published on 30 January 2019 in life
Abruzzo National Park, 11 bear cubs born in 2018
Good news for the Marsican brown bear. No less than eleven cubs have been born in 2018 in the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park. This is a very positive result, confirming the reproduction rate of this species living in the Apennines: for the third year in succession, in fact, there have been 10 to 12 new-born bears.
The Marsican bear is a subspecies of the brown bear endemic to the Central Apennines, scattered with a small population in the mountains within the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park, of which this bear is the symbol and one of the main naturalistic attractions. The Marsican bear has been present in the territory of the Park and in adjacent territories from prehistoric times; in the last century the setting up of the Park was fundamental for its survival up to the present day. Even though environmental conditions in the Park are not ideal for the Marsican bear, mortality due to anthropic causes is currently the main risk factor for the now small remaining population. The number of bears illegally or accidentally killed by humans has been – and continues to be – high. According to estimates, about 50 bears live in the distributional area of the Apennines; of these perhaps no more than 4-5 adult females reproduce each year.
To save this small population of bears in the Apennines, it is vital to reduce to zero cases of mortality caused directly or indirectly by humans, such as the presence of stray dogs, wild grazing animals, poaching, poisoning, road accidents, people off tracks. Moreover, it is also essential to increase the connectivity between protected natural areas that are potentially ideal for sustaining this species, in order to allow numerical growth of the population and its expansion to other areas of the Apennines.