The wandering brown bear that has killed livestock and eluded authorities for weeks in southern Germany and Austria has been shot dead.
“The shooting has happened, the bear is dead,” said Manfred Woelfl, Bavaria’s government bear specialist.
The bear – a fugitive from Italy named JJ1, but dubbed Bruno by German media - rambled into Germany last month, becoming the first wild bear seen in the country since 1835. He was part of a programme in northern Italy to reintroduce the animals in the Alps.
The 100-kilo 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 went near homes and appeared to have lost his fear of people.
Austrian authorities on Saturday gave hunters permission to kill the bear if they encountered it. Bavarian officials said they would consider a similar move as early as tomorrow; it wasn’t clear whether the shooting had been legally authorised.
Authorities originally proposed permitting the bear to be shot, but backed away after public protest and tried to capture him alive and put him in a nature reserve. But they were unable to catch him.
In the most recent failed attempt, a team of crack Finnish tracking dogs were sent home over the weekend after being unable to corner the bear so he could be shot with a tranquilliser.