Insight & Analysis

Mischievous bear walks nearly 100 miles to get home!

Published: May 2022

A very naughty bear has walked more than 100 miles back to his ‘hometown’ after being chased away.

Brown bear in the wilderness at sunset

The bear, named Juan Carrito, hit the headlines last year after several high-profile crimes in the town of Roccaraso, central Italy. Juan had become infamous for stealing biscuits and bin break ins.

In March, the two-year-old bear was sent to an enclosure for ‘problem animals’ in the village of Palena, Italy. In a bid to rehabilitate the bothersome bear, authorities then released him into the wilds of the Apennine mountains. But Juan simply made his way back to Roccaraso with a few woodland detours along the way – a journey of more than 100 miles!

Park rangers at the Maiella National Park were able to track Juan’s journey through a satellite collar and saw that he spent 18 days walking between the valleys of Abruzzo to get home.

Luciano Di Martino, Director of the Maiella National Park, told La Repubblica: ‘This mammal has accomplished an extraordinary feat: he practically went around the entire Maiella, climbed the valleys and peaks, passed through inaccessible areas and moving for over 150 kilometres.

‘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, there are people and other animals.’

Juan had initially been banished from Roccaraso after a high-profile break-in at a local bakery. He ate an entire afternoon’s worth of biscuits before fleeing to the forest – leaving a trail of crumbs and metal trays in his wake. He was exiled to a remote area in the mountains for his crime but made his way back home a week later. The world has grown to love the Italian animal and, following news of his most recent return to Roccaraso, they took to social media to share their joy.

‘Viva Juan Carrito!’ wrote one Twitter user, and ‘I love Juan Carrito’ proclaimed another.

But local residents are undecided on the best course of action for the bear due to damage he has caused.

The Marsican brown bear population across the area has dwindled to an estimated 65 over the past two decades, thought to be the result of illegal hunting or the animals being hit by vehicles.

In 2019, the Italian branch of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) warned the animal faced extinction.

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