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A bear mascot
Posted by: PrinzHilde (
Date: July 06, 2006 12:22PM

Geting into the spirit of a murder investigation, I would like to dedicate this first post to a prematurely demised: Here's to "JJ1" Bruno, the true Fourth Bear!

Design #3609494995:
It's a newly-discovered breed of fish that keeps your teeth clean, tastes delicious and dissolves in water.
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Re: A bear mascot
Posted by: MuseSusan (
Date: July 06, 2006 01:31PM

Oh no! The poor bear!

Re: A bear mascot
Posted by: Anonymous User (
Date: July 11, 2006 04:10PM

How sad. Poor Bruno.

Post Edited (07-11-06 17:10)

Re: A bear mascot
Posted by: PrincessP (
Date: August 24, 2006 08:12AM

I was hoping to see something lighthearted, but that's just plain depressing and sad.

We had a bear that would come down the mountain into the city to sit in back yard hot tubs and jacuzzis. I think he had a bit of arthritis and the hot water made him feel better.

Samson is gone, but every now and then there is a news blurb about another bear doing something similar. The local government/animal services agencies try to do capture and re-release back into the forest for the most part.

Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. --- Edgar Allan Poe

Re: A bear mascot
Posted by: robert (58.165.209.---)
Date: August 24, 2006 03:15PM

I smell something fortean here.

The Bavarian Govt. has a "bear expert"? How do you become a "bear expert" in Bavaria when there hasn't been a wild one for 150 years?

Someone tracked this one bear for 500 km? Who are these guys? Pinkertons?

No-one shot this one specific bear (ie., all the hunters out there blasted away at other bears but not this one) until the govt. said it was okay? Yeah, right - what hunter would ever break the law?.

A range of atrocities were able to be attached to this one specific bear including the eating of a rabbit owned by a twelve year old girl (why not a 70 year old humbug?) hundreds of kms apart?

That the bear killed 500km away is assumed to be the same bear as terrorised your neighbourhood by sitting on the steps of the police station? Who did the identikit for this one? And where was the guy with the lassoo?

And isn't 100kg just a tad on the anorexic side of the scale for bears?

Post Edited (08-25-06 03:43)

Re: A bear mascot
Posted by: robert (
Date: August 25, 2006 07:19AM

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.

Re: A bear mascot
Posted by: PrinzHilde (
Date: August 25, 2006 04:23PM

Interesting what things look like from foreign parts...

I'll give you a bit more background: During the ca. four weeks that "Bruno" was around in the northern alpes, he was one of the main media themes in Germany and Austria. Daily updates of his whereabouts, interviews with local farmers afraid for their livestock, tourists expressing how scared they are to walk in the mountains, animals friends from everywhere expressing their disgust with the idea of killing the bear, biologists explaining the behavior of bears in general and the so-called "trouble bear" in particular...

All this is only explainable when you remember that all wild animals that can pose any sort of threat to men or livestock have been exterminated in western europe for 150 years. No one has life experiences with wolfes, bears and the like. All that has remained in the collective knowledge comes from fables, fairy tales and other traditional stories. Shepherds can let their flock roam without any surveilance, and if you leave chickens out at night, you only need a fence to keep foxes and badgers away.

For the last maybe ten years conservation of nature issues have gained ground, and a number of projects to re-introduce predators started off. There are now a number of vultures living in the alpes again, somes lynxes roam in the bavarian woods and even a pack of wolfes is living in a military terrain near Magdeburg. Every time it started a fierce dicussion.

For someone living in a country where dangerous animals are an everyday part of the environment, the attitudes shown here may seem strange. I'd describe them with only one word: panic. I remember when a few years ago a single, fairly small pet crocodile escaped its holder and got into the river Rhine. For two weeks the police tried to hunt it down, in front of TV cameras of course.

What seriously lacks from all reactions is a realistic assessment of the threats posed by wild animals. Either they are children-seizing monsters or they are quiet chaps only looking out for their own well-being and fleeing from any human contact. It is an interesting contrast that at least here in north-eastern germany everyone knows exactly how to deal with wild boars. They are living here in such large numbers that they even sometimes enter the city realms of Berlin. Children learn in school that loud talking while in the woods will disperse the gangs but never to get near a sow with shoats, as she could easily knock you over and break your bones.

Concerning hunters you must keep in mind that firearms are heavily restricted in germany. For someone to get licenced as a hunter, he has to pass a system of schooling about weapons, hunting laws, enviromental issues and whatnot. He has to lease hunting rights for a specific area and is then under close scrutiny by a forest warden (they are public clercs, each in charge of forest segments no larger than maybe 50 square km). And you have to take into account that germany is densely populated. Even in eastern bavaria and the alpes there is no place where the next town is more then 10 km away. If you walk through a forest, you can be sure to encounter people at least every other hour. It would pose a serious problem to get a shot out of a rifle without someone hearing it. And to deal with a carcass, or butcher it, without anyone noticing is even more difficult. So, breaking hunting laws in germany is much more complicated than in the wilderness.

Oh, Manfred Wölfl is what you could call a park ranger at the nature preservation zone "Naturpark Bayrischer Wald". Such nature parks are protected by law and, even if employees are no public servants, they work under direct guidelines and get most of their finances from the ministry of the environment.

Design #3609494995:
It's a newly-discovered breed of fish that keeps your teeth clean, tastes delicious and dissolves in water.
generated with The Prior-Art-O-Matic

Re: A bear mascot
Posted by: sketch (86.42.25.---)
Date: October 10, 2006 02:07PM

looks like someone tried googling (is that a word?) bare but can't spell!

Re: A bear mascot
Posted by: PrinzHilde (
Date: March 29, 2008 10:32PM

It has been 19 month since robert enquired about the whereabouts of former bear "JJ1" alias Bruno. Now, he finally makes his public appearance - stuffed, as a proper predator should be:


As the state of Bavaria praises itself for having the most modern bureaucracy of all European administrative entities, the exhibition also features the "Bavarian Bear Management Plan", which has not much to plan for, since only one Appuleian bear has made a short visit on the north side of the Alpes since the demise of Bruno - and he was not confirmed to have crossed the Austro-Bavarian border.

Re: A bear mascot
Posted by: SkidMarks (
Date: April 01, 2008 06:17PM

Well done PH!

Lest we Forget

Re: A bear mascot
Posted by: robert (61.88.131.---)
Date: April 09, 2008 04:09AM

I still smell a rat.

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