18th October 2016, M1.110 a sub-adult male Apennine brown bear was hit bay a car (or a truck) along a National Road running close to the Majella National Park. When the veterinary staff and the biologists of the MNP arrived he was still alive, its legs were abandoned on the asphalt without motion as if they were separated from the upper body. The severity of the spine injury was quite clear but still there was the hope that, maybe, it wasn’t so bad as it looked. Even though incapable of moving normally the bear was strongly trying to go away from people, toward the forest adjacent to the road where maybe he intended to find a refuge to recover. Something was weird in its movements, he was dragging himself using only the right front paw, the left one seemed to be injured as well. After being darted the bear fell asleep and was transported to a recovery center in the MNP. When he woke up the dawn was arriving and before midday M1.110 was lying dead on the cage floor, despite the veterinary staff did whatever was possible to try to save him. The radiography and the necropsy revealed that, as expected, the animal had several broken vertebrae and this, together with the consequent diffused hemorrhage, was the death cause. The left humerus had a two-months-old fracture, and several bullet fragments in the same bone revealed where the injury came from: the bear had been illegally shot two months before being hit by the car. M1.110 story was perhaps clear. He was shot some day in August by a person who was aiming to
the bear heart but failed, and reached the left humerus instead. The bear maybe swayed a little but managed to stay alive and flee. He lived two months with 3 good paws eating fruits and preparing for the winter denning but that fourth paw, maybe or maybe not, affected its capability to avoid a car at 4:00 a.m. of October the 18th. Its death told us a story, the story of the impact of human persecution and human-caused mortality in bear lives.
Giovanna Di Domenico
Majella National Park