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Bear who killed Italian runner given death sentence reprieve

The bear who killed an Italian runner last month got a stay of execution from an Italian court Friday.

A northern Italian administrative court wants further details about the April 5 mauling of 26-year-old jogger Andrea Papi, who was attacked on a mountain trail in the Trento province.

Authorities used DNA to identify the 17-year-old female bear as Jj4. The Alpine brown bear is a mother of three cubs who were with her at the time of the attack.

Jj4 has a history of violence, according to the Associated Press. In 2020, she attacked a father and his son. Local authorities ordered her to be euthanized then, but the court sided with animal rights groups to block the execution. Two of Jj4′s siblings were euthanized because of violent behavior.

Jj4′s stay of execution lasts until at least June 27. Animal rights groups hope to transfer Jj4 to a sanctuary to be determined. A hearing is set for Dec. 14 to settle that matter, with the Italian court saying it wants further information from Papi’s autopsy in order to make a decision.

The runner’s family opposes executing the bear, who was captured following a search lasting nearly two weeks. However, provincial president Maurizio Fugatti argued Papi would still be alive had Jj4 been killed the first time she attacked humans.

26-year-old jogger Andrea Papi was attacked by Jj4 on a mountain trail in Trento.

An endeavor sponsored by the European Union moved Jj4′s parents from Slovenia to Italy 20 years ago to stimulate the endangered brown bear population. Those efforts resulted in more bear births, as well as increased encounters with humans. At last count, there were fewer than 100 bears in Trento.

Brown bears are the largest terrestrial carnivores in Central Europe, according to Euronatur.org. They weigh between 220 and 770 lbs., with the males being considerably larger. Jj4 weighs around 330 lbs., according to the New York Times.

With News Wire Services

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