June 26, 2006
Hunter kills first Bavarian bear seen in 170 years
BERLIN -- A rampaging wild bear, the first seen in Bavaria in more than 170 years, has been shot dead by a hunter, a spokesman for the local authority in the region of Oberbayern said on Monday.
The young brown bear, known as "Bruno," drew widespread media coverage and was initially welcomed after it wandered across the border with Austria.But authorities gave hunters the green light to kill the 100-kilogram (220.5 lb) beast after it went on a rampage, slaughtering dozens of sheep and chickens.
Authorities said the bear's hunt for food was taking it ever closer to inhabited areas and it was therefore a threat to the safety of residents.
Germany's animal protection agency in Bavaria called the decision to shoot the bear "hysterical," but a spokesman for the World Wildlife Fund said the beast could not be left out in the wild as it was too dangerous.
Gabriel Schwaderer, director of the European Nature Heritage Fund, said on Monday he regretted the shooting.
"We consider the decision by the Bavarian government to be wrong, because it was based only on the fact that the bear was getting close to human habitation," Schwaderer said.
"If this is to be the yardstick for the right to life of brown bears then the outlook is bleak for European bears."