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Avezzano Prosecutor Maurizio Maria Cerrato: [email protected], [email protected] // Italian Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto: [email protected]

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PETITION TARGETS: Avezzano Prosecutor Maurizio Maria Cerrato, Italian Environment Minister Gilberto Pichetto

A peaceful mama bear from a critically endangered species was gunned down just outside of a national park in Italy — leaving her two cubs orphaned and unable to care for themselves.

Locals who loved watching the bear family named the female Marsican bear Amarena, which means “Black Cherry” in Italian, after her reported favorite food. Amarena and her two cubs lived in the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise but would sometimes wander into the surrounding community, where there was a high tolerance for the bears and a desire to co-exist, according to news reports.

In the park or on the streets, the Marsican bears — a subspecies of Eurasian brown bear — were protected by Italian law, given their status as a critically endangered species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s “Red List.”

But Amarena recently was shot to death with a rifle just outside of the park boundary — leading to a frantic search for her two cubs, whom park staff said were too young to be able to survive on their own.

Italy’s environment minister has called the killing a “grave episode” while Italian wildlife experts and the national park have denounced the senseless death as an “unjustifiable crime.”

“There are no reasons to justify the episode given that Amarena had never created any type of problems for humans,” the national park said on Facebook.

Authorities have identified the shooter, and prosecutors are looking at charges of killing an animal without a warrant — a crime that carries penalties of between four months and two years in prison.

Sign our petition urging authorities to thoroughly investigate this killing and treat this case with the severity it deserves.