Habitat characteristics around dens in female brown bears with cubs are density dependent

Uzal Fernandez, A. ORCID: 0000-0001-6478-1895, Martinez-Artero, J., Ordiz, A., Zarzo-Arias, A. and Penteriani, V., 2022. Habitat characteristics around dens in female brown bears with cubs are density dependent. Mammal Research. ISSN 2199-2401

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The mechanisms determining habitat use in animal populations have important implications for population dynamics, conservation, and management. Here, we investigated how an increase in annual numbers of brown bear females with cubs of the year (FCOY) in a growing, yet threatened population, could explain differences in the habitat characteristics around reproductive dens. Habitat characteristics around FCOY dens were compared between a low bear density period (1995–2005) and a period when the population was increasing (2006–2016). We also compared the distance to the nearest breeding area and to all other breeding areas observed during the same year. The results suggested that during the second period, breeding areas were closer to rivers, fruit trees, and anthropogenic sources of disturbance (trails, highways) than in 1995–2005. There were also shorter distances to the closest neighboring breeding area, while the mean distance among FCOY breeding areas increased as the population grew and expanded at the landscape level. These changes may reflect that the best den locations were increasingly occupied (i.e., ideal-despotic distribution), and may be further explained by the avoidance of conspecifics by FCOY in a critical time of the year, when newborn cubs are most vulnerable. We suggest that both density-dependent factors and human-related features of the landscape are crucial to understanding long-term dynamics in the habitat use of a threatened species.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Mammal Research
Creators: Uzal Fernandez, A., Martinez-Artero, J., Ordiz, A., Zarzo-Arias, A. and Penteriani, V.
Publisher: Springer
Date: 27 May 2022
ISSN: 2199-2401
Rights: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 23 May 2022 10:41
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2022 09:19
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/46351

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