Just a two-hour’s drive from Rome, one of the world’s rarest and most critically endangered subspecies roam the dizzying peaks and dense forests of Italy’s Apennine Mountains; the Marsican brown bear.
(Photo © Valentino Mastrella)
In prehistoric times, hundreds of Marsican bears could have been found in the mountains, but today only about 50 individuals remain – most of them within the protected boundaries of the The National Park of Abruzzo. Due to the population’s historical isolation, the bears are not only endemic to Central Italy, but they are genetically unique from other alpine brown bears.
This beautiful species stands on the brink of extinction and the few bears that survive outside the park are quickly dwindling due to poaching, poisoning, land fragmentation, and traffic collisions.
– Abruzzo National Park, est. 1921 © Giovanni Di Gregorio
Great efforts are already being taken towards the protection of the bears and their habitat, but in order to ensure the survival of the current population, conservationists must act quickly. Some of the essential projects needed for their preservation include increasing connectivity between habitat corridors, expanding the protected area, tracking and monitoring bear movement, securing livestock farms with fences and, most importantly, raising awareness of bear conservation amongst the residents of Abruzzo.
Beyond being a huge environmental ‘win’, the rewilding of the Central Apennines, paired with wildlife watching tourism and other eco-businesses, could provide substantial and exciting economic incentives for local communities to support the protection of the Marsican brown bear.
– A Marsican brown bear cub © Francesco Culicelli
On September 12th, The European Nature Trust invites you to get involved in the conservation effort for this remarkable species. BEARTREK is a breathtaking film that follows renowned ecologist and TV presenter Chris Morgan on a global crusade to find some of the rarest bear species on Earth. Watch Chris Morgan’s epic journey on the big screen at London’s iconic BFI, followed by a Q&A with the man himself!
All proceeds from the event will be used for the conservation of the Marsican brown bear of Abruzzo, Italy. For more information and tickets please click here. It promises to be a wild evening – not to be missed!
– Chris Morgan on his bear tracking journey to some of our planet’s wildest locations