Errant bear has reappeared in his favourite Italian town after a failed attempt to rewild him.
The two-year-old Marsican brown bear, affectionately known as Juan Carrito, walked 150km “home” to Roccaraso, a small mountain town in the Abruzzo region, bypassing several other towns along the way.
Carrito was spotted outside the train station on Tuesday morning, three weeks after being taken back to the mountains following a spell in an enclosure as experts endeavoured to adapt him to his natural environment.
The bear has been a regular visitor to the town and became a social media star after breaking into a bakery in Roccaraso last November and eating a batch of freshly-made biscuits.
The break-in led to him being captured and banished to a remote area in the mountains, but he was soon back, leading to a second capture in early March and a period in the enclosure.
He has often slept among the pine trees at the entrance to the town of about 1,500 inhabitants, before going in search of food, rummaging through bins and dining off leftover pizza and sandwiches, and drinking from fountains. Carrito has also been noted for his playfulness towards dogs.
His movements are monitored by experts at the Majella national park, home to the rare Marsican bears, via his radio collar. In the days before venturing back to Roccaraso, he was detected close to other towns but did not drop by.
“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 Majella national park.
“Although it seems he only missed it to a certain extent, because for three weeks he substantially lived as a bear, eating food in his natural environment, and didn’t go close to homes, nor did he search in bins for food.”
Carrito’s movements and behaviour will continue to be observed before a decision is made to recapture him.