you have confined yourselves to pre-stamped excuses that are already familiar to everyone and that lack any self-critical reflection.

Clear is: We finally need resting periods for the forest in Germany, which has been exploited for centuries. We need a new, ecologically oriented concept for future forest – not a hectic `forest conversion´, but simply forest development closer towards nature. This gives the forest as an ecosystem the necessary leeway to self-regulate and react to the emerging environmental changes. We need a systemic forest management that is no less profitable than the present one, but must be substantially more stable and resistant to foreseeable environmental changes. The aid for forest owners that all citizens are now required to pay through their taxes is only politically justified in the interest of common good, if the forests of the future that are being promoted by it, do not end up in the next disaster, some of which is produced by the forest management itself.

That is why the signatories request from the the Federal Government, and in particular you, Mrs Klöckner, a master plan worthy of the name:

On disaster areas (mainly in public forests!) reestablishment through natural forest development (ecological succession), among other things with pioneer tree species, is to be brought about. In private forests, ecological succession for reestablishment must be purposefully promoted. Larger bare areas should be planted with a maximum of 400 to 600 large plants of native species per hectare in order to permit ecological succession parallelly.
To promote ecological succession, the areas should no longer be completely and mechanically cleared; as much wood as possible should be left in the stand (to promote optimum soil and germ bed formation, soil moisture storage and natural protection against browsing). In private forests, the abandonment of use in disaster areas should be specifically promoted for ecological reasons and in order to relieve the burden on the timber market.

Regarding the promotion of reestablishment plantings in private forests: priority for native tree species (of regional origin); choose wide planting distances in order to leave enough space for the development of pioneer species. For the forests of the future: Minimize thinning (low-input principle), build up stocks through targeted development towards old thick trees, protect the inner forest climate / promote self-cooling function (should have highest priority due to rapidly progressing climate change!), prohibit heavy machinery, refrain from further road construction and expansion, permit and promote natural self-regulatory development processes in the cultivated forest and on (larger) separate areas in the sense of an compound system; drastically reduce the density of ungulate game (reform of hunting laws).

Like in the field of organic agriculture, which has been established since the 1980s, the crisis of our forests should be the reason today to transform at least two existing forestry-related universities. They should be turned into universities for interdisciplinary forest ecosystem management. This is a contribution not only to the further development of forestry science and silviculture in Germany, but also of global importance! The goal must be to produce wood through largely natural forest production and to start with it here in Germany, the birthplace of forestry.

Motto: SYSTEMIC FOREST ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT INSTEAD OF WOOD FACTORY

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