Anger is growing at the decision track down and kill an endangered bear after it attacked two men.
The animal mauled a father and son hiking on Mount Peller, Trento, on Monday.
It left them both in hospital – and the region’s governor says the bear must now be put to death.
Italy’s National Institute for Environmental Protection and Research regulations call for bears that attack humans to be euthanized.
After the attack, Trentino governor Maurizio Fugatti signed a cull order allowing for the capture.
Blood from the clothing belonging to the hikers – aged 28 and 59 – will be tested so they can extract enough DNA to identify the creature.
But the decision has prompted outrage from animal rights groups and Italy’s environment minister.
Nearly 15,000 people have signed a World Wide Fund for Nature petition to save the bear.
The group are calling for an immediate ban on the death sentence.
Reports suggest it may have been a female protecting its cubs.
Sergio Costa said in a letter to the governor that he has joined call demanding a stay of execution.
“I trust in being able to optimally reconcile the safeguarding of public safety with the conservation and protection of wild species,” he said.
Christian Misseroni, the younger of the two men attacked, said the bear “suddenly appeared from behind a bush” as they walked along the Alpine path in the Dolomite.
“We weren’t prepared – that area is normally peaceful,” he told the New York Times