Publications by authors named "P Ciucci"

11 Publications

Cost of Coexisting with a Relict Large Carnivore Population: Impact of Apennine Brown Bears, 2005-2015.

Animals (Basel) 2021 May 19;11(5). Epub 2021 May 19.

Department of Biology and Biotechnologies, University of Rome La Sapienza, 00185 Rome, Italy.

Human-carnivore conflicts are a major conservation issue. As bears are expanding their range in Europe's human-modified landscapes, it is increasingly important to understand, prevent, and address human-bear conflicts and evaluate mitigation strategies in areas of historical coexistence. Based on verified claims, we assessed costs, patterns, and drivers of bear damages in the relict Apennine brown bear population in the Abruzzo Lazio and Molise National Park (PNALM), central Italy. During 2005-2015, 203 ± 71 (SD) damage events were verified annually, equivalent to 75,987 ± 30,038 €/year paid for compensation. Most damages occurred in summer and fall, with livestock depredation, especially sheep and cattle calves, prevailing over other types of damages, with apiaries ranking second in costs of compensation. Transhumant livestock owners were less impacted than residential ones, and farms that adopted prevention measures loaned from the PNALM were less susceptible to bear damages. Livestock farms chronically damaged by bears represented 8 ± 3% of those annually impacted, corresponding to 24 ± 6% of compensation costs. Further improvements in the conflict mitigation policy adopted by the PNALM include integrated prevention, conditional compensation, and participatory processes. We discuss the implications of our study for Human-bear coexistence in broader contexts.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ani11051453DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8158715PMC
May 2021

A deepening understanding of animal culture suggests lessons for conservation.

Proc Biol Sci 2021 04 21;288(1949):20202718. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Sea Mammal Research Unit, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews KY16 8LB, UK.

A key goal of conservation is to protect biodiversity by supporting the long-term persistence of viable, natural populations of wild species. Conservation practice has long been guided by genetic, ecological and demographic indicators of risk. Emerging evidence of animal culture across diverse taxa and its role as a driver of evolutionary diversification, population structure and demographic processes may be essential for augmenting these conventional conservation approaches and decision-making. Animal culture was the focus of a ground-breaking resolution under the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), an international treaty operating under the UN Environment Programme. Here, we synthesize existing evidence to demonstrate how social learning and animal culture interact with processes important to conservation management. Specifically, we explore how social learning might influence population viability and be an important resource in response to anthropogenic change, and provide examples of how it can result in phenotypically distinct units with different, socially learnt behavioural strategies. While identifying culture and social learning can be challenging, indirect identification and parsimonious inferences may be informative. Finally, we identify relevant methodologies and provide a framework for viewing behavioural data through a cultural lens which might provide new insights for conservation management.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2020.2718DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8059593PMC
April 2021

Developmental instability and phenotypic evolution in a small and isolated bear population.

Biol Lett 2021 04 21;17(4):20200729. Epub 2021 Apr 21.

Research Institute on Terrestrial Ecosystems, National Research Council, 00015 Montelibretti, Rome, Italy.

We explored fluctuating asymmetry (FA) and morphological integration (MI) in the skull of the small, highly inbred and divergent Apennine bear (), to explore its uniqueness and investigate any potential effects of inbreeding depression. We used 3D geometric morphometrics contrasting Apennine bears with other two large outbred bear populations from Scandinavia and Kamchatka as controls. Shape divergence and variability were explored by a principal component analysis on aligned coordinates of 39 landmarks. Procrustes ANOVA, morphological disparity and the global integration index were used to explore FA, shape variance and MI. By remarking Apennine bears as a highly divergent phenotype, we recorded the highest FA and deviation from self-similarity compared with the other two control populations. We conclude that Apennine bears are likely facing developmental instability as a consequence of inbreeding depression, whereas the divergent trait covariance pattern may represent a potential source of evolutionary novelties. We discuss the implications for the conservation and management of this imperiled taxon.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2020.0729DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8086926PMC
April 2021

Correlates of parasites and pseudoparasites in wolves () across continents: A comparison among Yellowstone (USA), Abruzzo (IT) and Mercantour (FR) national parks.

Int J Parasitol Parasites Wildl 2019 Dec 12;10:196-206. Epub 2019 Sep 12.

Institute of Biology, University of Neuchâtel, Rue Emile-Argand 11, CH-2000, Neuchâtel, Switzerland.

Little is known about the impact of infectious diseases on large carnivores. We investigated factors structuring the helminth and protozoan infections of wolves () by using coprological analyses. Faecal samples (n = 342) were analysed from 11 wolf packs belonging to three different geographical and ecological settings in Italy (Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise National Park, PNALM: 4 packs, 88 samples), in France (Mercantour National Park, PNM: 4 packs, 68 samples) and in the U.S.A. (Yellowstone National Park, YNP: 3 packs, 186 samples). Parasites were found in 29.4%-88.6% of the samples and parasite taxa ranged from four to ten in each study area. Taeniidae (), spp and were most common in faecal samples from YNP, whereas spp., Taeniidae and were predominant in PNALM. We used generalised linear mixed models to assess the relationship between parasite infection or the number of parasite taxa and selected ecological drivers across study areas. Significant effects illustrated the importance of the ecological factors such as occurrence of free-ranging dogs, diet composition and wolf density, as well as the ancestry of the wolf populations, in shaping parasite-wolf communities. Additional investigations are needed to elucidate the impact of parasitic infections on wolf populations, as well as the role of anthropogenic factors in facilitating parasitic diffusion to apex predators.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijppaw.2019.09.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6812024PMC
December 2019

Brown bear attacks on humans: a worldwide perspective.

Sci Rep 2019 06 12;9(1):8573. Epub 2019 Jun 12.

Forest Research Institute Karelian Research Centre Russian Academy of Sciences, Petrozavodsk, Russian Federation.

The increasing trend of large carnivore attacks on humans not only raises human safety concerns but may also undermine large carnivore conservation efforts. Although rare, attacks by brown bears Ursus arctos are also on the rise and, although several studies have addressed this issue at local scales, information is lacking on a worldwide scale. Here, we investigated brown bear attacks (n = 664) on humans between 2000 and 2015 across most of the range inhabited by the species: North America (n = 183), Europe (n = 291), and East (n = 190). When the attacks occurred, half of the people were engaged in leisure activities and the main scenario was an encounter with a female with cubs. Attacks have increased significantly over time and were more frequent at high bear and low human population densities. There was no significant difference in the number of attacks between continents or between countries with different hunting practices. Understanding global patterns of bear attacks can help reduce dangerous encounters and, consequently, is crucial for informing wildlife managers and the public about appropriate measures to reduce this kind of conflicts in bear country.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-44341-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6562097PMC
June 2019