domenica 14 settembre 2014

Outrage as mum bear Daniza killed during capture

Daniza, 18, succumbed to anaesthetic, leaves two young cubs

(ANSA) - Rome, September 11 - Animal rights activists and politicians on both sides of the spectrum reacted with outrage Thursday at the news of the death of a rare brown bear during capture in Italy's northern Dolomites. "Once again an innocent animal has lost its life due to human arrogance and incompetence," said former tourism minister and animal rights activist Michela Vittoria Brambilla of the female bear known as Daniza, 18, that succumbed to the anaesthetic administered during the operation to capture her in the autonomous province of Trento on Wednesday night. The state forestry corps has opened an investigation into the case for possible charges of animal maltreatment and killing an animal for no good reason. The Trento provincial authorities ordered the bear's capture in August after she cuffed a mushroom picker who allegedly came between her and her two young cubs. Daniele Maturi, 38, was admitted to hospital with cuts and scratches to his arms and legs after being attacked on August 15 while searching for 'funghi' in the woods near Pinzolo, about 100 km from Trento.

He said the bear seemed "crazy" but environmentalists say Daniza was likely only trying to defend her cubs by scaring the intruder. On Thursday Maturi said he has since received continuous threats from people opposed to the bear's capture on internet. Following the attack the forestry corps allegedly wrote to the environment ministry, Trento provincial government and higher institute for environmental protection and research (Ispra) expressing concern about the plans to capture and isolate the bear without her cubs that were born this year. Specifically the corps highlighted the threat posed to the cubs by the deprivation "of the mother's assistance in looking for food, choosing refuge, determining where to go and securing protection from danger and possible predators". "This is the worst possible outcome," said Brambilla, calling on Trento provincial president Ugo Rossi to resign.

A similar call came from Maurizio Fugatti, provincial secretary of the regionalist and right-wing Northern League. “Daniza's death...demonstrates the total incapacity of Trento autonomous province to manage the project Life Ursus," said Fugatti of the initiative to introduce about 10 brown bears to the forested mountainous region near Italy's borders with Switzerland and Austria about 20 years ago. The program has been controversial, with some local farmers and herders complaining that the bears are a threat. Indeed, a woodcutter from Borzago told a local newspaper that Daniza had killed eight sheep on Tuesday night.

The bear was also reported to have killed other sheep and a goat last week. On Thursday the president of the national animal protection agency Enpa, Carla Rocchi, invited Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti to resign from his post for his failure to protect the animal. "All who are involved in the murder of Daniza at whatever level can be sure they will not sleep easy," Rocchi continued. "This for us and for all Italians who took the bear's case to heart is the starting point for a battle that we will wage until Danica has seen justice served," she concluded. For his part minister Galletti, who at the end of August washed his hands of Daniza on grounds it was up to the province to decide whether to capture the roaming animal, asked Rossi for clarification concerning the incident. Meanwhile the Italian Association for the Protection of Animals and the Environment (AIDAA) has called on prosecutors to open an investigation into the bear's death. The president of Rome's Bioparco zoo, Federico Coccia described the incident as a "monster hunt" born of "territorial invasion by a mushroom hunter". The mother simply protected her young," Coccia continued. It was an ending that could and should have been averted," said the chair of the House agriculture committee, Luca Sani. 

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