“Olmo’s enclosure is just a stone’s throw from the playground,” writes the local Italian newspaper L’Adige. “That’s why everyone in Sopramonte is afraid now.” Sopramonte is a mountain village on the edge of the Alps with around 3,000 inhabitants, not far from the provincial capital of Trento in South Tyrol. And Olmo is a donkey, was a donkey, unfortunately we have to say. Olmo was even something more: a kind of mascot of the town who regularly received visits from the residents. The little ones especially loved him.

On Thursday morning a few mothers with their children and carrots for Olmo went to visit the donkey at the fence of his enclosure. But they couldn’t see him. They notified its owner, Davide Vecchietti, who rushed from work to Sopramonte – and found his animal’s carcass in a clearing, 150 meters from the enclosure’s fence.

“It was immediately clear to me that it must have been a bear,” Vecchietti told l’Adige. “The fence has been damaged and a wolf is unable to bend the metal supports anchored in concrete bases. The forest officer confirmed these impressions, all evidence points to a bear. I am shocked! We are not on the edge of the forest or in the countryside here, we are in the middle of the houses, in the middle of the village.” In Sopramonte it had never happened before that a bear had entered the town to kill animals. Apart from sporadic tracks, no bear had ever caused any damage there.

Trento Mayor Franco Ianeselli expressed his sympathy: “I express my solidarity with the owners of the donkey Olmo,” he commented, “also because I know how important he was for the entire village of Sopramonte.” But Ianeselli also thinks one step further: If a bear suddenly comes to the village, how long will it take for it to come to the city? After all, Trento is only a quarter of an hour away by car.

Those: “The Adige”