URSUS Project : Brenta brown bear conservation plan.

Reference: LIFE96 NAT/IT/003152 | Acronym: Ursus/Brenta

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

A remnant nucleus of the brown bear survived in the Adamello Brenta park, the only one in the Alps. Estimates put the number of individuals at only five and, as no births was recorded since 1989, the population was clearly and inexorably headed for extinction. For years the park authority and the Autonomous Province of Trento have been working for conservation of the bear habitat and for keeping the animals sheltered from disturbance by encouraging moratoria on forestry exploitation, prohibiting the opening of new roads and forestry tracks and banning any activities which might lead to disturbance for the bears.

The Park's wildlife management plan included, as one of its essential chapters, a "plan for the recovery of the brown bear", drafted by Prof. W. Schröder of the Wilbiologische Gesellschaft in Munich (Bavaria). The LIFE project represented part of this recovery plan.


OBJECTIVES

The specific objective of the project was to avoid the definitive loss of the last brown bears population of the Alps. The main action to be undertaken was the release of brown bears taken from the wild in Slovenia, which appeared to be genetically compatible with the Trentino bears. Three bears were to be released during the course of the project, to be monitored with radio-tracking techniques following their movements and behaviour.

The programme needed to be supported by education and information activities, to seek the involvement and support of conservationists, hunters and local residents and reinforce the already favourable attitude of the local population towards the bears.

The project was also to be widely publicised at the national and local levels through the media.


RESULTS

  • The main expected result has been achieved: the successful release of three bears. Moreover, two further specimen have been released using the parks' own funds. One of the released bears was however killed by an avalanche during 2001. After the end of the project the first bear newborn was observed.
  • A detailed protocol for the capture and release operation was established and refined during the field work, including the handling of bears, needed sanitary checks, transportation and release methods and equipments.
  • Radio-tracking of bears allowed to have a detailed picture of the bears movement and behaviour after release. As a general rule, the bears wandered for a few weeks in a large area, well beyond the parks' boundaries. Then they came back to the release area to establish. Fewer damages than expected to beehives and domestic stock were registered and compensation to owners was regularly and quickly paid.
  • The awareness raising measures were carried out efficiently, through meetings with the local population, distribution of paper materials, information to tourists visiting the park. The monitoring activity was carried out on a daily base and the park made available to the people regular information on the movements and behaviour of the bears. This gave the people the feeling that the bears were followed carefully ensuring the security of humans and human activities and helped in reinforcing the local positive attitude towards the LIFE project.
  • The main expected result has been achieved: the successful release of three bears. Moreover, two further specimen have been released using the parks' own funds. One of the released bears was however killed by an avalanche during 2001. After the end of the project the first bear newborn was observed.
  • A detailed protocol for the capture and release operation was established and refined during the field work, including the handling of bears, needed sanitary checks, transportation and release methods and equipments.
  • Radio-tracking of bears allowed to have a detailed picture of the bears movement and behaviour after release. As a general rule, the bears wandered for a few weeks in a large area, well beyond the parks' boundaries. Then they came back to the release area to establish. Fewer damages than expected to beehives and domestic stock were registered and compensation to owners was regularly and quickly paid.
  • The awareness raising measures were carried out efficiently, through meetings with the local population, distribution of paper materials, information to tourists visiting the park. The monitoring activity was carried out on a daily base and the park made available to the people regular information on the movements and behaviour of the bears. This gave the people the feeling that the bears were followed carefully ensuring the security of humans and human activities and helped in reinforcing the local positive attitude towards the LIFE project.

  • ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


    Reference: LIFE96 NAT/IT/003152
    Acronym: Ursus/Brenta
    Start Date: 01/04/1996
    End Date: 30/09/2000
    Total Eligible Budget: 0 €
    EU Contribution: 319,799 €
    Project Location: Trentino-Alto Adige

    CONTACT DETAILS


    Coordinating Beneficiary: Ente Parco Adamello - Brenta
    Legal Status: PUBLIC
    Address: via Nazionale, 12, 38080, Strembo (TN), Italia
    Contact Person:
    Email:
    Website:


    ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

    THEMES

    • Mammals

    KEYWORDS

    • animal damage
    • forest ecosystem
    • hunting
    • introduction of animal species
    • public awareness campaign
    • conflict of interests
    • information service
    • mountainous area
    • endangered species
    • protected area

    TARGET EU LEGISLATION

    • Directive 92/43 - Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora- Habitats Directive (21.05.1992)

    TARGET HABITAT TYPES

    • 0 - Non applicable (i.e.species project)

    SPECIES

    • Ursus arctos

    NATURA 2000 SITES

    Type Code Name
    SCI IT3120177 Dolomiti di Brenta

    BENEFICIARIES

    Name Type
    Ente Parco Adamello - Brenta Coordinator

    READ MORE

    Type Resource
    Brochure Progetto Orso
    Project web site Project web site
    Video feature Progetto Life Ursus - Una storia di uomini e orsi bruni