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"Genius" Bear That Scaled Three Electric Fences In Daring Escape Now On The Run In Italy

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Rachel Baxter

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The escaped bear spotted by a camera trap at 9.29am on Tuesday, July 16. Press Office of the Autonomous Province of Trento

A super stealthy brown bear has fled its captors and is roaming the forests of Italy once more.

Known only as M49, the lawbreaking fluffster was originally trapped by authorities due to the dangers it posed to local livestock. It was captured in a tube trap and transported to a wildlife area in the Trentino region of northern Italy.

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However, not content with this new living arrangement, M49 broke free on Sunday night, somehow managing to scale not one but three electric fences and a 4-meter-high (13-foot) barrier. According to a press release, the fences surrounding the bear’s enclosure have a capacity of up to 8,000 volts.

As of last night, spider bear is still on the loose.

"An absolutely abnormal event has occurred,” Maurizio Fugatti, president of the Autonomous Province of Trento, said in a statement. “All this does justice to the concerns we expressed about the danger of this specimen and the measures we had decided to take.”

Worried M49 might harm people as well as livestock, Fugatti has given forestry officials permission to “shoot it down”.  

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The detention center for naughty bears wildlife area was first created in 2007, and since has detained “so-called problem bears”, like current inmate DJ3, and taken in unhealthy animals in need of rehabilitation.

M49 plotting the escape. Press Office of the Autonomous Province of Trento

Displeased with the planned fate of M49, various wildlife advocates have criticized Fugatti’s decision and even applauded the bear's daring escape.

"Evidently, M49 is an escape genius… gifted with superpowers akin to a hero of Marvel Comics," said Italy’s League for the Abolition of Hunting, according to BBC News.

Meanwhile, a new hashtag has emerged on Twitter – #fugaperlaliberta (meaning escape for freedom) – which fans are using to show their support for the “genius bear”.

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While M49 has never attacked a human, it has been “the protagonist” in a number of attacks on livestock. Bear attacks involving people are very rare but not entirely unheard of. M49 is part of the EU-funded LIFE Ursus project, a conservation initiative to relocate bears to the Trentino area. In 2014, one of these bears attacked a mushroom picker, although she was acting in defense of her two cubs.

Wherever humans and bears co-exist, conflict inevitably occurs. Press Office of the Autonomous Province of Trento

M49 was last seen alive on July 17, at 10.54pm local time, snapped by a camera trap on the slopes of Marzola Mountain. The next step of his audacious getaway is currently unknown; perhaps he plans to flee to London disguised in a duffel coat.

M49 snapped by a camera trap on Tuesday night. Press Office of the Autonomous Province of Trento

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