Following some complications related to old age, Lauretta the bear died last Sunday night at the age of 25. Lauretta has lived in captivity in the Park Visitor Centre in Pescasseroli since 1993. She was a scared and malnourished cub when some hikers found her in 1993. Our partner Marco Bonapace, present that day, remembers her with these photos. The Park’s staff captured and took care of her. She was no longer released because she was too used to the presence of man.
The sight of Lauretta in her enclosure at the Park Visitor Centre has always saddened us because a free-born bear should never die in captivity. However, over the past 25 years, thanks to Lauretta hundreds of thousands of visitors have been able to get to know a live Marsican bear, without having the need to look for it in the wild. Lauretta’s sacrifice urged anyone who works for the conservation of the species to prevent other bears from suffering the same fate, perhaps only because they don’t observe the laws of men.
We like to think that Lauretta has finally returned free to her beloved mountains to experience the spellbound sensations of nature that surrounded her enclosure so closely.