Who’s afraid of Dino the bear?

He has 15,000 Facebook fans

Jen Cutts

Dopey and starving after a long winter’s nap, Dino the bear began searching for food—and wandered into the limelight. The 385-lb. brown bear, nicknamed by the Italian media, has been frustrating farmers in the Italian Alps with his attacks on their cows, chickens and sheep. Though brown bears are protected by Italian law, the farmers want Dino shot. His fans (nearly 15,000 on a Facebook page) are insisting he be allowed to live.

Brown bears aren’t uncommon in the region after being reintroduced in recent years, though they generally stay away from populated areas. Dino is unusually fearless; some worry he could be a risk to humans. Local government is working on a plan to have him moved.

At least one Asiago hotel owner, though, thinks Dino is in “no way a danger to humans,” and instead sees potential in his notoriety. “He’s now more popular than Yogi Bear,” Alberto Vescovi of Hotel Erica told Maclean’s.

He proposes the region “adopt” Dino to bring in tourists, with Dino-themed vacation packages and plush Dino bears for the kids. Vescovi also suggests tourists could contribute 10 euros per person to a fund to compensate farmers who lose livestock.