Posted by: robert
I’ve done a little research on Bruno.
At least one bear was roaming around parts of Italy, Germany and Bavaria between mid May and mid June.
Weight estimates vary between 100kg (Spiegel & Reuters) and 150 kg (Guardian). It is implied
that DNA tests prove it to be one bear, JJ1, though how many tests were taken and how the results became so quickly available is not explained.
One photo is possibly of JJ1 – this was snapped from a distance on a mobile phone by a publican – Manfred Sprenger. Other photos are not so convincing – one shows a tipped over garbage bin (!); another, hair caught in barbed wire; and one which can only be described as a close-up and purporting to be taken “shortly before he was killed”; the Guardian attributes this to one Anton Hoetzel/EPA (I can’t find any other photo on the web attributed to Anton Hoetzel/EPA) while a “Greenie” site “Tree Hugger” credits it to unnamed “Bikers” (strangely, Manfred Sprenger is apparently also the name of a well-known bicyclist in Germany!). None of the reports mention the hunters who shot him taking a paparazzo with them.
The bear(s?) in question only hit the news on three occasions – first on May 22 when he is first noticed but is called ‘Petzi’ (Spiegel); then on June 21/22 when a whole history of maulings are attributed to him, though he is never actually witnessed doing the mauling and he doesn’t seem to eat anything he kills (in South America, for instance, this would be attributed to the presence of a Chupacubra); lastly despite unattributed sightings sitting on the front steps of police stations etc, he eludes 5 Finnish bear hunters with their dogs over a period of a week, and they don’t get a whiff of him; however, he is declared an outlaw and a merry band of unnamed hunters (who remain anonymous hereafter) find him within 24 hours and gun him down.
Who reports this last morsel? Enter Manfred Woelfl, variously described as a Bavarian bear expert, a director of a ‘Naturpark’, or a government official. Manfred was on call to take charge of the carcase, ship it off for an autopsy (!!!) and thence to a museum for stuffing, as well as make all the press announcements. Manfred is the only person quoted in any article who has presumably seen the body (apart from the now elusive hunters, of course). I have emailed the Munich Natural History Museum (where it will allegedly be stuffed and displayed) asking if they have it yet. I’ll let you know of any reply.
Who is Manfred Woelfl? Glad you asked. I found an interesting article by Manfred in the Autumn 1996 edition of International Wildlife (published by the Canadian Wildlife Federation). It’s entitled “They Shot Miro!” and is about the shooting death of the first and only lynx to … wait for it… be seen in East Bavaria for 150 years (Bruno was the only bear for 170 years but add 13 years to Miro because the article is about events in 1993). Who shot him? Why hunters of course. Who was first on the scene to announce it? Good old Manfred, cradling the body of Miro and shouting “The Bastards” into the wilderness - I kid you not, it's that sort of article. Funny how things like this keep happening to Manfred and he’s then the only one to actually see the body.
There’s no further material that I can find on Miro. The story and the media’s interest in Lynx’s goes no further. Similarly, there’s nothing further about Bruno (or was it his brother, JJ2, who was also apparently on the loose) after June 26 except for a short, sharp rebuke by an Italian Greens Minister, happy – no doubt – to be able to stick one to the Bavarians. Like I said, I await my reply from the Munich museum – perhaps they’re still awaiting Bruno. I suspect they are, but we’ll see.
On a happier note, you can go to Bruno’s own website and play three songs about him, write a little letter of condolence to him, download some nice wallpaper and banners which show him on a cloud in heaven, or play a game where Bruno, floating around on his cloud with his angel wings, drops globs of honey onto target figures including hunters, chickens, Finnish bear dogs, police and Bavaria’s Minister for the Environment, Werner Schnappauf. In another game, you can look down the sights of a gun and shoot tranquiliser darts at the same mob. Go to
I told you it was fortean. Thanks to PrinzHilde for the tip.