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Bruno the Bear's Brother Considering a Trip to Germany

DW staff (th)July 28, 2006

A brown bear named Bruno became a cultural icon and a government headache this summer when he crossed into southern Germany. Now, Bruno's brother could be ambling towards the German border. The bear saga continues.

Could Germany soon have a second bear to deal with?Image: PA/dpa

A smart bear might think twice before heading towards the German border.

After all, Germany's recent track record as a bear-friendly country isn't good. Yet a bear was seen recently heading northward.

The sighting comes close on the heels of the only other bear sighted in Germany during the past 170 years. An Italian brown bear, christened Bruno by the media, was killed about a month after first entering the country.

Soon after Bruno showed up in Germany, the lovable rascal developed an appetite for barnyard animals. The bear was shot in June after the government declared him a menace.

Yet Bruno has a brother. And his story could have a sequel.

The brother shows up

BdT Radler sehen Bruno kurz vor seinem Tod am Spitzingsee
Did Bruno set an example for the new bear?Image: picture-alliance/ dpa

The bear recently seen by an Austrian cowherd could be Bruno's brother, according an Italian wildlife expert. It's normal for male bears to search out new territory if old stomping ground starts to feel cramped, Alberto Stofella, who works at a nature reserve in northern Italy, told the Neue Zeitung of Tirol, Austria.

''I've been saying for weeks this would happen,'' Stofella said.

According to Stofella, Bruno has a brother that was also born in northern Italy, is the same age and could be on the move.

Any bear traveling to Germany would likely face the same media and government scrutiny as Bruno.

The infamous Bruno

In just a month, Bruno became a household name thanks to extensive media coverage of his antics, which included killing two dozen sheep, rabbits, goats and poultry. Animal lovers were infuriated when the government issued hunting permits. Bruno fans left teddy bears and crosses by the spot where he was killed.

At first, it seemed like the dead bear might become a job for a taxidermist. But the government decided not to stuff Bruno for display out of fear that a cult would arise around the animal, Werner Schnappauf, the Bavarian environment minister, told reporters. The government also nixed a request by Rome that Bruno's remains be repatriated.

"The bear is the property of the state of Bavaria," Schnappauf said, adding that the animal's remains would be used for "scientific purposes.''