Italy's distinct bear (Marsican brown bear) faces down extinction

  • By: Ismail A & Patricia Losch
  • Target: The Abruzzo Region local government to stop discussing reducing the borders for Sirente Velino Regional Park

The Marsican brown bear is on the brink of extinction. Despite authorities spending millions of Euros on its conservation, high human-caused mortality is menacing the survival of this distinct subspecies. 

The Marsican brown bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus) is only found in the Italy's Central Apennines, less than 200 kilometers from Rome. The last reliable research carried out in 2011 by the University La Sapienza in Rome estimated a population of around 49 bears. Not surprisingly, the Marsican bear is at extremely high risk of extinction and is considered Critically Endangered on the Red List of the IUCN .
The population was once distributed over a large area of the Apennines, but during the last two centuries Marsican bears were devastated by hunting.

During the period of 1971 to 2013, 93 bears died ,from 2000 on most deaths have been caused by poisoning. Two bears, an adult female and a yearling male were poisoned in 2003; three—an adult female, an adult male, and a subadult male - were poisoned in 2007 together with five wolves and eighteen wild boars. No one was found guilty for these crimes.
Last May thirty poisoned baits were found in the heart of the Park. Two foxes, one wolf, and maybe a golden eagle died from the poisoning ,In April a bear died in a collision with a car after climbing a fence on the highway. In June, a bear nicknamed "Stefano" was found dead ,the medical necropsy uncovered four bullets in the bear’s body, but they are not considered the primary cause of death .

The bears are also threatened by disease that can be transmitted by livestock, wild animals and especially stray dogs. In January twelve wolves were found dead, some of them due to canine distemper. A few months later, over 30 wolves died mainly for the same plague, along with hundreds of dogs and stray dogs

At the present time, however, the PATOM objectives' deadlines have expired, and no information on the achievements of this agreement is available to the public.
even as experts suggest creating more room for the vanishing bears, the Abruzzo Region local government is discussing reducing the borders for Sirente Velino Regional Park. Experts have identified this park as a possible target for bear expansion, but unfortunately it is also attractive for hunters and luxury development. Despite warnings from NGOs and the park's staff, the regional government, which signed the PATOM years ago, continues to push the project.
The Marsican bear, which once roamed regions from southern to central Italy, is nearly vegetarian, with 90% of its diet coming from plants. They also eat small vertebrates and invertebrates and only sporadically kill other large animals, preferring to scavenge carcasses. Their calorie-poor diet requires them to eat vast quantities of food, as they weigh 90 to 150 kilograms, food they must somehow gather in the wooded mountains remaining.


We wre the people of thw worold who sign thi spetition asking the Authority in Abruzzo Region local government , to stop their plane to reduce the borders for Sirente Velino Regional Park , and efforts the essential protection to the Mariscan brown bear from hunting and poachers .

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