Ensuring rewilding success in practice: a case study on the Marsican brown bear

We are looking for an enthusiastic student with passion for wildlife, fieldwork, and practical interventions for rewilding policies. We propose a study to test the efficiency of preventive measures for conflict management between Marsican brown bears (Ursus arctos marsicanus) and people in the Italian central Apennines. Proposed hypothesis to test could be:

a) Fencing of livestock and honey beehives reduce damage by bears on human activities. This results in higher tolerance by locals toward Marsican bear protection.

b) Pruned apple trees produce higher fruits biomass than wild apple trees. Pruned trees are abundant outside villages, and attract bears to feed on them. Pruning apple trees in the wild is an efficient measure to improve food resources for bears away from towns and potentially prevent human-bears conflict thus to protect Marsican bear population.

Alternative hypotheses are welcome!

Selected candidate will be offered to spend a period in the Italian central Apennines, collecting field data in the fascinating wild-rural landscape of the ´Parco nazionale di Lazio, Abruzzo e Molise´ (http://www.parcoabruzzo.it/Eindex.php). Tentative period for this project is summer/fall current year, during apples maturity on trees. Local host is ´Salviamo l´Orso´ (https://www.salviamolorso.it/en/), partner organization of the ´Rewilding Europe´ network (https://rewildingeurope.com/). Local supervisor in the project has high-level preparation in wildlife ecology, high experience in the field, and speaks fluent English. Selected candidate will work with him and other members of ´Salviamo l´Orso´ in practical activities such as fencing, camera trapping, and censing apple trees production, with daily occasions to spot animals in the wild. Selected candidate will also be offered preparation on rewilding policies and about the prevention of conflict between humans and large wild animals. We also prospect the possibility to publish candidate´s results on an international peer-review ecological journal.   


Supervisor: Jens-Christian Svenning

Co-supervisor: Marco Davoli

The project proposal has been submitted 12.04.2021.