Animal Facts Marsican Brown Bear

Marsican brown bears are very rare and nearly extinct with only a few remaining in Italy’s Abruzzo National Park. In terms of size, this particular species is relatively large in size in comparison to other bears. They typically reach an adult weight of 485 pounds (220 kilograms) and a length of about 6 and a half feet (2 meters). Their coloring is commonly dark brown but can appear to range to a golden beige depending on the amount of sunlight that typically occurs in the area where they live. They most often live twenty to twenty-five years in the wild and can live thirty or more years in captivity where their survival is a great deal less threatened. 

Marsicans prefer wooded areas and are known to either make their habitats in one primary area or wander from place to place in search of food or for no particular reason as well. Although most prominently found in mostly desolate wooded areas, they can also be occasionally sighted in grasslands at high altitudes or in orchard or other agricultural areas near areas of civilization. However, these bears are primarily nocturnal so they are only rarely sighted, even if they are in the area, they are relatively dark in color, so it’s not the easiest to pick them out in an area of low light. 

Because of their large size, many people commonly classify these bears as meat eaters. They do eat meat, however, meat only makes up thirty to forty percent of their diet while sixty to seventy percent of their diet consists of plants and other vegetation. They typically ear various fruits, vegetables. mushrooms, and bulbs while occasionally feasting upon insects, eggs, honey, or large-sized mammals that they happen to encounter. They typically don’t search or hunt for large mammals, typically they just use them as a food source if they happen to show up in their area. They also will feed on carrion (dead animal carcass) in desperate situations, but this usually only happens if they are very hungry or on the brink of starvation. 

Marsican brown bears have typically low reproductive rates, which contributes to their overall scarcity. Cubs are typically born in December or January, during a period of maternal dormancy. Almost always one or two cubs are born at a time, rarely three, and next to never, four. Mothers take care of their cubs for two to three years and teach them what they need to know to live on their own.  During this period of time, the females do not have relations with males. 

It is estimated that there are only around fifty Marsican brown bears in existence in the wild in current times which puts them on the brink of extinction. Their survival is threatened for many reason, probably mostly due to increased human infiltration into their natural areas. They often get mistakenly poisoned, hunted, or hit by vehicles. Programs are in place to protect them but these efforts may not be enough to save them as time goes on.