A trail runner has been mauled to death in a suspected bear attack in the Italian Dolomites. Athlete Andrea Papi, 26, was reported missing by his girlfriend after he failed to return home from a run.
Mountain rescue teams and police were alerted and during the search, his badly injured body was found early on Thursday morning in Caldes, near Bolzano.
Papi's Body Found in Area Where Several Bear Attacks Reported in Recent Weeks
Andrea's body was found by mountain rescue teams using dogs and sources said he was dead at the scene and his body had "injuries consistent with being attacked by a wild animal." According to authorities, Papi was running on trails on the picturesque Mt Peller â an area that is home to more than 80 bears and where several attacks have been reported in recent weeks.
Last month, A bear attacked a hiker in the Rabbi Valley. "There have been attacks on farm animals in the last month, including a sheep mauled on the edge of the village of Caldes on 19 March," residents told reporters in the village. "There have been several attacks in the area. We just had to wait for one person to die."
The bear was identified as an 18-year-old male and the order was given for it to be put down, but it has not been found and it is not yet known if it was the same animal involved in the latest incident.
In May 2020, a terrifying video showed a young boy strolling down the slopes of a mountain in the dolomites with a Eurasian brown bear tracking behind him in the Adamello-Brenta Nature Park, which is only about 35 kms away from the village of Caldes. Miraculously the young boy managed to escape unscathed with his calm and composed behavior.
Several Warning Signs of Bear Attacks Set Up Around the Mountain for Hikers
Several signs are dotted around the mountain warning hikers and runners about bears and what to do if they encounter one. These include not "attracting bears in any way or leaving food for them' while if one approaches 'do not run but move away slowly."
"If the bear attacks you, do not react, stay calm or lie down slowly with your face down. The bear will probably stay close to you without physical contact," the signs read. "It is difficult to know if it is a fake attack or not. Playing dead before the contact gives the bear the feeling that you are not a danger."
"Lie on the ground, interlock your fingers at the back of your neck and shield your head with your arms. Try to remain still until the bear stops the attack and moves away. Do not run, shout or try to hit the animal. If you are wearing a backpack, it can be useful to protect yourself."
'Everyone is Shocked'
"To lose a young person in circumstances like this is tragic. Everyone is really shocked and our thoughts are with his family at this time," said local mayor Andrea Maini. "All I know is that he had gone for a run on the trails in the mountain and his body was found by rescue teams. It will be up to investigators to establish exactly now he died."