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Pizza-loving bear treks almost 150km back to Italian village after being exiled for breaking into bakery

Business Insider US
Marsican brown bear
  • A bear was captured after he broke into a bakery in central Italy and feasted on fresh cookies. 
  • He was then sent to a remote park to be re-wilded. 
  • This failed, however, and he's now trekked almost 150km to go back to his favourite village. 
  • For more stories visit Business Insider.

A bear has wandered back to the mountain village where his favourite Italian bakery is after an attempt to re-wild him failed, the Maiella National Park has announced.

The two-year-old brown bear, known by locals as Juan Carrito, rose to social media fame at the end of 2021 after breaking into an Italian bakery in Roccaraso, Central Italy, and dining on freshly-made biscuits. In the village, he was often spotted strolling through its streets, eating pizza from bins and drinking water from fountains, The Guardian reports.

But the bakery break-in proved the salt straw, and he was sedated, captured, and exiled to the remote Palena bear reserve in the province of Chieti, The Guardian reported. He was then sent to the Maiella National Park for a re-wilding process, where he spent 18 days before deciding he didn't like it and walked 150km back to Roccaraso.

Carrito, who is tracked by a GPS collar, is a Marsican brown bear, a rare species found in the Apennine region of Italy, according to the Maiella National Park, with only 60 left in the wild, according to WWF Italy.

"It's a bad thing to say from a nature point of view, but for him, it seems natural to be in Roccaraso, where there is activity, people, and other animals," said Lucio Zazzara, the president of the Maiella National Park, The Guardian reports.

A number of animal activists have protested about the capture of the bear, and a petition with almost 2,500 signatures claimed that the community of Roccaraso considers Carrito "one of them." 

Writing about the capture of Carrito, the WWF Italy wrote a statement saying, "it remains to be asked whether everything was really done to avoid such a sad passage."

WWF Italy criticized the "lack of basic measures" including the lack of bear-proof bins, food discarded in the street, and using dogs to chase the bear. 

"The bear either we want it or we don't want it," said Dante Caserta, WWF Italy vice president: "if we say we want it, then we must do everything so that it can visit our territories in a safe and natural way, without making it an animal circus attracted to villages so that tourists can photograph it with their mobile phones. Otherwise it means we don't want it ". 


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