'Give Us Our Bear Back' Angry Italy Tells Germans
ROME Italy is to demand Germany repatriate the body of "Bruno", the brown bear who ran amok in Bavaria and was shot dead by a hunter last week, the environment ministry said on Monday.
Environment Minister Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio has already complained to Germany and the European Union about Germany's decision to authorise the killing of the bear which had strayed from the safety of the Italian and Austrian alps into Bavaria.
"Bruno" outwore his welcome in Bavaria by slaughtering dozens of sheep and chickens and, moving ever closer to inhabited areas, raised fears he could threaten people.
Bavarian authorities reportedly planned to stuff Bruno, the first brown bear to be seen in Bavaria in 170 years, and put him in a museum -- a final indignity which was too much for the Italian minister, leader of the Green Party.
"It was doubly irresponsible to authorise the killing of a protected species when the European Union tells many developing countries not to kill elephants and other protected animals," Pecoraro Scanio said after the news of the killing.
The minister was not available to comment on Monday but an official at his ministry confirmed he would formally ask Germany to ship the bear's 100-kilogram (220.5 lb) body to Italy.
The controversy comes as Italy prepares to take on Germany in the semi-finals of the soccer World Cup. One Italian website called on Italy's soccer players to "avenge" Bruno's death by beating Germany.