The marsican bear (also known as the Apennine brown bear) is one of Italy’s treasures. Italy is home to more than 57,000 species of animals but the marsican bear is the most endangered. In fact, Italy is the most biodiverse of all the European countries primarily because it is at the point where several continents connect: Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Therefore, it can provide a wider range of ecological habitats including mountain ranges, woodland, shrublands and 4,900 miles of coast.
The Rare Marsican Bear
There are eight different species of bear and the Marsican bear is a type of brown bear. Their scientific name is Ursus arctos marsicanus although not everyone accepts them as a separate species. They are found only in a specific 5,000 to 8,000 square kilometre area in the Appenine Mountains. Most of this is in the Abruzzo-Lazio-Molise National Park which was created in 1923 specifically to protect the bears.
Marsican bears are the rarest bears on earth. There are only 50-60 of them alive today. Their diet consists mainly of plants and they like apples, pears, prunes, tubers, roots, fungi, and berries although they will also hunt small animals and insects as well. They have even been known to take sheep and cattle and this brings them into conflict with the local farmers. Their lifespan in the wild is 20 to 25 years but it can be over 30 years in captivity.
The wonderful female bear that we see in this video is called Amarena. We see her quite high up in a tree where she seems to be teaching her cubs how to climb and find food. We also see one of the cubs learning how to stand up on their two rear limbs which can be used as a sign of aggression when they are older but is also useful for reaching food from trees.
We learn from the video that Amarena gave birth to four healthy cubs in 2020 which has not been recorded for this species before. It is fairly unusual for all brown bears who generally give birth to two cubs. The cubs seem to be well which is also great news – mortality for these bear cubs in the wild is thought to be 50 percent. Hopefully this bodes well for the survival of the species.
The Featured Image
Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.