Funding for this research was provided by:
PNALM (Research Project No. L00CGE11 – CUP C36C18000460005)
PNM (Research Project No. L00CGE11 – CUP C36C18000460005)
Regione Lazio (Research Project No. L00CGE18)
Received: 11 February 2021
Accepted: 28 July 2021
First Online: 18 August 2021
: The sampling location is not privately owned, and no specific permission is required for sample collection. The animals described herein are not to be considered as experimental animals as defined in EU directive 2010/63. Consequently, we did not seek ethical review or approval of this study regarding the use of experimental animals. We applied the principles of the non-disturbance of animals and the environment. The largest majority of the individual bears (<i>n</i> = 106) we included in our study were sampled non-invasively, which means by remotely obtaining biological samples (hairs, feces) without the need to capture and handle individual animals. A minority of bears (<i>n</i> = 6) were found dead, and their tissue samples were extracted from the carcasses, whereas the remaining bears (<i>n</i> = 12) were live-trapped for research purposes [CitationRef removed, CitationRef removed] and released on site after handling. Permits for bear capture were issued by the Ministry of the Environment (permit numbers: m_amte.PNM.REGISTRO UFFICIALE.U.5344.17-03-2014; 6270.28-03-2017; 12959.14-06-2018). Live-trapping and handling procedures reflected international guidelines [CitationRef removed] and were approved by the Italian Wildlife Management Authority (permit numbers: ISPRA Prot. n. 9050_27-02-2014; 13696_20-03-2017; 36172_31-05-2018). Apart from the above permits, ethical approval is not officially required by national regulations, namely national law 157/92, so no permissions were needed for this study specifically. In any case, the study abided by local policies and regulations. The methods applied in this study were carried out in strict accordance with the Nature and Sea Protection Directorate (DPNM, which belongs to the Ministry for the Ecological Transition) and the Italian Institute for Environmental Protection and Research (ISPRA). The study did not have humane endpoints.
: Not Applicable.
: The authors declare that they have no competing interests.