photo credit: Francesco Culicelli
The Marsican bear population is 50-60 individuals and considered Critically Endangered by the IUCN. Located in the Central Apennines, the subspecies of the brown bear is considered a wildlife symbol of the area in the mountain, woodland and prairie habitats in which it lives. However, human-caused mortality is still high due to conflict with bears and livestock, retaliation poaching, disturbance through human activities, habitat fragmentation, old fencing and barriers hampering bear movements, health problems caused by diseases caught from livestock and pets and vehicle-bear collisions. This project will prune abandoned fruit trees to allow better access and more food for the bears, set up 672 acoustic and optical wildlife warning reflectors along an 11.2 km stretch of the main road that passes through the area which will make a noise when car lights reach them to scare the bears away, remove 4 km of old and abandoned barbed wire and fencing from mountain areas to promote easier movement of the bears to new areas and improve the landscape, restore and improve signage on 3 trails in the area to prevent hikers wandering off trails getting lost and disturbing bears in their dens or natural habitat.