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Last Updated: Monday, 19 June 2006, 12:15 GMT 13:15 UK
Bruno the bear dodges German hunt
Finnish bear tracker hunting Bruno

An elusive brown bear called Bruno has slipped away from trackers in the Bavarian Alps after a close encounter in the lakeside resort of Kochel.

A fifth hunter from Finland has now joined the search, with what is said to be the best Finnish bear-tracking dog.

Bavarian officials said the bear, also known as JJ1, was last spotted in Kochel late on Friday. It was even seen sitting outside the police station.

It is the first brown bear to appear in southern Germany for some 100 years.

Fearless predator

Bavaria's Environment Ministry warns on its website that the bear does not fear humans and poses a serious danger to the public. The authorities want to shoot Bruno with a narcotic.

Brunoderbaer website
Web users can now virtually hunt Bruno
The bear has killed about 25 sheep and four goats in the Bavarian Alps since crossing the border from Austria a few weeks ago.

In Kochel it also raided a beehive and a rabbit hutch, German media report.

Bavaria's Environment Ministry is keeping a daily progress report on the hunt for Bruno.

It says that on Friday night a man walking his dog in Kochel saw the bear in a street, about 20 metres (66ft) away, and ran behind a house to avoid it. But the bear did the same - and this time man and bear were 70m apart.

Then the bear ran off, climbed a wall and reappeared later outside the Kochel police station, before heading off for the woods again.

Bruno's escapade has inspired an internet hunting game, with the website www.brunoderbaer.de offering readers the chance to fire narcotic darts at the bear when he pops up from various hiding places.

Meanwhile, Bruno's brother JJ2 is at large in the Italian Alps. Bruno's mother - who is blamed for his savage behaviour - has another three cubs.


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