Thursday, March 27, 2014

Problem Bear

Memorial to Martyred Bruno

Bruno was a bear. He wandered across the Alps from Italy into Bavaria in 2006. Bears are thin on the ground in Germany these days, so at first he was welcomed. But then the Germans were shocked to learn that bears are not cuddly toys full of stuffing. Bruno did real bear stuff. 

He turned over the trash. (Well, boo-hoo.) He ate some sheep. (Sure, blame the bear for shepherds' negligence.) He might have even eaten a horse, but they never proved it. Anyway, since when do we kill bears for feeding as God designed them to? What's a few sheep next to a magnificent Ursus Arctos?

Bavarian Governor Edmund Stoiber declared Bruno to be a "problem bear." An enemy of the state. Crack Finnish bear-hunters were flown in to take Bruno out. But the wiley Bruno eluded them. 

Bruno was not without his supporters. Legoland in G├╝nzburg, Bavaria, featured a display of Bruno and some not-to-scale sheep made out of Legos. It's the thought that counts.

The story does not end happily. Bruno was shot in June, 2006. There was much mourning in Bavaria, or at least some opportunistic marketing. Cars sported black pennants on their antennas featuring a bear's paw. 

Not content to take his life, they stole his dignity by having him stuffed. Today Bruno can be seen forever attacking a beehive at the ironically-named Museum of Man and Nature in Munich. He's next to the last bear seen in Bavaria before Bruno. He was shot in 1835.

So, the next time you hear a German complaining, "O my, vere are all der bears?" look him right in the eye and say, "Ask Bruno."


  1. Taking the poor beast out seems a little -- well, a lot -- excessive. I guess his first misfortune was in not being sufficiently exotic to be coveted by some zoo.

    May the hills be alive with the memory of Bruno.

  2. I just hope whoever killed Bruno is up on his Bible. Just in case he "happens" to get a visit from the Bavarian Bible Bear.

  3. How can we all howl like bears, if we can't hear the bears? This is very disturbing coming from the country that gave us Steiff bears....Perhaps they think all bears should be stuffed!?!

  4. Bruno is a metaphor for the Church in Germany. What would St. Corbinian say?

  5. In the Great Smokey Mountains, near Crossville, TN there are black bears. They turn over the trash. (Yes, even at the local McDonald's by the interstate.) Their solution is to make "bear proof" trash cans. Forgive me if I sound like a "bear hugger", but they are God's creatures and shouldn't be put down for such minor offenses. I agree with the Bear. Any shepherd who doesn't make sure his/her flock is safe at night is at fault. The bear was just doing what bears do. (Reminds me of the new bobcat hunting that's being permitted in our own state.) There are scary animals out there that will eat your stock. That's why you have guardian dogs and put them up at night. Being a shepherd is a 24/7 job. They are your charges. Just as we are the Lord's charges.

  6. Well, he was a brown bear, which is a much larger and more ferocious animal than a black bear. Even so, you are absolutely right.


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