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The Wildlife Lodges Team visit the fabulous Abruzzo National Park in Italy.

Bears, Wolves, Appenine Chamois, lots of birds, reptiles, butterflies and meadows full of orchids and superb Alpine flowers.

 Abruzzo National Park: Abruzzo National Park
The Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo was established in 1923 to protect nature and to save certain wild animals from extinction. It’s in the heart of the central Apennines between Abruzzi, Lazio and Molise and its some 50,000 hectares are home to 25 picturesque mountain towns. The scenery of this fabulous park is characterized by spectacular mountains, Beech and Pine forests, rivers (including the Sangro River) and streams. These habitats are rich in flora and fauna and it is easy to spend a week or more exploring many of the walking trails that will get you close to nature. We visited in July which is not the best time to look for Bears and Wolf but we were succesful in finding one young male Marsican Bear. May and early June are probably the best times to look for the bear especially from the church at Gioia Vecchio which offers expansive views of the valley and surrounding hills. Early morning and evening viduals from this watchpoint at the right time of year are often succesful. During the summer months most of the bears move high into the mountains and because of this they are much harder to find. Several local wildlife tour operators in Pescasseroli offer trips that run in the evening to see the bears feeding in the high meadows. They readily feed on berries and because of this Cherry Trees are being grown in certain areas to help the bears feed and gain weight in the autumn ready for their winter hibernation. 

               Gioia Vecchio Church

Pescasseroli:
The small picturesque town of Pescasseroli is an ideal base to begin your search of this wonderful area. During the spring and early summer the meadows and fields are full of butterflies, and flowers with many species of orchid present. Several reptiles can be found and its the prime time to look for Marsican Bear. The small town has plenty of accommodation, small shops and a variety of restaurants, although you should be aware that the restaurants do not normally open until around 7.30 - 8.00pm which makes it akward when you may want to be out at this time of day looking for wildlife. 

The Wildlife:
The most sought after species here is the Marsican Brown Bear, a very localised and endangered subspecies of the Eurpean Brown Bear that exists on the brink of extinction. With just 30 - 50 remaining indivuduals its numbers have plumeted since the 1980's from around 100Marsican Brown Bear in Abruzzo National Park and desperate measures are needed to help preserve the worlds rarest subspecies of Brown Bear. In progress to 'Save the Marsican Bear'. The associating for the conservation of Marsican Brown Bear is an independant group passionate about ensuring this species does not become extinct. Helping greatly to safeguard the bears future is the conservation body ‘Salviamo l’ Orso’ an independant group passionate about ensuring this species does not become extinct.

This spectacular park also holds a wealth of other exciting wildlife including Golden Eagle, Apennine Wolf, Red Deer, Wild Boar, Beech Martin, European Otter and the subspecies of Pyrenean Chamois the Abruzzo Chamois. These and many other species have found refuge amongst remote valleys and the inaccessible mountains. During our stay we went in search of several of these very special species. The most notable being the Marsican Brown Bear. We based ourselves in the delightful town of Pescasseroli in the heart of Abruzzo National Park. Our first early morning exploration of the valley between Pescasseroli and Gioia Vecchio produced Wild Boar, Red Deer, Roe Deer, Brown Hare, Red Fox, Red Squirrel and good views of a Beech Martin. The highlight however was a young Marsican Brown Bear turning over rocks in search of food on a hillside close to the road. We were able to enjoy excellent close views for over half an hour before it disappeared over a ridge. The Eurasion Lynx also inhabits this wils Save the Bearsarea but is very seldom seen.
Click the logo above to visit Salviamo l'Orso

Amongst the others species you can see arReed Deer in Abruzzo National Parke:

 Mammals:

Marsican Brown Bear, Appenine Wolf, Beech Martin, Wild Boar, Crested Porcupine, Red Squirrel, Red and Roe Deer, Brown Hare, Red Fox, Red Squirrel, European Hedgehog, Weasel.

Reptlies and Amphibians:

The rare Orsini's Viper, Smooth Snake, Western Whip Snake, Asp Viper, Green Lizard, Italian Wall Lizard, Fire salamander, Spectacled Salamander, Yellow-bellied Toad and Italian Tree Frog.

Birds:

Golden Eagle, Goshawk, European Honey Buzzard, Little Owl, Lilford's White-backed Woodpecker, Hoopoe, Dipper, Alpine Chough, Rock Partridge, Alpine Accentor, Water Pipit, White-winged Snowfinch, Italian Sparrow, Wryneck, Rock Bunting and Red-backed Shrike, Woodlark, Eurasian Crag Martin, Western Bonelli's Warbler, Black Redstart, Firecrest, Collared Flycatcher, Red-billed Chough and Golden Oriole.Large Chequered Skipper in Abruzzo National Park

Butterflies:

Swallowtail, Scarce Swallowtail, Black-veined White, Large White, Small White, Orange Tip, Berger's Clouded Yellow, Clouded Yellow, Brimstone, Wood White, Green Hairstreak, Sooty Copper, Little Blue, Baton Blue, Brown Argus, Mazarine Blue, Turquoise Blue, Adonis Blue, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Queen of Spain Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Lesser Spotted Fritillary, Heath Fritillary, Marsh Fritillary, Small Heath, Speckled Wood, Wall Brown, Large Wall Brown, Grizzled Skipper.

Orchids:Orchid in Abruzzo National Park

Green-winged Orchid, White Helleborine, Sword-leaved Helleborine, Coralroot Orchid, Lady's Slipper Orchid, Common Spotted Orchid, Early Marsh Orchid, Elderflower Orchid, Dark Red Helleborine, Broad-leaved Helleborine, Fragrant Orchid, Adriatic Lizard Orchid, Toothed Orchid, Burnt Orchid, Bird's Nest Orchid, Bertoloni's Bee Orchid, Late Spider Orchid, Man Orchid, Early Purple Orchid, Early Purple Orchid, Military Orchid, Pale-flowered Orchid, Sparse Flowered Orchid, Lady Orchid, Lesser Butterfly Orchid, Greater Butterfly Orchid.

The above are just a selection of the wildlife on offer in this wonderful part of Italy. 

 

See our video of the fabulous Masican Bear - click the link here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JGa4FEY5OZE