Animal rights groups are calling for the resignations of Italy's environment minister and other officials after a mamma bear died during a capture operation ordered after the animal purportedly scuffled with a forager as its cubs slept nearby.

Daniza's fate has been a cause celebre in Italy ever since mushroom scavenger Daniele Maturi claimed the brown bear attacked him in mid-August in northern Italy's Trento province. The issue gained attention because Daniza was part of an EU-funded operation to reintroduce brown bears to the region that some residents say has been too successful.

Officials ordered Daniza captured and transferred, overriding protests by animal rights activists who argued the bear was just protecting its cubs.

Trento officials said Thursday that Daniza had been tranquilized Wednesday but never woke up.