Save the Marsican Bear
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
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:
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.
Ecotur, via Piave, 7 Pescasseroli (AQ) CAP 67032
Tel. 0863/912760 FAX 0863/910738 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org