Marsican brown bear

2015 CEItaly

"Italy’s Marsican brown bear is one of the rarest and most endangered bears in the world. A cousin of North America’s grizzly, it is a unique subspecies that became geographically isolated from other brown bears in Europe. With a population of about 60 remaining individuals the species is at extremely high risk of extinction and is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. In 2015, the last population census revealed just 13 reproductively active females in the population . . . Once widespread throughout the Central Apennines, the Marsican brown bear population was hunted to the point of collapse in the last two centuries. Today, Italy’s remaining Marsican brown bear population is concentrated inside the Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise National Park – an area spanning just 190 square miles . . . [W]ith a population so small, genetic inbreeding has occurred, reducing the genetic fitness of the overall population and limiting the subspecies’ ability to respond to new environmental threats, like the impacts of climate change."

"Italy Is Home To The World’s Most Endangered Bears – Here's How We Can Save Them," The European Nature Trust.

Image: Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr, Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)