The meeting entitled “The Marsican brown bear towards a shared management of a flag species for the territory” was held this afternoon in the picturesque setting of the Cantelmo Castle in Pettorano sul Gizio (AQ), organized by the Nature Reserve of Monte Genzana – Alto Gizio as part of communication initiatives for the European LIFE Arctos project.
The meeting was held with the participation of a large audience that showed interest and enthusiasm for the Marsican bear, generally considered as an important opportunity for the area. Dr. Mauro Fabrizio, director of the reserve, which this year celebrates 16 years, opened the meeting and illustrated the activities of the protected area, particularly with regard to monitoring and research on wildlife and bear in particular. At present, the reserve personnel are following at least three separate specimens of Marsican bear frequenting the protected area, including a radio-collared female. It is a situation of considerable importance, given the rarity of the dispersion of Marsican bear females from their core area in the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise.
The news of the presence of these specimens, together with findings and historical reports, confirm the Nature Reserve of Monte Genzana – Alto Gizio as a strategic area for the connection between the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise and the Majella National Park. There has been some positive and effective collaboration among the technical and scientific staff of the three protected areas, and some measures of mitigation of risk on the road infrastructures (SS 17, in particular) that cross the territory of the reserve, intersecting the directions of movement of the plantigrade, are in progress.
The meeting continued with the intervention of Dr. Daniela D’Amico, communication manager of the Arctos LIFE project for the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise, who introduced the theme of conflict with human activities (farming, beekeeping, agriculture), highlighting in particular the socio-cultural aspects of the conflict and illustrating the activities that the park has put in place in order to mediate and mitigate critical situations (confident bears protocol, compensation, information and communication, farmers’ support and training).
Dr. Cinzia Sulli, chief of the Scientific Department of the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise, concluded the evening with an overview of the general state of conservation of the species, its size and the main risks to which it is subject. While the bear population inside the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise and its External Protection Area can be considered almost perfect, the fate of the species is determined in the territories outside the park, because only a population distributed over an increasingly wider area (the species was originally widespread in the Apennines from the Sibillini Mountains to Basilicata) can ensure adequate survival. Hence the crucial role that ecological corridors between large protected areas and nature reserves, such as the Monte Genzana, play in the protection of the habitat quality along the species movement lines.