In the depth of the Trentino mountains, there is a high-security prison. Amongst the captives is M49, a brown bear classified as dangerous for his reoccurring attacks on livestock and human property. The animal has been the subject of much media attention, both in his homeland and abroad. What are the cultural values that lie behind the contestation of this figure? Where does the image of the malicious bear come from and how has it evolved? In this article, Amedeo Policante explores the different paths of this genealogy, showing how they still feed into contemporary culture today.