di Francesco Musolino
Bolzano, February 20 - A vast following on Facebook and a string of petitions were not enough to save EmmeTredici (M13), the popular brown bear being followed by wildlife authorities for months in the mountains straddling Switzerland and Italy. The young bear, tagged with an electronic tracking device, has been targeted as a menace by Swiss rangers since he broke a window and crawled into an unoccupied cabin near the mountain town of Poschiavo in Switzerland close to the Italian border last November. The bear, who usually lives on the Italian side of the region, had just come out of hibernation in the Swiss canton of Graabuchen or Grisons (Grigioni in Italian) on Tuesday when wildlife authorities killed him citing him a nuisance for his "lack of inhibition when near inhabited areas". Last week, the bear's brother, M14, was killed when hit on the Italian side of the border by an SUV. Fans on Emme Tredici's (M13) Facebook page who previously pleaded for the bear to cross back over into Italian territory have left hundreds of messages mourning his death. "I hope one of the Bern bears escapes and runs amok in the criminal court house...to deal a real blow of justice," said one fan on the social network. The Facebook page's banner with a picture of M13 in a tree has been replaced with a bloody paw print.