My Neighbour is a Bear

"The most important habitat for bears is the human heart"

The star of the films - and extremely rare bear event... 4 cubs!

Thank you so much to our friends at The European Nature Trust for producing the most brilliant event last month!

Wild Abruzzo – a premiere film screening event – celebrated the untamed nature of Italy, while raising awareness of the world’s most threatened bear - the Marsican brown bear - and the Abruzzo region – the jewel of wild Italy.

Chris Morgan on stage at the event

Alongside inspiring talks, lively drinks and eco networking we watched two splendid short films - My Neighbour is a Bear and Path of the Bear. They were very different but both brilliant.

Italy’s Marsican brown bear is one of the rarest and most endangered bears in the world. A cousin of North America’s grizzly, it is a unique subspecies that became geographically isolated from other brown bears in Europe.

A Marsican brown bear

With a population of about 60 remaining individuals the species is at extremely high risk of extinction and is listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List. In 2015, the last population census revealed just 13 reproductively active females in the population.

Both of these brilliant films celebrated Italy's much loved bear population.

My Neighbour is a Bear

The European Nature Trust has supported the aspiring Italian documentary filmmaker, Mattia Cialoni. 'My Neighbour is a Bear', Mattia's debut documentary, brings an artful new perspective on human–wildlife coexistence.

The film follows the arrival of a mother bear – Amarena – with her four cubs, as she journeys down from the mountains of Abruzzo to the sun-strewn and cobbled streets of Villalago, a nearby village. ‘Have you seen the bear?’ the locals ask. ‘Yes, she had four little cubs with her,’ one replies, chuckling in the golden Mediterranean sunlight.

The Abruzzo region

‘I noticed that the village itself was a character. Everyone spoke of the bear as their ‘neighbour’,’ says Mattia. ‘It was a special relationship that I had never seen before, and I wanted to tell this story of coexistence’. He discovered an ancient, but ever-present kinship between the bears of Abruzzo and the local villages – one that has been forgotten in many parts of the world. ‘The bear here is actually not just an ambassador for the region, but for Italy itself.’

Path of the Bear

In a world from ancient times, wild brown bears have coexisted with humans for 6000 years in the mountains of Italy, two hours from Rome. Bear expert Chris Morgan travels from the Colosseum to the wilderness meeting conservationists and locals on the frontline with one of the world’s rarest bears. Currently in film festival circuit and premiering at select screenings.

Chris Morgan is a British-American ecologist, conservationist, filmmaker, TV host and podcaster (PBS, BBC, Nat Geo, NPR). His stories from 6 continents have reached hundreds of millions of people worldwide as part of his mission to connect listeners to nature and to help conserve our beautiful planet. He said -

Chris Morgan in Path of the Bear

"Bears are not just incredible creatures that fill us with awe…..around the world they are powerful indicators of the healthy, wild places we ALL need, including clean water and air, intact ecosystems, and forests that absorb carbon from the atmosphere. So protecting Italy’s Marsican brown bears is an exciting opportunity and lesson for the world. Plus, they live just two hours from Rome, so they also show us that it’s not just possible to coexist with these big carnivores, but it’s an exciting and smart thing to work on. After all these bears have been coexisting with humans in the middle of Italy for 6000 years! Remember: the human and bear worlds are intricately connected, and what’s good for them is good for us."