Why are we starting a new association to safeguard the marsican brown bear ? First of all, the overall condition of the bear is not only precarious and, despite renewed interest and efforts coming from the institutions  in charge for its conservation (at least in words), it is not showing a reversal while the risk of going to the point of no return, that is extinction, is really high.

Giochi nella neve - ph. Giancarlo Mancori

University of Rome, “La Sapienza”, together with the Scientific Service of the Abruzzo NP has spent a vast effort in research and monitoring of the species, its habitat and the causes that threaten it. This work has led to a very useful tool, named PATOM (Action Plan for the conservation of the marsican bear).

Despite being initially promoted and subscribed by all the authorities, both political and administrative, insisting on the geographical area that contains the primary habitat of the species, it looks like PATOM has soon been forgotten: it is never taken into consideration when dealing with decisions on the management of bear territories and, instead of being a guiding tool, it runs the risk of becoming a useless paper or, worst, the epitaph on the marsican bear grave.

Beside a set of actions that cannot be postponed, aiming at the extension of Abruzzo NP as to bring definitive protection to some critical areas that must be taken away from speculators’ aims (Mt. Greco area, as an example), we really need a raising in collective awareness. We need to promote the battle for the survival of bears in Abruzzo, and more widely in the Central Apennines, as a cultural emergency for the entire country, and not only for the impacted regions.

We need to raise awareness on the fact the the future of the bear species in Central Italy has the same importance and the same deep meaning for our country as the preservation of a unique archeological site such as Pompei.

Thus in the light of this awareness that we share with many friends from the simple bear loving people we meet every year in Abruzzo to the researchers that followed the “ghost”for years , to the majority of Park and Forest rangers all passionate about their beast……our new association Salviamo l’orso  made of people that want to make a  serious effort to guarantee the species survival, thinks the time has come to pass on this alertness  to a largest portion of our public opinion.

Is there someone who, though not being an archaeologist, would agree to  Pompei’s destruction ? So why, then, should we deny the right to live to our bears , that have been dwelling in the forests of Abruzzo for hundreds  of years, contributing to their magic and extraordinary appeal to thousands of people coming from all over Europe and beyond ? Tourists envy our bears and keep coming back, year after year, in the hope to gaze them from afar, or rather feel their elusive presence throug all the signs they leave.

Salviamo l’Orso – Association for the conservation of the marsican brown bear, while recognizing the important role of all environmental association in raising the public opinion awareness about the extinction of the species, feels that there is still an empty space to fill in and many things to do in order to fight this cultural battle and put in place activities and down-to-earth interventions.

Salviamo l’Orso  not only will fight a cultural battle and promote awareness actions, but it will also put an effort in finding sponsors and private funds for practical actions that can help the species.

We would like to take inspiration from several foundations, both europeans and north-americans, (Fundacion oso pardo, Vital Ground, and so on), that fight actively and practically in order to preserve the best conditions to ensure bears survival. Thus, beside a cultural and lobbying action, side by side with traditional associations, Salviamo l’Orso is aimed at doing, positively doing.

We hope time will show we are right, and in a few years we could look at the future of our bears in a more  optimistic perspective.

This is a hard struggle, it could even look like a desperate one, considering our country, Italy, being so scarcely aware of immaterial values, but  previous experiences such as the unbelievable numeric increase in bear population in Spain, or closer to us the experience with bears in Trentino demonstrated that we can work to invert this tendency, and thus we decided to try out seriously.

Stefano Orlandini – President