Officials ID Bear Raiding German Farms

A brown bear that has raised the ire of Bavarian farmers by raiding sheep flocks and chicken coops has been identified — his name is JJ1 and he comes from a project to reintroduce bears to the wild in northern Italy.

But Bavaria isn't backing off a much-criticized order to shoot or capture the animal if it is seen, the southern German state's environment minister, Werner Schnappauf, said Tuesday.

The order was issued last week after the bear — the first seen in the wild in Germany since 1835 — helped itself to livestock near the Alpine resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Animal rights groups criticized the order. Environmentalists from Germany, Austria and Slovenia have been roaming areas where the bear has been spotted to try and capture it themselves.

Schnappauf defended the policy, telling N24 television the bear has been identified as one with behavioral problems.

According to genetic analysis of the bear's hair, he is JJ1 — named after his parents, Jose and Jurka, said Roland Eichhorn, a spokesman for Schnappauf's ministry. He is also the twin brother of "JJ2" — a bear that last summer killed several sheep in Switzerland.

Experts have advised the government that JJ1 is dangerous, Schnappauf said.

"This bear will break into stalls again," Schnappauf said. "For security purposes, the permission to open fire [on the bear] must be maintained."

The World Wildlife Fund has said the most recent sign of the bear has been in Austria, where a deer it apparently killed was found in a Tyrolean forest overnight.