Bear that killed runner avoids death thanks to court ruling
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A bear who brutally killed a runner in Italy has avoided death after a recent court ruling.
Last month, the 17-year-old bear known as JJ4 was captured by officials after DNA evidence linked her to the death of Andrea Papi on 5 April.
The 26-year-old was out on a run on a mountain trail in the Italian Alps where he was attacked and killed by the large animal.
The body of Papi was found in the Trentino-Alto Adige region of the Italian Alps, as a search party was launched due to his worried girlfriend reporting him missing as he failed to return home from a jog.
Alongside the body, search officials found a bloodstained branch at the scene, leading to investigators to believe he may have used it to fight off the bear.
On 18 April, JJ4 was lured into a trap in the national park and was sedated immediately before being taken to a holding centre as a final decision on her fate was made.
When she was captured, her three cubs were by her side, but they were immediately freed and unharmed.
JJ4 actually ended up injuring a father and his son walking in Trento in 2020, with Trento's provincial president Maurizio Fugatti saying Papi's tragic death could have been avoided if the bear had been put down in 2020.
It should be noted Papi's family did not want JJ4 to be killed prior to the recent court ruling, with that opinion still unchanged.
On Friday (26 May), the bear was granted a reprieve - meaning she has been spared death, for now.
The city of Trento court panel decided they needed more details about the dynamics of the attack, thus suspending an order by the local authority to have the bear put down.
The Italian agency ANSA added that the court requited more details from the autopsy of the runner to make a decision on the bear's fate at this hearing.
The suspension lasts until 27 June, though we may be none the wiser to JJ4's fate even by then.
The court have said that a fresh hearing will take place in December following an appeal by an animal rights group.
They propose the bears should be transferred to an undisclosed refuge where the bear would be no danger to humans.
The group says this means the bear should not be killed before then, but local officials did not confirm this.