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Monday, June 26, 2006

German bears extinct once more 

Back in May, TH blogged about the bear in Germany, the first "wild" bear in that country since 1835. There have been periodic follow up stories over the past six weeks as the bear was tracked meandering about the country and into Austria and back.

Today's Herald Tribune reports that this most endangered of animals has been shot dead.

"The shooting has happened, the bear is dead," said Manfred W├Âlfl, a Bavarian government bear specialist. He gave no further details before a news conference.

The bear - a fugitive from Italy named JJ1, but dubbed Bruno by the German media - rambled into Germany last month, becoming the first wild bear seen in the country since 1835. He was part of a program in northern Italy to reintroduce the animals in the Alps.

The 100-kilogram, or 220-pound, bear had not harmed any humans, but had killed sheep and rabbits and looted beehives of honey. Officials said he was a hazard because he came near homes and appeared to have lost his fear of people.

My first reaction in reading this is that it is a shame that Germany is again free of wild bears but I understand the frictions between fearless bears and the suburbs, and presumably someone, perhaps the specialist quoted above, determined the bear to be a threat.

Which leads to my second reaction, which is why, in a country that hasn't had a wild bear in 170 years, does Bavaria need its own bear "specialist?" It kind of makes one wonder what other kind of specialists are on the Bavarian payroll. Sounds like your classic European bureaucratic ministry job to me, no doubt with 35 hour work week and 8 weeks of vacation.

Can you imagine the pandemonium in Herr Wolfl's office when he got that phone call back in May? I suspect he's quite pleased to have that file off his once again pristine desk.

2 Comments:

By Blogger Scott, at Mon Jun 26, 02:34:00 PM:

I really don't think reintroducing predators is ever a good thing.  

By Blogger kalimero, at Mon Jun 26, 04:09:00 PM:

Hahahahaha...Something like this happened in the north-side Pirynnees some years ago, when French wildlife authorities tried to reintroduce [obviously wild] wolfs, which have been caught in former yugoslavian Republic of Slovenia. The usually-calm pirennaic shepherds became so enraged...  

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