A journey through the habitat of the Marsican brown bear with six ‘talking’ stops with educational-training three-sided totems to learn about the eating habits of this mammal, its existence marked by the succession of the seasons, its biological characteristics as well as information on natural environment in which it lives and, of course, on the rules for a good coexistence with the bear. The “Bear Trail” was inaugurated, created by the Maiella National Park together with WWF Italia thanks to the Life Arcprom project, and from today it will be accessible to all hikers.
The Bear Trail is located in the Maiella National Park, in Campo di Giove (AQ) near Lake Ticino. The path is about 4 km long with a ‘ring’ path developed between 1,000 and 1,200 meters above sea level, mostly along a country road in an open environment. The wood is crossed along a mostly earthy mule track, where you walk for less than 1 km.
“That between men and bears is a beautiful and possible coexistence. But it is important to know this wonderful large mammal that lives in our Apennines and to follow some rules of behavior – explains Luciano Di Martino, director of the Maiella National Park – The realization of the path is it is made possible thanks to the European project Life Arcprom aimed at improving the human-bear relationship However, given the potential of the tool, the Park has also decided to invest its own funds and create modern and interactive installations with elements of focus on younger people. The Sentiero dell’Orso is therefore a hiking trail, aimed at everyone, dedicated to the Marsican brown bear in such a way that those interested can improve their knowledge of the bear while having fun “.
“The constant presence of the bear on the Maiella is now an established fact that increases the hopes of survival of the bear, which only an expansion of the area can guarantee a less problematic future. This is why WWF and Parco Maiella, with an excellent synergy, work together to foster a peaceful coexistence between human activities and a species of fundamental importance for biodiversity. As we have always maintained, all together, we can change the planet we live in for the better “, observes Luciano Di Tizio, vice president of WWF Italy.
The Maiella National Park is one of the most important areas of expansion of the Marsican brown bear, whose population is in critical danger of extinction mainly due to its small size (about 60 individuals estimated in 2014). Therefore, to save this endemic subspecies from extinction, the number of individuals must increase. For this to be possible, two conditions must coexist: in the historical range, bears must survive and reproduce; individuals that are dispersed must have suitable areas available in order to in turn survive and reproduce by enlarging the range of the population. The role of the Park is therefore to encourage the arrival of individuals from the historical area (mainly the area that coincides with the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio and Molise) and to implement all conservation measures aimed at favoring their survival and reproduction. In this context, the management of the human-bear conflict plays a crucial role and, in particular, education for coexistence with the bear is essential to have the support of the community in carrying out the conservation strategy.
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