During his short life, a brown bear named Bruno became quite infamous in Germany, Austria, and beyond. The German press reported often about the adventures of the beast, who was the first brown bear to appear within the country in 170 years.
“JJ1”—Bruno’s official name—was was born in Italy as a result of a successful European Union wildlife reintroduction project. In just two years, he had wandered through the Alps, killing several sheep, goats, and chickens along the way. The hungry bear also raided beehives and rabbit hutches and once even snacked on a guinea pig.
Bruno grew bolder and more comfortable around human settlements and began showing up closer and closer to villages and houses. The Bavarian Ministry of Environment soon decided to kill the bear due to these unsettling changes in his behavior. Animal rights activists and those smitten with Bruno’s triumphant return to Germany protested, so plans were made to humanely capture him. But these efforts failed, and Bruno was finally shot in June of 2006. He was only two years old.
Bruno’s taxidermy body is now on display in a permanent exhibit at the Munich Museum of Man and Nature at Nymphenburg Castle. Peek inside the huge glass cube, and you’ll see him posed as if he’s plundering a beehive. The exhibit also shows the often-ridiculous news articles and reports published about the exploits of the Problembär (Problem Bear).
Other members of Bruno’s family shared similarly tragic destinies. His brother, dubbed JJ3, was said to be aggressive and was shot and killed after migrating to Switzerland. Their mother was captured and put in captivity.
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