ROME (Reuters) – Italy was on Tuesday mourning the death in a road accident of a rare brown bear that made international headlines when it broke into a bakery and feasted on biscuits.

The marsican bear, which had been named Juan Carrito, was killed after it was hit by an Opel Corsa car on a mountain road near the town of Castel di Sangro in central Italy on Monday evening.

“There are no words to express our sadness at what has happened,” the national park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise said on Instagram.

“Juan Carrito was a problematic bear but in the park we did everything… to give him a chance and allow him to remain free,” it added.

The 150-kg bear was captured last year and taken to a more remote region after his bakery break-in but the four-year-old liked to return to his old haunts in search of food.

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Before the accident, he had been spotted over the weekend in a ski resort, Italy’s Rai news reported.

There are believed to be only around 50 marsican bears left in Italy.

The bear’s name came in part from the village of Carrito in Abruzzo where local media reported he was first spotted crossing a road. Carrito is also a Spanish word, hence the first name Juan.   

(Writing by Keith Weir, editing by Ed Osmond)

Copyright 2023 Thomson Reuters.

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