The bear in Europe is known to be an endangered animal. In much of Western Europe the bears only survive in mountains which people use less. While in Eastern Europe in countries like Romania they exist across much of the landscape, in Western Europe they only inhabit small pockets.
The problem with small pockets of land that is inhabited by a large predator is that large predators need a significant amount of space. As such, if they are living in a small pocket of usable habitat, the number of bears that can exist there will be low. So in the four western countries of mainland Europe, including France, Italy, Spain and Portugal there are only thought to be four populations of bears. These exist in the French Alps, in the French Pyrenees and across the Border in Spain, in the Cantabrian mountains in central northern Spain and the Apennine mountains of northern Italy.
This sad news deals with the Marsican bears of the Apennine mountains in Italy. This population only numbers about 50 animals. While this is far more healthy a population than the Alps bears it is not a big number, so it is a particularly sad news that three Marsican bears have recently been found drowned in a water tank; they had fallen in but there was no way for them to climb out. They consisted of a mother and her two cubs. As you can imagine in a population this small there will not be many breeding mothers so the loss of one of these few females at the right age is a big hit to the population.