Save the Marsican Bear
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Save the Marsican Bear

Save the Marsican BearThe Marsican Bear is one of the rarest bears on the planet, with estimates that there are just 40 individual bears in existence. However, while they are rare and beautiful creatures, beekeepers and farmers in Italy - where the Bear resides - are not so happy. The amount of damage caused by the bears annually is around € 50,000 (this is an average figure calculated over the years between 1998 and 2003), including plundered livestock, and raids on beehives and cultivation.

The Save the Marsican Bear campaign aims to raise € 10,000 to be used in preventing and compensating for damage caused by the bears: to livestock, to beekeeping, to farmyard animals, and to agriculture.

With the amount of damage caused by the bears - which is a silly figure – it is obvious that the extent of the damage could be greatly reduced if beekeepers and livestock breeders were provided with low-voltage electric fences (not harmful to the bears).

On the one hand, these would protect the flocks and the hives, and on the other would allow the bears to avoid the discontent and wrath of injured parties. In 2002, eleven new electric fences costing € 6,00 have brought about a reduction in damage of 40%, allowing a saving of around € 27, 000.

The funds raised by the Save the Marsican Bear campaign will also serve to acquire new electric fences, which will be donated to local beekeepers and livestock breeders, the main objects of attention of the Marsican bear. It would seem to be the best way forward in reducing the conflict between man and bear, and in establishing a climate of dialogue and collaboration between those institutions charged with the protection of the bear, public opinion and the local population.

Organized by Ecotur – an Italian wildlife tour and environmental organisation – and in collaboration with the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise, the idea really originates from the public. It comes from all those who have actually seen the bears during the Ecotur excursions throughout the Park, or from those who have tried to see them, or those who have simply come to know them better by listening to one of the Ecotur guides speak passionately about them.

Ecotur have seen, in the course of their work, a strong desire on the part of individuals to feel directly involved in the protection of this marvellous animal, by means of positive, tangible and safe initiatives. Ecotur has decided to take up the gauntlet by organizing the campaign and guaranteeing its strong success. The objective is to collect € 10 000, to be used in preventing and compensating for damage caused by the bears: to livestock, to beekeeping, to farmyard animals, and to agriculture.

Save the Marsican Bear is an initiative that originates from the grass roots, from and amongst the people, not dropped from on high by some bureaucratic body or institution. The involvement of the population living inside the Park is one of the strong pillars on which this project is founded, and Ecotur are well placed its guarantors, given their experience in the Park territory.

Why now? Why not before?

Because the risk of extinction is truly grave (as a reminder, there are about 40 individual bears left, making it one of the rarest types of bears on the planet) and then again because conservation efforts are really starting to move forwards.

The Abruzzo National Park, together with La Sapienza University in Rome and the State Forestry Commission, are conducting a programme of research into the bear. They have radio-collared some of the bears to study their movements and habits, and they also try to estimate how many still survive. The funds for carrying out this research project have been secured, but not those for compensating the damage caused by the bears, so this campaign aims to address this. The bear is a good thing for all of us, and it is right that each of us should contribute in our own small way to protect it.

How to Support the Project

Go and see the Marsican bear! Three money boxes, in the form of the Marsican bear, will be available in the vicinity of the following businesses: Ecotur and La Bottega di Gaia, as well as the “Jorio” refuge within the Park. Besides this, we plan to set up some money boxes close to hotels and other commercial buildings within the park.

If you are able to support the project, please also send a donation in a sealed envelope (at least € 5 – don’t be stingy!) with “Save the Marsican Bear” written on the inside and the name of the donor, (the names of the donors will then be submitted to the Park management together with the collected donations) posting it to the following address: Ecotur, via Piave 7, 67032 Pescasseroli (AQ), ITALY

Purchasing the t-shirt, for adults or for children, the small rucksack, or the little hat, all specially made and printed for the campaign: one Euro will be contributed to the campaign for every item purchased. These articles are for sale at “la Bottega di Gaia”, or else you can request them by e-mailing: informazioni@ecotur.org

A spokesperson from Ecotur says: “Please may we count on your utmost support for the initiative; this is a cry straight from the heart! We will keep you constantly updated on progress by means of our newsletter “Econews”. In agreement with the Park management, we will be able to choose the name of the next bear to which a radio collar is fitted for study purposes. To this effect, we will perform a poll via the Internet. Whenever you feel downtrodden or stressed out, perhaps stuck in a traffic jam or weighed down with problems at work, you can always think that amongst the wild mountains of the Abruzzo a bear runs free, to whom you have given not only a name, but above all a future. Thank you!”

Contact Details

Ecotur, via Piave, 7 Pescasseroli (AQ) CAP 67032

Tel. 0863/912760 FAX 0863/910738 e-mail informazioni@ecotur.org

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