Italian animal lovers cheered on a wild bear Monday after a daring escape from an electrified holding pen sparked a bear-hunt and a furore over its fate.
The three-year old, known only as M49, was captured Sunday in the Val Rendena valley in the Trentino region in northern Italy after it was spotted several times approaching inhabited areas.
But in a getaway compared by Italian media to Steve McQueen’s exploits in the 1963 WWII film “The Great Escape“, M49 went on the lam Saturday after scaling a four-metre (13-foot) high and 7,000 volt electric fence.
“Run bear, run!” said one user on Twitter as the #fugaperlaliberta (#escapeforfreedom) hashtag went viral.
Others appealed to Matteo Salvini with the #salvinisalvalorso (#salvinisavethebear) hashtag – perhaps hoping the interior minister would extend his recent interest in the welfare of stray dogs and cats to bears.
Three teams from the state forestry corps were set on its trail, with sniffer dogs.
The search was complicated by the fact that the bear’s tracking collar was apparently removed after its capture.
A couple of lifts were sabotaged on Passo Rolle on the night of November 30th, between Friday and Saturday, on the eve of the opening of the season.
The first lift that the operators realised has been sabotaged during a test drive, was the Ferrari lift. The lift has to remain closed for opening day. One of the six trefoil, cables that make up the rope, has been cut. Checks were also taking place on the Paradiso lift, next to the Ferrari lift.
This has been a ‘considerable damage, changing the rope of that type costs hundreds of thousands of Euros’ said the President of the Engineering company Giacobbe Zortea, ‘but we will not die, we will guarantee the safety of the facilities for tourists and operators of the Passo (Rolle)’.
It is ‘fair’, he concluded, that these people pay for an ‘irresponsible gesture’.
Complaints were immediately raised to the Carabinieri of Primiero, which together with the colleagues of the Compagnia di Cavalese, have arrived at the site for an inspection. They were assessing the site soonafter, investigating the damage done.