Wild Baby Marsican Brown Bear
Abruzzi region of Italy
Tumbling out of the den in the Italian mountains come this 1-year-old bear and his twin brother, having a wonderful game of ‘who can pin who’. This is a lot of fun but also good practice for when they are older, their coordination still could be better! Living in their national park they feel quite safe but their mother has warned them to never go too close to the humans, especially when they have a gun. If the humans get scared then it’s could be the end of the little bear.
The Marsican brown bear, also known as the Apennine brown bear, is a critically endangered member of the Eurasian brown bear. They live in forested areas between 800 and 1700 meters in elevation where they can live for 20-25 years. These solitary bears are mainly nocturnal, foraging around for their favourite foods of tubers, roots, fungi, fruits, and berries, but they are also happy to eat insects, honey, eggs, carrion, and even a small mammal or two.
The only times when the bears are not nocturnal are during mating and when they have cubs. The cubs are usually born in winter, where the mother will find a nice rocky cave to make as a den. She will usually give birth to twins, but sadly the mortality rate for cubs is 50%. The cubs will stay with their mother for 2-3 years but they can roam around independently after only a few months thanks to their mother’s fatty milk.
Only found in a very small part of Italy, these isolated bears have seen their numbers drop dramatically. Currently, estimates have put their numbers at only 50 bears left in the wild. They mainly live in the Abruzzo-Lazio-Molise National Park which was created in 1923 for the specific purpose of protecting the bears. This was a fantastic initiative which helped to protect them from one of their greatest threats at the time, habitat loss. Now, even though they are protected under Italian law, their threats come mainly from humans who kill them when the bears are seen as a threat to the locals and their cattle. Another big threat is genetic diversity. As there are so few of them, genetic diversity has become very small, giving rise to issues of inbreeding.
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals.
With public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. Through this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love. With love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast and #wildaboutbabies to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.
To help protect these animals, please donate to the WWF: https://www.worldwildlife.org/