Bear ‘mauls trail runner to death’ after girlfriend reports him missing

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

A bear in the Italian mountains is thought to have mauled a young man to death while he was out trail-running.

Andrea Papi, 26, was reported missing by his girlfriend after he failed to return home from a run.

Mountain rescue teams using dogs searched the area in Caldes, near Bolzano, in the Italian Dolomites, and discovered his badly injured body was found early on Thursday morning.

Trail-running magazine Spirito Trail wrote: “Andrea loved running in the woods of his Val di Sole, in Trentino.

“Yesterday, as he always did, he went out for his daily training, but he never came back.

“They found his body full of wounds, perhaps he encountered a bear, perhaps another wild animal.

“Andrea Papi was just 26 with a lifetime ahead of him. Fate can be profoundly cruel.”

His girlfriend, Alessia Gregori, reposted the tribute, and wrote: “My life”. Dozens of her friends sent condolences.

Investigators will look into how Mr Papi died.

Mount Peller, where he had reportedly been running, is home to more than 80 bears, and several people have been attacked in recent weeks.

Signs there warn hikers and runners about what to do if they encounter a bear, with advice such as “do not run but move away slowly”.

It adds: “If the bear attacks you, do not react, stay calm or lie down slowly with your face down. The bear will probably stay close to you without physical contact.”

Last month, a 39-year-old hiker “fought for his life” after he was attacked by a bear in the area, according to MailOnline.

The bear was identified as an 18-year-old male and the order was given for it to be put down, but it has not been found and it is not yet known if it was the same animal involved in the latest incident.

Bear attacks are rare, but officials say they are on the increase and this is thought to be the first death in several years.

A spokesperson for LAV, Italy’s largest animal welfare organisation, told MailOnline: “In 99 per cent of cases bears will attack if they feel threatened or are in danger and usually it is because of humans misbehaving.

“For example, we have had cases in the past where a dog walker has let their unleashed animal antagonise a bear which has resulted in an attack.”