Marsican Bear Smart Communities

Timeframe: 2020-2022
Country/Region: Italy
Partner: Salviamo L’Orso

The Marsican brown bear, also known as the “Apennine brown bear”, is a critically endangered population of the Eurasian brown bear, with a range restricted to the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park and the surrounding areas in Italy. Its survival is primarily threatened by man due to road accidents and human-bear conflicts. Direct persecution is often a reaction to crop and livestock losses caused by bears.

This project aims to mitigate human-bear conflicts through dialogue with farmers and landowners and the installation of measures to protect the properties against damage and bear raids. Furthermore, to allow the expansion of the Marsican bear to other areas suitable for its survival and to reduce the number of road accidents, the project will evaluate the bio-permeability of state roads crossing along the most important area for bear habitats connection within the project areas.

The project will allow Salviamo L’Orso to replicate in the Valle Roveto, in the Ernici mountains and in Alto Molise the successful experience it had in establishing “Bear Smart Communities” in other areas. Previous successes showed that over just 3 years, financial losses due to bear incursions dramatically declined, public attitude towards bears improved, bear sightings increased and the first female with cubs was observed after decades.

In the long term, these activities will create the social and ecological conditions for the creation of a single, larger, connected population of Marsican brown bears covering all the Central Apennines.