Famous Stuffed Bear Goes on Display Bruno Finds Final Resting Place in Munich Museum

Remember Bruno the brown bear, the tragic hero who rampaged around the Alps in 2006 and was shot dead on the orders of the Bavarian government? His many fans will be able to pay homage to him from this week when his stuffed remains go on show in a Munich museum.

Bruno, the brown bear who made international headlines in 2006 when he killed dozens of sheep, overturned beehives and squashed a guinea pig in his rampage around the Bavarian and Austrian Alps, was unveiled Wednesday in his new home, a natural history museum in Munich.

He's been stuffed, mounted and arranged in a diorama that shows him beside an overturned beehive.

Michael Apel, director of the Museum of Man and Nature, told reporters at a press conference Wednesday that the idea was to highlight Bruno's reputation as a "problem bear."

"Bruno was more than a management problem -- he was a media sensation," said Apel.

Dieter Schön, who created the display, said that he tried to find some middle ground between interpretations of Bruno as a beast and a teddy bear. Schön spent 1,400 hours building the diorama.

Bruno became the first wild bear sighted in Germany since 1836 after he wandered across the border from Italy in the spring of 2006. He was part of an Italian program to reintroduce brown bears to the Alps.

Media and the German public were fascinated by the bear, but Bavarian farmers found Bruno less alluring. The "problem bear" killed around 30 sheep, overturned trash cans, and had a tense run-in with a car.

Authorities hired a team of Finnish hunters to track down and catch the bear alive, but they failed to find him. In one famous incident he wandered into an Alpine village and sat on the steps of the police station while his expert pursuers were sweating their way up a mountain miles away.

Bruno was finally shot and killed, on June 26, 2006, after the Bavarian government decided that he was too dangerous to humans to be allowed to live. His death was mourned by his legions of fans and the authorities came in for fierce criticism.

Even in death, Bruno caused problems. The Italian government claimed that he was an Italian native and that his body should be extradited, but Bavarian officials refused to send him south. They kept the carcass in a freezer before deciding to have him stuffed and mounted.

The new diorama featuring Bruno stands near the entrance to the museum and will be open to the public beginning on Thursday.

The museum is housed in the Nymphenburg Palace, a summer palace and popular tourist attraction built for Bavarian royalty in the 17th century.

Kurt Eicher, a spokesman for the Initiative for the Abolition of Hunting, said that animal rights activists were planning to protest outside the palace Thursday morning against an exhibit they feel is grotesque.

"The bear received no protection in Bavaria, and now the victim is being lampooned in this barbaric display," Eicher told the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.


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