Germany tries to capture rogue wild bear alive

6th June 2006, Comments 0 comments

6 June 2006, MUNICH - A rogue bear, which gained celebrity status as the first wild bear on German soil for 170 years but wore out its welcome by mauling sheep, struck a fresh flock early Monday.

6 June 2006

MUNICH - A rogue bear, which gained celebrity status as the first wild bear on German soil for 170 years but wore out its welcome by mauling sheep, struck a fresh flock early Monday.

After a public outcry over a call for hunters to kill the bear, Germany hopes a pack of bear hounds from Finland and an Austrian expert who can drug animals without killing them will be able to corner the bear later this week and take it unharmed into custody.

Code-named JJ1, the animal has been dropping into Germany since last month from Austria, where about 30 bears roam the mountainous forests.

Bavarian government officials said three mauled sheep were found at sunrise Monday on a pasture at Lautersee, near the town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The previous night JJ1 killed or wounded six sheep and a kid goat. The bear was identified by fur snagged on fences.

Previous attempts to catch JJ1 in a 5-metre-long stainless-steel tube with trapdoors have failed because the animal never returns to the same place twice. The usual method of drugging a wild animal, shooting a drugged dart with a blowpipe, is too dangerous.

"He's not a nice teddy-bear. He's fast and lethal," said Roland Eichhorn of the Bavarian Environment Ministry.

The Bavarian authorities are following a two-pronged approach, inviting hunters with licences in the Garmisch-Partenkirchen area to shoot the 100-kilogramme bear on sight, but also hiring the Austrian expert to try to catch JJ1 alive.

The expert is one of the rare people who can shoot anaesthetic darts into an animal's rump with a rifle.

Other Austrian bears generally avoid farms and stay in the forests. Bears mainly eat berries and insects and are fond of honey.

DPA

Subject: German news

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