Brown bears bounce back from brink of extinction in Italy
After many years of facing extinction in Italy, brown bears now appear to be bouncing back, as a successful conservation programme in the areas around Rome has seen dozens of cubs recently roaming the forests.
The bears were faced with threats from poachers and hunters in recent years.
Italians were also outraged in 2006 when German hunters shot dead a bear called Bruno that had wandered over the mountains into Bavaria and was accused of savaging sheep.
There was another outcry last year when Bruno’s brother, codenamed “JJ3”, was shot dead after wandering into Switzerland.
Researchers at the “Action Plan for the Protection of Marsican Bears” (Patom), the Italian bear management agency, said that losses from shooting or poisoning had been counteracted by an “unexpected resurgence”, however. “We were overjoyed the other day to observe six female bears with ten cubs in the mountain woods and meadows of the Abruzzo,” one researcher said.
This revival was due in part to constant patrols of the area and public outrage at what was happening.