Papillon, the Italian Alps’ notorious runaway bear caught again


A wild bear in the Italian Alps whose escape antics have earned him the nickname “Papillon” has been caught for the third time, the Trentino provincial government said on Monday.

The bear, known officially as M49, escaped twice after capture, in July 2019 and July 2020, and last month lost the radio collar he had been fitted with to control his movements.

He was apprehended with a tube trap in the Lagorai mountain range area, where he had recently been spotted, the Trentino government said in a statement.

“Papillon” is a famous prison escape and novel.

M49 first escaped hours after his capture, climbing over four fences, including one protected by high-voltage electricity, in what authorities called an “unthinkable” feat.

It then took park rangers nine months to catch him and take him back to the enclosed camp he had fled from.

Two months later, he broke free again.

Bears, an endangered species, are causing increasing concern in Trentino, an Alpine province just south of German-speaking South Tyrol.

Trentino’s woods were re-populated with bears years ago as part of an EU-funded programme.

Their encounters with humans have since become more common, and potentially dangerous.

Two weeks ago, a bear that ventured into a mountain town was sedated and captured after he attacked and injured a police officer taking a walk by a lake.

Farmers are vocal in asking for containment measures against bears, blaming them for deadly attacks on their farm animals.

But drastic steps such as shoot-to-kill orders are opposed by environmentalists.


– Sept. 7, 2020 @15:51 GMT |

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