From May to June, during the mating period, male bears can frequently attack and kill bear cubs in order to gain access to females, which can later copulate again. Most likely this is what has happened on Brenta Mountain near Molveno, North Italy, where technicians of Trento Province observed a large male bear entering a den and chasing away the mother to kill its three cubs, seen by the technicians previously. In fact, this attack happened quite early in the period, as the male searched even for the winter denning site. Despite the fact that this may seem a violent thing, it represents a common behaviour among bears, being part of reproductive ethology of the species.
After the event, State Forest Service personnel took an additional inspection trip in the area and observed the female, wandering alone around the den area for a long time before leaving the place. The technicians will try to access the organic remains – in order to identify the individuals involved – but not before all bears leave the area definitely and the environmental conditions improve, as the access to the site is quite dangerous at the moment.