(ANSA) – Pescara, September 10 - The Marsican brown bear, symbol of the central Italian Abruzzo region, will benefit from increased protection from being killed after a local tribunal shortened the hunting season in the central Italian region, the World Wildlife Fund said. The bear is in danger of becoming extinct also because local authorities in the past have placed the interests of local hunters over that of the species, permitting long hunting seasons, according to the WWF. The Marsican Brown Bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus), also known as the Apennine Brown Bear, is a subspecies of the Brown Bear and is highly at risk, according to animal activists. The Abruzzo region has a range of national parks and is considered to be one of the greenest in Europe. The wildlife activists slammed local political authorities for the extended hunting seasons introduced in the past four years. A local administrative court, the TAR, recently shortened the calendar by way of urgent injunction, limiting the risk the bear is exposed to, the WWF said. The local hunting season will now start on September 16. The Marsican Brown Bear lives in a range of mountains in the Abruzzo national parks. It is estimated there are as few as 30 specimens in existence today.