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Den Entry Behavior in Scandinavian Brown Bears: Implications for Preventing Human Injuries.

Sahlén V, Friebe A, Sæbø S, Swenson JE, Støen OG - J. Wildl. Manage. (2015)

Bottom Line: Half of all bears significantly reduced their activity before arriving at the den area: on average 2,169 m away from the den and 1.8 days before arrival.The other half reduced their activity after arriving at the den area.Many people associate dens with an increased risk of a bear responding aggressively to disturbance to defend its den, but our results indicate that other behavioral, and possibly physiological, changes in this period also may be involved. © 2014 The Authors.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences PO Box 5003, Ås, NO-1432, Norway.

ABSTRACT

Encounters between Scandinavian brown bears (Ursus arctos) and humans that result in human injuries and fatalities typically coincide with den entry in October and November, and commonly occur near a den. Our aim was to determine when bears arrive at their dens, identify potential predictors of this event, document behavior and activity associated with this period, and attempt to explain the increased risk of bear-caused human injuries in this period. We analyzed global positioning system (GPS) location and activity data from brown bears in south-central Sweden, using generalized linear mixed models, statistical process control, and activity analyses. Bears arrived at their den sites between 6 October and 1 December. Timing varied by reproductive category, bear age, and year. Half of all bears significantly reduced their activity before arriving at the den area: on average 2,169 m away from the den and 1.8 days before arrival. The other half reduced their activity after arriving at the den area. The latter bears took longer time to reach hibernation activity levels, but we did not find a difference in the start date of hibernation between the 2 groups. Bears also appeared to be sensitive to disturbance in this period, with higher den abandonment rates than later in winter, particularly for males and for bears that had not visited their den sites previously. Den entry occurred from October to December, with high variability and poor predictability of its timing. Therefore, restricting hunting or other recreation activities to reduce risk of injury by bears and disturbing bears probably would be both impractical and ineffective. Our findings can be used to educate hunters about bear behavior at this time of year. Many people associate dens with an increased risk of a bear responding aggressively to disturbance to defend its den, but our results indicate that other behavioral, and possibly physiological, changes in this period also may be involved. © 2014 The Authors. The Journal of Wildlife Management published by The Wildlife Society.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Number of days spent within 150 m of the den (den area) in relation to age (years) of Scandinavian brown bears in south-central Sweden during 2004–2010.
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fig03: Number of days spent within 150 m of the den (den area) in relation to age (years) of Scandinavian brown bears in south-central Sweden during 2004–2010.

Mentions: The top model for the number of days spent in the den area prior to hibernation, and the only model with ΔAICc <2, included only age as a variable (Table4). Younger bears spent more time in the den area than older bears (Fig. 3). Age was the most influential variable according to the weights; all other variables had very little effect on time spent in the den area prior to hibernation.


Den Entry Behavior in Scandinavian Brown Bears: Implications for Preventing Human Injuries.

Sahlén V, Friebe A, Sæbø S, Swenson JE, Støen OG - J. Wildl. Manage. (2015)

Number of days spent within 150 m of the den (den area) in relation to age (years) of Scandinavian brown bears in south-central Sweden during 2004–2010.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4383655&req=5

fig03: Number of days spent within 150 m of the den (den area) in relation to age (years) of Scandinavian brown bears in south-central Sweden during 2004–2010.
Mentions: The top model for the number of days spent in the den area prior to hibernation, and the only model with ΔAICc <2, included only age as a variable (Table4). Younger bears spent more time in the den area than older bears (Fig. 3). Age was the most influential variable according to the weights; all other variables had very little effect on time spent in the den area prior to hibernation.

Bottom Line: Half of all bears significantly reduced their activity before arriving at the den area: on average 2,169 m away from the den and 1.8 days before arrival.The other half reduced their activity after arriving at the den area.Many people associate dens with an increased risk of a bear responding aggressively to disturbance to defend its den, but our results indicate that other behavioral, and possibly physiological, changes in this period also may be involved. © 2014 The Authors.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences PO Box 5003, Ås, NO-1432, Norway.

ABSTRACT

Encounters between Scandinavian brown bears (Ursus arctos) and humans that result in human injuries and fatalities typically coincide with den entry in October and November, and commonly occur near a den. Our aim was to determine when bears arrive at their dens, identify potential predictors of this event, document behavior and activity associated with this period, and attempt to explain the increased risk of bear-caused human injuries in this period. We analyzed global positioning system (GPS) location and activity data from brown bears in south-central Sweden, using generalized linear mixed models, statistical process control, and activity analyses. Bears arrived at their den sites between 6 October and 1 December. Timing varied by reproductive category, bear age, and year. Half of all bears significantly reduced their activity before arriving at the den area: on average 2,169 m away from the den and 1.8 days before arrival. The other half reduced their activity after arriving at the den area. The latter bears took longer time to reach hibernation activity levels, but we did not find a difference in the start date of hibernation between the 2 groups. Bears also appeared to be sensitive to disturbance in this period, with higher den abandonment rates than later in winter, particularly for males and for bears that had not visited their den sites previously. Den entry occurred from October to December, with high variability and poor predictability of its timing. Therefore, restricting hunting or other recreation activities to reduce risk of injury by bears and disturbing bears probably would be both impractical and ineffective. Our findings can be used to educate hunters about bear behavior at this time of year. Many people associate dens with an increased risk of a bear responding aggressively to disturbance to defend its den, but our results indicate that other behavioral, and possibly physiological, changes in this period also may be involved. © 2014 The Authors. The Journal of Wildlife Management published by The Wildlife Society.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus