Bear (Ursus arctos)

The brown bear is included in the IUCN - International Union for the Conservation of Nature - Red List, among vulnerable species (2008). In Europe, its fragmented and declining population is estimated to be around 14,000. Western populations in particular are considered to be endangered.
In Italy, brown bears survive in three separate areas: on the Alps in western Trentino (28-32 animals), on the border between Friuli Venezia Giulia and Slovenia (10) and on the central Apennines (30-40).
Alpine populations belong to the subspecies Ursus arctos arctos: in the 1990s they were almost completely extinct, but then their number increased thanks to the arrival of new animals from nearby Slovenia and, in Trentino, to the LIFE URSUS Project, which was carried out by the Adamello Brenta Natural Park, the Province of Trento and the National Institute for Wild Fauna, and which reintroduced in the Park bears originating from Slovenia.
Preservation of the Apennine brown bear population (which is acknowledged as a subspecies: Ursus arctos marsicanus) is instead problematic, in spite of the numerous protection initiatives and of the wide network of protected area that cover its range. The population is estimated to consist of about 30-40 units, mainly living in the border area among Abruzzo, Molise and upper Lazio, and especially in the Abruzzo National Park.
Between 1971 and 2014, 97 Marsican brown bears were found dead for various causes, but the impact of poison on this species cannot be quantified, as the causes of death remained often (38 cases) unknown.
Poisoning was ascertained in only 7 cases, whereas suspected cases are 3.
The widespread presence of poison in the species’ range is however certain, as shown by the frequent poisoning cases concerning wolves and foxes, and by the large number of poison baits
found by the Anti-poison Dog Units of the LIFE ANTIDOTO Project during their searches.

  • Immagine 1
  • Poisoned Marsican brown bear
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