Five of the six road signs located along the provincial road 53 between Vallelarga (Pettorano sul Gizio) and Mastroiacovo (Introdacqua), which encourage motorists to reduce their speed to prevent collisions with wildlife, have been targeted by antisocial people recently. We could put it down to egotistic behaviour, but the symbolism of a mother bear and cubs on the signs being shot with bullets denotes a feeling of hatred. The hatred of anything that might interfere with their lives, or just the urge of thoughtless violence for their own sick pleasure. This act was carried out only a few days after a female bear was killed in Molise, so we can imagine that the signs were vandalised as a response of shared ignorance. This destructive act is similar to a fatal shooting of a bear in Pettorano sul Gizio in 2014. These grave attacks by bullet seem to be a fairly frequent occurrence judging by the post-mortems of murdered bears, but other methods of fatality also take place.
The harming of bears reminds us of the intolerance people have for anything out of their control, or for what they do not understand and therefore fear. Indifferent even to the national and international outcries of people devastated and distraught by the violence bears face. This undeservedly gives the local community a bad reputation of hatred towards the rich local biodiversity. Even of those who believe in the peaceful cohesion between humans and wildlife, seeing wildlife as an opportunity for the development of tourism that is aware and respectful of the natural environment. Since 2015 the Genzana Bear Smart Community has been working precisely to achieve the goals of encouraging knowledge and coexistence for the benefit of the bear and citizens. We were not under any allusion that this would be an easy task. These thoughtless and destructive acts continue to motivate us to continue our work with even more determination, alongside Rewilding Apennines, the Riserva and Dalla parte dell’Orso.