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WILDLIFE

Deer gets lost, wanders into Italian bakery

A deer walks into a bakery... It might sound like the start of a bad joke, but it happened in Italy on Thursday morning and here's the video to prove it.

Deer gets lost, wanders into Italian bakery
A young deer (not this one) got lost in a bakery in central Italy. Photo: Arno Burgi/DPA/AFP

The young fawn was filmed standing behind the counter of a bread shop in Ortona, a small town in the central Abruzzo region.

The clip, shared by local animal welfare officer Antonella Di Mascio, shows the animal looking a little bewildered among the fresh loaves. 

The deer is thought to have wandered out of nearby woodland and got lost. 

After one of the bakery staff alerted the authorities, it was checked by a vet who said the deer was in good health – just a little frightened by finding itself surrounded by so many people, after a small crowd formed to see it.

The deer has since been safely returned to the wild by forest rangers.

Urban encounters with wildlife are increasingly frequent, according to Italy's nature authorities, who say it's common at this time of year to spot fawns who appear to be on their own. If you see one it's best to keep your distance, in case the mother is nearby and might be scared off by seeing humans approach her fawn; call a vet or the forest rangers instead.

Not that people in Abruzzo need advice on living in close proximity with wild animals. In the nearby mountain town of Civitella Messer Raimondo, locals say they have made “friends” with a lone wolf who roams their streets at night, eating the occasional unlucky cat.

The rugged region is also home to bears, boar, foxes and other wild creatures who don't always stay within the bounds of its extensive national parks.

READ ALSO: A herd of 'rebel cows' has been living wild in the Italian mountains for years

A herd of 'rebel cows' has been living wildly in the Italian mountains for years
Photo: antb/Depositphotos

ANIMALS

Italians cheer on wild bear’s ‘Great Escape’ from electrified pen

Italian animal lovers cheered on a wild bear on Tuesday after a daring escape from an electrified holding pen sparked a bear-hunt and a furore over its fate.

Italians cheer on wild bear's 'Great Escape' from electrified pen
Illustration photo: AFP

The three-year old, known only as M49, was captured Sunday in the Val Rendena valley in the Trentino region in northern Italy after it was spotted several times approaching inhabited areas.

But in a getaway compared by Italian media to Steve McQueen's exploits in the 1963 WWII film “The Great Escape”, M49 went on the lam Saturday after scaling a four-metre (13-foot) high and 7,000 volt electric fence.

“Run bear, run!” said one user on Twitter as the #fugaperlaliberta (#escapeforfreedom) hashtag went viral.

Three teams from the state forestry corps with sniffer dogs were set on its trail.

The search was complicated by the fact that the bear's tracking collar was apparently removed after its capture.

“If M49 approaches inhabited areas, the forestry service is authorised to kill it,” said Maurizio Fugatti, governor of the Trentino region.

“The fact that the bear managed to climb over an electric fence with seven cables carrying 7,000 volts… shows how dangerous it is,” he said.

But Environment Minister Sergio Costa was quick to countermand that order. “M49's escape from the enclosure cannot justify an action that would cause its death,” he said.

'Escape genius… superhero'

Farmers' association Coldiretti claimed the bear had approached inhabited areas 16 times, and killed 13 farm animals.

WWF Italy ridiculed the region's efforts to deal with the bear.

“A solid electrified fence with adequate power is an insurmountable barrier even for the most astute bears,” it said.

“Obviously the structure was not working properly, since bears do not fly.”

It was particularly serious that the collar had been removed, “making it even more difficult to track”, it added.

The global conservation group insisted “its danger to people is still to be demonstrated.

“At most, it can be considered problematic for causing economic damage to farming activities, following the failure to adopt appropriate prevention tools,” it said.

M49 is part of the Life Ursus project, which since the early 1990s has worked to reintroduce brown bears into the Trentino region after they were driven to extinction in northern Italy.

Professor Luigi Boitani from Rome's La Sapienza University told Italian media they now number between 50 and 60.

The mistake had been failing to use electric fences to dissuade M49 from approaching inhabited areas.

At the same time, he added, an electrified cage was never going to contain “a large, adult and spirited male bear”.

The League for the Abolition of Hunting (LAC) said it suspected the bear had been allowed to escape, so that it could be declared a danger to humans and killed.

“M49 is, of course, an escape genius… endowed with superpowers like a Marvel Comics hero,” it said.

“He just happened to climb over the fence, unharmed by electric shocks, by chance without his radio collar — and, what do you know, he can be declared public enemy number one and the escape sparks a maximum security alert”.

Michela Vittoria Brambilla, president of the Italian Defence League for Animals, told M49 to “run and save yourself!”

“We are on the side of the bear, and of freedom,” she said.

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