Each year Marsican bear population counts are carried out so that scientists and conservationists can monitor population trends. It looks like 2019 was a good year for the species, with a very positive count being completed!
It’s been discovered that there are at least 9 female Marsican bears that reproduced in 2019 with 16 cubs counted. This is the highest number counted over that past 14 years of monitoring in collaboration with the Forestry authorities, volunteers and conservation organisations. Monitoring processes include camera traps and regular reporting.
This is the fourth consecutive year with an increased average of between 10-16 cubs being born. Across the 125 observation occurances, experts have worked out that there are 2 females each with 3 cubs, 3 females with 2 cubs and 4 with just 1 cub.
News around Marsican bears isn’t always this positive, as seen by a recent incidence involving a road traffic collision with a mother bear and her three cubs, resulting in the death of one cub. That’s why the work of our partners Salviamo l’Orso is so vital, in order to improve human-wildlife coexistence.
What is very encouraging is that the count has revealed there is a strong possibility that some of the female bears could be breeding outside the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise. From the Roveto Valley to Castel di Sangro as many as 17 reports of females with cubs were verified, involving at least 5 different municipalities and could correspond to at least 6 family units. This is triple the previous count of family units!
This is exciting news as it points to the bears expanding the areas in which they feel secure enough to roam and breed. Again, this calls for more work to secure larger areas for the bears to live within. Fundraising efforts with the aim of purchasing more land which will be protected by conservation organisations and national legislation are under way.
The Marsican bear is a very small subspecies of European Brown bear, faced with the threat of extinction. These statistics provide a lot of hope for the species and provide support for the current conservation methods in place: protected areas of land which allow connectivity between territories, and the expansion and maintenance of fruit tree plantations to provide food for the bears.
Let’s hope that this upward population trend continues!