Unknown to most outside of Italy, the Marsican Brown Bear is on the brink of extinction and it is listed as Critically Endangered on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This subspecies of European brown bear has lived in the isolation of the Apennine Mountains of Central Italy for over 500 years. These magical bears are smaller, friendlier and whilst omnivorous, maintain a mainly vegetarian diet. Although they once used to populate the Appennines of Central Italy, the loss of habitat, poaching and human interference by means of livestock contagion have decimated the population. Within the last four decades, 93 bears have died and more recently car accidents have further decreased their number. The latest genetic census has traced fewer than 50 individuals remaining in the 200 square mile territory of the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Parks.
Today, The Anglo-ltalian Society for the Protection of Animals (AISPA), in co-operation with the Italian wildlife organisation “Salviamo l’Orso” (Save the Bear), is fighting against time to raise awareness and to ensure the survival of the species, which exemplifies the biodiversity of the European continent. With a history dating back to the 19th century, AISPA is a British based charity which raises funds worldwide in support of grassroots animal welfare projects in Italy.
Within the last few years, AISPA has been working alongside Salviamo l’Orso and its passionate conservation volunteers on a range of different projects. The main aim has been to prevent human-bear conflicts and on implementing stray and working dog inoculation programmes, in order to avoid the spread of life-threatening diseases to the bears. Like many scientists and conservationists, the charity believes that in this virtually unknown, yet stunning region of Italy, there are the right environmental conditions to ensure the survival of this unique wildlife symbol of the Central Apennines. With you financial support AISPA can work to enable the rarest of bears to survive in the National Parks of Central Italy.