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Sample records for bears ursus arctos

  1. First report of Taenia arctos (Cestoda: Taeniidae) from grizzly (Ursus arctos horribilis) and black bears (Ursus americanus) in North America.

    PubMed

    Catalano, Stefano; Lejeune, Manigandan; Verocai, Guilherme G; Duignan, Pádraig J

    2014-04-01

    The cestode Taenia arctos was found at necropsy in the small intestine of a grizzly (Ursus arctos horribilis) and a black bear (Ursus americanus) from Kananaskis Country in southwestern Alberta, Canada. The autolysis of the tapeworm specimens precluded detailed morphological characterization of the parasites but molecular analysis based on mitochondrial DNA cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene confirmed their identity as T. arctos. This is the first report of T. arctos from definitive hosts in North America. Its detection in Canadian grizzly and black bears further supports the Holarctic distribution of this tapeworm species and its specificity for ursids as final hosts. Previously, T. arctos was unambiguously described at its adult stage in brown bears (Ursus arctos arctos) from Finland, and as larval stages in Eurasian elk (Alces alces) from Finland and moose (Alces americanus) from Alaska, USA. Given the morphological similarity between T. arctos and other Taenia species, the present study underlines the potential for misidentification of tapeworm taxa in previous parasitological reports from bears and moose across North America. The biogeographical history of both definitive and intermediate hosts in the Holarctic suggests an ancient interaction between U. arctos, Alces spp., and T. arctos, and a relatively recent host-switching event in U. americanus. PMID:24382413

  2. Genetic relationships of extant brown bears (Ursus arctos) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Cronin, Matthew A; MacNeil, Michael D

    2012-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and brown bears (Ursus arctos) are closely related species for which extensive mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenetic comparisons have been made. We used previously published genotype data for 8 microsatellite DNA loci from 930 brown bears in 19 populations and 473 polar bears in 16 populations to compare the population genetic relationships of extant populations of the species. Genetic distances (Nei standard distance = 1.157), the proportion of private alleles (52% of alleles are not shared by the species), and Bayesian cluster analysis are consistent with morphological and life-history characteristics that distinguish polar bears and brown bears as different species with little or no gene flow among extant populations. PMID:23125409

  3. MEDULLOBLASTOMA IN A GRIZZLY BEAR (URSUS ARCTOS HORRIBLIS).

    PubMed

    Mitchell, Jeffrey W; Thomovsky, Stephanie A; Chen, Annie V; Layton, Arthur W; Haldorson, Gary; Tucker, Russell L; Roberts, Gregory

    2015-09-01

    A 3-yr-old female spayed grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) was evaluated for seizure activity along with lethargy, inappetence, dull mentation, and aggressive behavior. Magnetic resonance (MR) examination of the brain revealed a contrast-enhanced right cerebellar mass with multifocal smaller nodules located in the left cerebellum, thalamus, hippocampus, and cerebrum with resultant obstructive hydrocephalus. Cerebrospinal fluid analysis revealed mild mononuclear pleocytosis, with differentials including inflammatory versus neoplastic processes. Blood and cerebrospinal fluid were also submitted for polymerase chain reaction and agar gel immunodiffusion to rule out infectious causes of meningitis/encephalitis. While awaiting these results, the bear was placed on steroid and antibiotic therapy. Over the next week, the bear deteriorated; she died 1 wk after MR. A complete postmortem examination, including immunohistochemisty, revealed the cerebellar mass to be a medulloblastoma. This is the only case report, to the authors' knowledge, describing a medulloblastoma in a grizzly bear. PMID:26352975

  4. Acquired arteriovenous fistula in a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis).

    PubMed

    Tuttle, Allison D; MacLean, Robert A; Linder, Keith; Cullen, John M; Wolfe, Barbara A; Loomis, Michael

    2009-03-01

    A captive adult male grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) was evaluated due to multifocal wounds of the skin and subcutaneous tissues sustained as a result of trauma from another grizzly bear. On presentation, one lesion that was located in the perineal region seemed to be a deep puncture with purple tissue protruding from it. This perineal wound did not heal in the same manner or rate as did the other wounds. Twenty-five days after initial detection, substantial active hemorrhage from the lesion occurred and necessitated anesthesia for examination of the bear. The entire lesion was surgically excised, which later proved curative. An acquired arteriovenous fistula was diagnosed via histopathology. Arteriovenous fistulas can develop after traumatic injury and should be considered as a potential complication in bears with nonhealing wounds. PMID:19368261

  5. Disseminated pleomorphic myofibrosarcoma in a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis).

    PubMed

    Mete, A; Woods, L; Famini, D; Anderson, M

    2012-01-01

    The pathological and diagnostic features of a widely disseminated pleomorphic high-grade myofibroblastic sarcoma are described in a 23-year-old male brown bear (Ursus arctos horribilis). Firm, solid, white to tan neoplastic nodules, often with cavitated or soft grey-red necrotic centres, were observed throughout most internal organs, subcutaneous tissues and skeletal muscles on gross examination. Microscopically, the tumour consisted of pleomorphic spindle cells forming interlacing fascicles with a focal storiform pattern with large numbers of bizarre polygonal multinucleate cells, frequently within a collagenous stroma. Immunohistochemistry, Masson's trichrome stain and transmission electron microscopy designated the myofibroblast as the cell of origin. This is the first case of a high-grade myofibrosarcoma in a grizzly bear. PMID:22297075

  6. Clostridium sordellii in a brown bear (Ursus arctos) from Spain.

    PubMed

    Balseiro, Ana; Oleaga, Álvaro; Polledo, Laura; Aduriz, Gorka; Atxaerandio, Raquel; Kortabarria, Nekane; Marín, Juan F García

    2013-10-01

    Clostridium sordellii is found in the environment and occasionally in animal (including human) intestines and may cause myonecrosis and large outbreaks of enterotoxemia. A few cases of fatal clostridial infection in bears (Ursus spp.) have been described worldwide but none attributed to C. sordellii. We describe a fatal case of septicemia caused by C. sordellii in an illegally trapped brown bear (Ursus arctos). At necropsy, acute gangrenous myositis was the primary lesion. Serohemorrhagic edema was observed in the abdominal cavity, thorax, pericardium, and skeletal muscle, mostly affecting femoral, humeral, and scapular muscles. Hemorrhage was observed in the heart, skeletal muscles, stomach, and intestine. Liver, spleen, and kidney appeared with loss of consistency, hemorrhages, and edema. Microscopically, primary lesions were in skeletal muscle, stomach, and small intestine, with gram-positive, clostridial-like bacilli. Biochemical and molecular tests identified C. sordellii in cultures from liver, muscle, and intestine. Sequences showed a homology of >99% with the 16S rRNA gene sequence of C. sordellii. The severity of effects of the C. sordellii infection reveal the importance of this pathogen as a wildlife health risk with conservation concerns, as well as the need to consider possible infection with this pathogen in management actions involving immobilization, stress, or severe muscular activity of wild brown bears. PMID:24502739

  7. Cardiac function adaptations in hibernating grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis).

    PubMed

    Nelson, O Lynne; Robbins, Charles T

    2010-03-01

    Research on the cardiovascular physiology of hibernating mammals may provide insight into evolutionary adaptations; however, anesthesia used to handle wild animals may affect the cardiovascular parameters of interest. To overcome these potential biases, we investigated the functional cardiac phenotype of the hibernating grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) during the active, transitional and hibernating phases over a 4 year period in conscious rather than anesthetized bears. The bears were captive born and serially studied from the age of 5 months to 4 years. Heart rate was significantly different from active (82.6 +/- 7.7 beats/min) to hibernating states (17.8 +/- 2.8 beats/min). There was no difference from the active to the hibernating state in diastolic and stroke volume parameters or in left atrial area. Left ventricular volume:mass was significantly increased during hibernation indicating decreased ventricular mass. Ejection fraction of the left ventricle was not different between active and hibernating states. In contrast, total left atrial emptying fraction was significantly reduced during hibernation (17.8 +/- 2.8%) as compared to the active state (40.8 +/- 1.9%). Reduced atrial chamber function was also supported by reduced atrial contraction blood flow velocities and atrial contraction ejection fraction during hibernation; 7.1 +/- 2.8% as compared to 20.7 +/- 3% during the active state. Changes in the diastolic cardiac filling cycle, especially atrial chamber contribution to ventricular filling, appear to be the most prominent macroscopic functional change during hibernation. Thus, we propose that these changes in atrial chamber function constitute a major adaptation during hibernation which allows the myocardium to conserve energy, avoid chamber dilation and remain healthy during a period of extremely low heart rates. These findings will aid in rational approaches to identifying underlying molecular mechanisms. PMID:19940994

  8. Use of ungulates by Yellowstone grizzly bears Ursus arctos

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, D.J.

    1997-01-01

    Previous results of fecal analysis from the Yellowstone area and the known abilities of grizzly bears Ursus arctos to acquire and digest tissue from vertebrates suggested that grizzlies in this ecosystem obtained substantial energy from ungulates. This issue was addressed using observations from radio-marked grizzly bears, 1977a??1992. Ungulates potentially contributed the majority of energy required for activity during the non-denning season for both adult female and male grizzlies. Most of this energy (95%) was estimated to come from the largest-bodied ungulate species (elk Cervus elaphus, bison Bison bison, and moose Alces alces), with greatest proportional contributions by scavenged adult male bison (16%), scavenged calf and yearling elk (10%) and adult female elk that were killed (8%) or scavenged (8%). Grizzlies acquired 30% of total edibles from ungulates by predation, of which 13% (or 4% of the total) came from predation on elk calves. Most scavenging occurred during the spring and was associated with the abundance and relative availability of different types of carrion. Predation and scavenging did not appear to be compensatory. Rather, total consumption of ungulates varied inversely with consumption of whitebark pine Pinus albicaulis seeds. The relative frequency of predation to scavenging increased with ungulate density. Contrary to previous suppositions, neither total ungulate use nor frequency of predation increased during the study, despite large increases in some ungulate populations. As expected by the identified trade-offs, Yellowstone grizzlies seemed to prey selectively upon moose, probably because of their solitary habits and forested surroundings, but otherwise favored vulnerable smaller-bodied ungulates such as elk calves. No predation on adult bison was observed.

  9. Cub adoption by brown bears (Ursus arctos middendorffi) on Kodiak Island, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barnes, V., Jr.; Smith, R.

    1993-01-01

    We report three cases where female Brown Bears (Ursus arctos middendorffi) with new (1 winter season. The adoptions occurred in a sampling of 104 litters produced by 89 different females on Kodiak Island, Alaska during 1982-1990. A maximum of six cubs were reared from litters that probably would have produced 3-4 subadults if the adoptions had not taken place.

  10. Congenital Tracheal Web Malformation in a Wild Brown Bear ( Ursus arctos ), Sweden, 2010.

    PubMed

    Ågren, Erik O; Söderberg, Arne

    2016-04-28

    We describe a congenital tracheal web malformation in a wild female brown bear (Ursus arctos) yearling that was euthanized after being hit by a train in Norrbotten County, Sweden, December 2010. A 3-cm-long, abnormal, longitudinal mucosal fold divided the trachea into two halves, without obviously blocking the airflow. PMID:27054473

  11. Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) and black bears (Ursus americanus) prevent trabecular bone loss during disuse (hibernation).

    PubMed

    McGee-Lawrence, Meghan E; Wojda, Samantha J; Barlow, Lindsay N; Drummer, Thomas D; Castillo, Alesha B; Kennedy, Oran; Condon, Keith W; Auger, Janene; Black, Hal L; Nelson, O Lynne; Robbins, Charles T; Donahue, Seth W

    2009-12-01

    Disuse typically causes an imbalance in bone formation and bone resorption, leading to losses of cortical and trabecular bone. In contrast, bears maintain balanced intracortical remodeling and prevent cortical bone loss during disuse (hibernation). Trabecular bone, however, is more detrimentally affected than cortical bone in other animal models of disuse. Here we investigated the effects of hibernation on bone remodeling, architectural properties, and mineral density of grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) and black bear (Ursus americanus) trabecular bone in several skeletal locations. There were no differences in bone volume fraction or tissue mineral density between hibernating and active bears or between pre- and post-hibernation bears in the ilium, distal femur, or calcaneus. Though indices of cellular activity level (mineral apposition rate, osteoid thickness) decreased, trabecular bone resorption and formation indices remained balanced in hibernating grizzly bears. These data suggest that bears prevent bone loss during disuse by maintaining a balance between bone formation and bone resorption, which consequently preserves bone structure and strength. Further investigation of bone metabolism in hibernating bears may lead to the translation of mechanisms preventing disuse-induced bone loss in bears into novel treatments for osteoporosis. PMID:19703606

  12. Radiocarbon dates on cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) and brown bear (Ursus arctos) from Late Pleistocene of Poland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nadachowski, Adam; Lipecki, Grzegorz; Stefaniak, Krzysztof; Wojtal, Piotr

    2010-05-01

    Although cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) is far more abundant in last glacial in Europe than brown bear (Ursus arctos), the co-occurrence of both species during Oxygen Isotope Stage 3 (OIS 3) is not questioned. The cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) has been an important part of the European large mammal fauna of last glaciation. Most of the remains come from karst areas where larger caves were used as hibernation sites. In Poland caves occur in the Sudetes Mts, Kraków-Częstochowa Upland, Świętokrzyskie Mts and in the Carpathians (especially in Tatra and Pieniny Mts). The AMS 14C dates were obtained for 14 sites (23 dates) distributed in all karst areas of Poland. All samples dated in Poznań Radiocarbon Laboratory (Poz) were subject of pre-treatment procedures (ultrafiltration and removal of consolidants). Dates are given as an uncalibrated radiocarbon dates (BP) and as calendar dates (cal. BP). The Eastern Sudetes sites are represented by two cave bear remains from Niedźwiedzia Cave, Kletno. Most of samples come from several localities located in different parts of Kraków-Częstochowa Upland (Nietoperzowa, Mamutowa, Ciemna, Wylotne and Zawalona caves - all near Kraków; Komarowa, Deszczowa, Stajnia and Niedźwiedzia near Olsztyn caves - all from the middle part of the Upland). Raj Cave is located in Świętokrzyskie Mts. The Carpathians samples come from two caves in Tatra Mts: Magurska and Poszukiwaczy Skarbów. Results obtained suggest that in the early part of OIS 3, ca. 50-33 ka (ca. 54-37,5 cal. ka), when the climate was relatively stable and warm, cave bears occurred probably more or less continuously from Sudetes Mts to Kraków-Częstochowa Upland and in the Carpathians. The available 18 dates range from >52,000 BP (Poz-24205) to 33,000±400 BP (Poz-23655) (cal. 38,571±1,449 BP). Around 33 ka BP (cal. 38,5 ka BP) cave bears probably disappeared, or at least reduced their number, in the area north from Sudetes and the Carpathians for next ca. 4-5 millennia

  13. Interactions of Brown Bears, Ursus arctos, and Gray Wolves, Canis lupus, at Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, T.S.; Partridge, S.T.; Schoen, J.W.

    2004-01-01

    We describe several encounters between Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) and Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) that were observed at Katmai National Park and Preserve in southwest Alaska. Katmai Brown Bears and Gray Wolves were observed interacting in a variety of behavioral modes that ranged from agonistic to tolerant. These observations provide additional insight regarding the behavioral plasticity associated with bear-wolf interactions.

  14. Chewing lice Trichodectes pinguis pinguis in Scandinavian brown bears (Ursus arctos).

    PubMed

    Esteruelas, Núria Fandos; Malmsten, Jonas; Bröjer, Caroline; Grandi, Giulio; Lindström, Anders; Brown, Paul; Swenson, Jon E; Evans, Alina L; Arnemo, Jon M

    2016-08-01

    In April 2014 and 2015, we noted localized alopecia (neck, forelimbs, and chest) and hyperpigmentation on two adult brown bears (Ursus arctos) captured in central-south Sweden for ecological studies under the Scandinavian Brown Bear Research Project. In spring 2015, a brown bear was shot because of human-wildlife conflict in the same region. This bear also had extensive alopecia and hyperpigmentation. Ectoparasites were collected from the affected skin areas in all three individuals and preserved in ethanol for identification. Based on morphological characteristics, the lice were identified as Trichodectes spp. and Trichodectes pinguis pinguis. To our knowledge, these are the first reported cases of chewing lice in free-ranging brown bears in Scandinavia. PMID:27330984

  15. Exertional myopathy in a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) captured by leghold snare.

    PubMed

    Cattet, Marc; Stenhouse, Gordon; Bollinger, Trent

    2008-10-01

    We diagnosed exertional myopathy (EM) in a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) that died approximately 10 days after capture by leghold snare in west-central Alberta, Canada, in June 2003. The diagnosis was based on history, post-capture movement data, gross necropsy, histopathology, and serum enzyme levels. We were unable to determine whether EM was the primary cause of death because autolysis precluded accurate evaluation of all tissues. Nevertheless, comparison of serum aspartate aminotransferase and creatine kinase concentrations and survival between the affected bear and other grizzly bears captured by leghold snare in the same research project suggests EM also occurred in other bears, but that it is not generally a cause of mortality. We propose, however, occurrence of nonfatal EM in grizzly bears after capture by leghold snare has potential implications for use of this capture method, including negative effects on wildlife welfare and research data. PMID:18957653

  16. The "bear" essentials: actualistic research on Ursus arctos arctos in the Spanish Pyrenees and its implications for paleontology and archaeology.

    PubMed

    Arilla, Maite; Rosell, Jordi; Blasco, Ruth; Domínguez-Rodrigo, Manuel; Pickering, Travis Rayne

    2014-01-01

    Neotaphonomic studies of large carnivores are used to create models in order to explain the formation of terrestrial vertebrate fossil faunas. The research reported here adds to the growing body of knowledge on the taphonomic consequences of large carnivore behavior in temperate habitats and has important implications for paleontology and archaeology. Using photo- and videotrap data, we were able to describe the consumption of 17 ungulate carcasses by wild brown bears (Ursus arctos arctos) ranging the Spanish Pyrenees. Further, we analyzed the taphonomic impact of these feeding bouts on the bones recovered from those carcasses. The general sequence of consumption that we charted starts with separation of a carcass's trunk; viscera are generally eaten first, followed by musculature of the humerus and femur. Long limb bones are not broken open for marrow extraction. Bears did not transport carcasses or carcass parts from points of feeding and did not disperse bones appreciably (if at all) from their anatomical positions. The general pattern of damage that resulted from bear feeding includes fracturing, peeling, crenulation, tooth pitting and scoring of axial and girdle elements and furrowing of the upper long limb bones. As predicted from observational data, the taphonomic consequences of bear feeding resemble those of other non-durophagus carnivores, such as felids, and are distinct from those of durophagus carnivores, such as hyenids. Our results have paleontological and archaeological relevance. Specifically, they may prove useful in building analogical models for interpreting the formation of fossil faunas for which bears are suspected bone accumulators and/or modifiers. More generally, our comparative statistical analyses draw precise quantitative distinctions between bone damage patterns imparted respectively by durophagus (modelled here primarily by spotted hyenas [Crocuta crocuta] and wolves [Canis lupus]) and non-durophagus (modelled here by brown bears and

  17. Complete Genome Sequence of a Rabies Virus Strain Isolated from a Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) in Primorsky Krai, Russia (November 2014)

    PubMed Central

    Deviatkin, Andrei A.; Ananiev, Vasily Y.; Dedkov, Vladimir G.; Shipulin, German A.; Sokol, Nataliya N.; Dombrovskaya, Irina E.; Galkina, Irina V.; Shmelev, Mikhail E.; Gorelikov, Vladimir N.; Kozhan, Valentina N.; Prosyannikova, Marina N.; Aramilev, Sergei V.; Fomenko, Pavel V.

    2016-01-01

    We report here the complete genome sequence (GenBank KP997032) of rabies virus strain RABV/Ursus arctos/Russia/Primorye/PO-01/2014, isolated in November 2014 from a brown bear (Ursus arctos) that attacked a person in Primorsky Krai (Russian Federation). This strain was clustered into the Eurasian genetic subgroup of genotype 1 (street rage). PMID:27389270

  18. Complete Genome Sequence of a Rabies Virus Strain Isolated from a Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) in Primorsky Krai, Russia (November 2014).

    PubMed

    Shchelkanov, Michael Y; Deviatkin, Andrei A; Ananiev, Vasily Y; Dedkov, Vladimir G; Shipulin, German A; Sokol, Nataliya N; Dombrovskaya, Irina E; Galkina, Irina V; Shmelev, Mikhail E; Gorelikov, Vladimir N; Kozhan, Valentina N; Prosyannikova, Marina N; Aramilev, Sergei V; Fomenko, Pavel V

    2016-01-01

    We report here the complete genome sequence (GenBank KP997032) of rabies virus strain RABV/Ursus arctos/Russia/Primorye/PO-01/2014, isolated in November 2014 from a brown bear (Ursus arctos) that attacked a person in Primorsky Krai (Russian Federation). This strain was clustered into the Eurasian genetic subgroup of genotype 1 (street rage). PMID:27389270

  19. Long-Term Macroevaluation of Environmental Enrichment in Three Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) at Barcelona Zoo.

    PubMed

    Soriano, Ana I; Vinyoles, Dolors; Maté, Carmen

    2016-01-01

    The evaluation of enrichment programs is important to determine their effect on nonhuman animal welfare. The daily activity pattern and use of space of 3 brown bears (Ursus arctos) were used for long-term macroevaluation of enrichment to compare the baseline and enrichment phases. Focal sampling methods were used for data collection, and instantaneous scans were made at 2-min intervals during 15 sessions of 1 hr for each animal during the 2 study periods. The enrichment devices were categorized as feeding, occupational, and sensorial. The long-term macroevaluation in 3 bears showed statistically significant differences in some types of activity but not in others. There were also statistically significant differences for the use of space in 4 of the 8 zones in which the enclosures were divided. A more homogenous pattern in the use of space was only observed during the enrichment phase in the old female. The 3 brown bears followed different patterns concerning the enrichment program. PMID:26709627

  20. Phylogeography of brown bears (Ursus arctos) of Alaska and paraphyly within the Ursidae.

    PubMed

    Talbot, S L; Shields, G F

    1996-06-01

    Complete nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b, tRNA(prolime), and tRNA(threonine) genes were described for 166 brown bears (Ursus arctos) from 10 geographic regions of Alaska to describe natural genetic variation, construct a molecular phylogeny, and evaluate classical taxonomies. DNA sequences of brown bears were compared to homologous sequences of the polar bear (maritimus) and of the sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), which was used as an outgroup. Parsimony and neighbor-joining methods each produced essentially identical phylogenetic trees that suggest two distinct clades of mtDNA for brown bears in Alaska: one composed only of bears that now reside on some of the islands of southeastern Alaska and the other which includes bears from all other regions of Alaska. The very close relationship of the polar bear to brown bears of the islands of southeastern Alaska as previously reported by us and the paraphyletic association of polar bears to brown bears reported by others have been reaffirmed with this much larger data set. A weak correlation is suggested between types of mtDNA and habitat preference by brown bears in Alaska. Our mtDNA data support some, but not all, of the currently designated subspecies of brown bears whose descriptions have been based essentially on morphology. PMID:8744762

  1. Salvaging urospermic ejaculates from brown bear (Ursus arctos).

    PubMed

    Gomes-Alves, S; Alvarez, M; Nicolas, M; Martínez-Rodríguez, C; Borragán, S; Chamorro, C A; Anel, L; de Paz, P

    2014-11-30

    The objective of this study was to reverse the osmotic stress of sperm in urine contaminated bear ejaculates that were obtained by electroejaculation using pre-freezing washing or density gradient centrifugation isolation. In Experiment 1, ejaculates were divided into six aliquots, five were diluted in each washing extender: 200, 300, 400, 500 and 700 mOsm/kg (prepared from a Tes-Tris-Fructose base, adding water or fructose as corresponds), at a 1:2 ratio (raw semen: washing solution, v/v); and the other aliquot was handled without washing (Control group). Samples were centrifuged at 600 × g for 6 min prior to freezing. In Experiment 2, ejaculates were divided into two aliquots: one was diluted 1:1 with TCG (Tris-Citric acid-Glucose) and centrifuged at 600 × g for 6 min (Centrifugation Control; C-Control); the other was treated with PureSperm density gradient column. After treatments, samples were cryopreserved. Sperm motility, viability (SYBR-14/propidium iodide (PI)) and acrosomal status (peanut agglutinin-fluorescein isothiocyanate (PNA-FITC)/PI) were analyzed before and after freezing. Ejaculates with an initial osmolality of less than 120 mOsm/kg treated with pre-freezing washing, and the Control sample had greater pre-freezing sperm motility than the raw ejaculate, but sperm viability was not different among these groups. The samples washed with 700 mOsm/kg solutions had the least pre-freezing viability. In the post-thawing evaluation, pre-freezing washing treatments did not provide any improvement in comparison with the Control sample, and treatment with 700 mOsm/kg extender had deleterious effects in all urospermic samples. PureSperm density gradient centrifugation applied to urospermic raw semen was suitable for improving sperm motility and viability of pre-freezing samples and the selected spermatozoa had greater freezing capacity. PMID:25278437

  2. Surprising migration and population size dynamics in ancient Iberian brown bears (Ursus arctos)

    PubMed Central

    Valdiosera, Cristina E.; García-Garitagoitia, José Luis; Garcia, Nuria; Doadrio, Ignacio; Thomas, Mark G.; Hänni, Catherine; Arsuaga, Juan-Luis; Barnes, Ian; Hofreiter, Michael; Orlando, Ludovic; Götherström, Anders

    2008-01-01

    The endangered brown bear populations (Ursus arctos) in Iberia have been suggested to be the last fragments of the brown bear population that served as recolonization stock for large parts of Europe during the Pleistocene. Conservation efforts are intense, and results are closely monitored. However, the efforts are based on the assumption that the Iberian bears are a unique unit that has evolved locally for an extended period. We have sequenced mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from ancient Iberian bear remains and analyzed them as a serial dataset, monitoring changes in diversity and occurrence of European haplogroups over time. Using these data, we show that the Iberian bear population has experienced a dynamic, recent evolutionary history. Not only has the population undergone mitochondrial gene flow from other European brown bears, but the effective population size also has fluctuated substantially. We conclude that the Iberian bear population has been a fluid evolutionary unit, developed by gene flow from other populations and population bottlenecks, far from being in genetic equilibrium or isolated from other brown bear populations. Thus, the current situation is highly unusual and the population may in fact be isolated for the first time in its history. PMID:18347332

  3. Serologic evidence of Leptospira spp. serovars in brown bears (Ursus arctos) from Croatia.

    PubMed

    Slavica, Alen; Konjevic, Dean; Huber, Duro; Milas, Zoran; Turk, Nenad; Sindicic, Magda; Severin, Kresimir; Dezdek, Danko; Masek, Tomislav

    2010-01-01

    Serum samples from 52 free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos) collected in Croatia over a period of 10 yr (1998-2007) were tested by microscopic agglutination test for specific antibodies (Ab) to 12 Leptospira spp. pathogenic serovars. At titers ranging from 1:100 to 1:2,000, 19 samples (36.5%) were Abpositive to at least one serovar. Antibodies for 10 Leptospira spp. serovars were detected: Icterohaemorrhagiae, Australis, Sejroe, Canicola, Poi, Hardjo, Ballum, Saxkoebing, Pomona, and Grippotyphosa. In comparison to previous reports, the prevalence of Ab to serovar Icterohaemorrhagiae (52.6%) was significantly higher. Other common serovars were Australis (47.4%) and Sejroe (42.1%). High Ab titers for serovars Canicola (1:500) and Grippotyphosa (1:1,000) were detected for the first time in free-ranging bears from Croatia. A significant correlation between the age of the bears and detection of Ab to Leptospira spp. serovars suggested the presence of pathogenic agents in the natural habitats, whereas increasing trends of Ab prevalence for specific serovars (Icter-ohaemorrhagiae, Australis, and Sejroe) confirmed cohabitation of bears with rats and other small terrestrial mammals on garbage dumps and at bear feeding stations. To prevent cohabitation of bears and rodents, improvements in Croatian waste treatment, big game management, and rodent control programs are strongly recommended, especially in Lika and Gorski Kotar, regions that have high-quality natural habitats for brown bears in Croatia. PMID:20090039

  4. Major decline in marine and terrestrial animal consumption by brown bears (Ursus arctos)

    PubMed Central

    Matsubayashi, Jun; Morimoto, Junko O.; Tayasu, Ichiro; Mano, Tsutomu; Nakajima, Miyuki; Takahashi, Osamu; Kobayashi, Kyoko; Nakamura, Futoshi

    2015-01-01

    Human activities have had the strongest impacts on natural ecosystems since the last glacial period, including the alteration of interspecific relationships such as food webs. In this paper, we present a historical record of major alterations of trophic structure by revealing millennium-scale dietary shifts of brown bears (Ursus arctos) on the Hokkaido islands, Japan, using carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur stable isotope analysis. Dietary analysis of brown bears revealed that salmon consumption by bears in the eastern region of Hokkaido significantly decreased from 19% to 8%. In addition, consumption of terrestrial animals decreased from 56% to 5% in western region, and 64% to 8% in eastern region. These dietary shifts are likely to have occurred in the last approximately 100–200 years, which coincides with the beginning of modernisation in this region. Our results suggest that human activities have caused an alteration in the trophic structure of brown bears in the Hokkaido islands. This alteration includes a major decline in the marine-terrestrial linkage in eastern region, and a loss of indirect-interactions between bears and wolves, because the interactions potentially enhanced deer predation by brown bears. PMID:25776994

  5. Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) locomotion: gaits and ground reaction forces.

    PubMed

    Shine, Catherine L; Penberthy, Skylar; Robbins, Charles T; Nelson, O Lynne; McGowan, Craig P

    2015-10-01

    Locomotion of plantigrade generalists has been relatively little studied compared with more specialised postures even though plantigrady is ancestral among quadrupeds. Bears (Ursidae) are a representative family for plantigrade carnivorans, they have the majority of the morphological characteristics identified for plantigrade species, and they have the full range of generalist behaviours. This study compared the locomotion of adult grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis Linnaeus 1758), including stride parameters, gaits and analysis of three-dimensional ground reaction forces, with that of previously studied quadrupeds. At slow to moderate speeds, grizzly bears use walks, running walks and canters. Vertical ground reaction forces demonstrated the typical M-shaped curve for walks; however, this was significantly more pronounced in the hindlimb. The rate of force development was also significantly higher for the hindlimbs than for the forelimbs at all speeds. Mediolateral forces were significantly higher than would be expected for a large erect mammal, almost to the extent of a sprawling crocodilian. There may be morphological or energetic explanations for the use of the running walk rather than the trot. The high medial forces (produced from a lateral push by the animal) could be caused by frontal plane movement of the carpus and elbow by bears. Overall, while grizzly bears share some similarities with large cursorial species, their locomotor kinetics have unique characteristics. Additional studies are needed to determine whether these characters are a feature of all bears or plantigrade species. PMID:26254319

  6. Persistent or not persistent? Polychlorinated biphenyls are readily depurated by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis).

    PubMed

    Christensen, Jennie R; Letcher, Robert J; Ross, Peter S

    2009-10-01

    Major pharmacokinetic processes influencing polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) accumulation in mammals include uptake, biotransformation, respiration, and excretion. We characterized some of the factors underlying PCB accumulation/loss by evaluating PCB concentrations and patterns in pre- and posthibernation grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) and their prey. The PCB congeners with vicinal meta- and para-chlorine unsubstituted hydrogen positions consistently showed loss both before and during hibernation, supporting the idea of a dominant role for biotransformation. Retention of all other studied congeners relative to that of PCB 194 varied widely (from <1 to 100%) and was highly correlated with log octanol-water partition coefficient (p < 0.0001). A lack of loss for most of these other congeners during hibernation supports the notion that excretion (e.g., fecal or urinary) or lack of uptake during the feeding season underlies their lack of accumulation, because hibernating bears do not eat or excrete. We estimate that grizzly bears retain less than 10% of total PCBs taken up from their diet. Our results suggest that for grizzly bears, depuration of PCBs via biotransformation is important (explaining approximately 40% of loss), but that nonbiotransformation processes, such as excretion, may be more important (explaining approximately 60% of loss). These findings, together with the approximately 91% loss of the persistent PCB 153 congener relative to PCB 194 in grizzly bears, raise important questions about how one defines persistence of PCBs in wildlife and may have bearing on the interpretation of food-web biomagnification studies. PMID:19480534

  7. Role of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in the flow of marine nitrogen into a terrestrial ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hilderbrand, G.V.; Hanley, Thomas A.; Robbins, Charles T.; Schwartz, C.C.

    1999-01-01

    We quantified the amount, spatial distribution, and importance of salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.)-derived nitrogen (N) by brown bears (Ursus arctos) on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. We tested and confirmed the hypothesis that the stable isotope signature (δ15N) of N in foliage of white spruce (Picea glauca) was inversely proportional to the distance from salmon-spawning streams (r=–0.99 and P<0.05 in two separate watersheds). Locations of radio-collared brown bears, relative to their distance from a stream, were highly correlated with δ15N depletion of foliage across the same gradient (r=–0.98 and –0.96 and P<0.05 in the same two separate watersheds). Mean rates of redistribution of salmon-derived N by adult female brown bears were 37.2±2.9 kg/year per bear (range 23.1–56.3), of which 96% (35.7±2.7 kg/year per bear) was excreted in urine, 3% (1.1±0.1 kg/year per bear) was excreted in feces, and <1% (0.3± 0.1 kg/year per bear) was retained in the body. On an area basis, salmon-N redistribution rates were as high as 5.1±0.7 mg/m2 per year per bear within 500 m of the stream but dropped off greatly with increasing distance. We estimated that 15.5–17.8% of the total N in spruce foliage within 500 m of the stream was derived from salmon. Of that, bears had distributed 83–84%. Thus, brown bears can be an important vector of salmon-derived N into riparian ecosystems, but their effects are highly variable spatially and a function of bear density.

  8. The impacts of human recreation on brown bears (Ursus arctos): A review and new management tool

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fortin-noreus, Jennifer; Rode, Karyn D.; Hilderbrand, Grant V; Wilder, James; Farley, Sean; Jorgensen, Carole; Marcot, Bruce G

    2016-01-01

    Increased popularity of recreational activities in natural areas has led to the need to better understand their impacts on wildlife. The majority of research conducted to date has focused on behavioral effects from individual recreations, thus there is a limited understanding of the potential for population-level or cumulative effects. Brown bears (Ursus arctos) are the focus of a growing wildlife viewing industry and are found in habitats frequented by recreationists. Managers face difficult decisions in balancing recreational opportunities with habitat protection for wildlife. Here, we integrate results from empirical studies with expert knowledge to better understand the potential population-level effects of recreational activities on brown bears. We conducted a literature review and Delphi survey of brown bear experts to better understand the frequencies and types of recreations occurring in bear habitats and their potential effects, and to identify management solutions and research needs. We then developed a Bayesian network model that allows managers to estimate the potential effects of recreational management decisions in bear habitats. A higher proportion of individual brown bears in coastal habitats were exposed to recreation, including photography and bear-viewing than bears in interior habitats where camping and hiking were more common. Our results suggest that the primary mechanism by which recreation may impact brown bears is through temporal and spatial displacement with associated increases in energetic costs and declines in nutritional intake. Killings in defense of life and property were found to be minimally associated with recreation in Alaska, but are important considerations in population management. Regulating recreation to occur predictably in space and time and limiting recreation in habitats with concentrated food resources reduces impacts on food intake and may thereby, reduce impacts on reproduction and survival. Our results suggest that

  9. Physiological evidence for a human-induced landscape of fear in brown bears (Ursus arctos).

    PubMed

    Støen, Ole-Gunnar; Ordiz, Andres; Evans, Alina L; Laske, Timothy G; Kindberg, Jonas; Fröbert, Ole; Swenson, Jon E; Arnemo, Jon M

    2015-12-01

    Human persecution is a major cause of mortality for large carnivores. Consequently, large carnivores avoid humans, but may use human-dominated landscapes by being nocturnal and elusive. Behavioral studies indicate that certain ecological systems are "landscapes of fear", driven by antipredator behavior. Because behavior and physiology are closely interrelated, physiological assessments may provide insight into the behavioral response of large carnivores to human activity. To elucidate changes in brown bears' (Ursus arctos) behavior associated with human activity, we evaluated stress as changes in heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) in 12 GPS-collared, free-ranging bears, 7 males and 5 females, 3-11 years old, using cardiac-monitoring devices. We applied generalized linear regression models with HR and HRV as response variables and chest activity, time of day, season, distance traveled, and distance to human settlements from GPS positions recorded every 30 min as potential explanatory variables. Bears exhibited lower HRV, an indication of stress, when they were close to human settlements and especially during the berry season, when humans were more often in the forest, picking berries and hunting. Our findings provide evidence of a human-induced landscape of fear in this hunted population of brown bears. PMID:26476156

  10. Endocrine rhythms in the brown bear (Ursus arctos): Evidence supporting selection for decreased pineal gland size

    PubMed Central

    Ware, Jasmine V; Nelson, O Lynne; Robbins, Charles T; Carter, Patrick A; Sarver, Brice A J; Jansen, Heiko T

    2013-01-01

    Many temperate zone animals adapt to seasonal changes by altering their physiology. This is mediated in large part by endocrine signals that encode day length and regulate energy balance and metabolism. The objectives of this study were to determine if the daily patterns of two important hormones, melatonin and cortisol, varied with day length in captive brown bears (Ursus arctos) under anesthetized and nonanesthetized conditions during the active (March–October) and hibernation periods. Melatonin concentrations varied with time of day and season in nonanesthetized female bears despite exceedingly low nocturnal concentrations (1–4 pg/mL) in the active season. In contrast, melatonin concentrations during hibernation were 7.5-fold greater than those during the summer in anesthetized male bears. Functional assessment of the pineal gland revealed a slight but significant reduction in melatonin following nocturnal light application during hibernation, but no response to beta-adrenergic stimulation was detected in either season. Examination of pineal size in two bear species bears combined with a phylogenetically corrected analysis of pineal glands in 47 other species revealed a strong relationship to brain size. However, pineal gland size of both bear species deviated significantly from the expected pattern. Robust daily plasma cortisol rhythms were observed during the active season but not during hibernation. Cortisol was potently suppressed following injection with a synthetic glucocorticoid. The results suggest that melatonin and cortisol both retain their ability to reflect seasonal changes in day length in brown bears. The exceptionally small pineal gland in bears may be the result of direct or indirect selection. PMID:24303132

  11. Metabolic changes in summer active and anuric hibernating free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos).

    PubMed

    Stenvinkel, Peter; Fröbert, Ole; Anderstam, Björn; Palm, Fredrik; Eriksson, Monica; Bragfors-Helin, Ann-Christin; Qureshi, Abdul Rashid; Larsson, Tobias; Friebe, Andrea; Zedrosser, Andreas; Josefsson, Johan; Svensson, My; Sahdo, Berolla; Bankir, Lise; Johnson, Richard J

    2013-01-01

    The brown bear (Ursus arctos) hibernates for 5 to 6 months each winter and during this time ingests no food or water and remains anuric and inactive. Despite these extreme conditions, bears do not develop azotemia and preserve their muscle and bone strength. To date most renal studies have been limited to small numbers of bears, often in captive environments. Sixteen free-ranging bears were darted and had blood drawn both during hibernation in winter and summer. Samples were collected for measurement of creatinine and urea, markers of inflammation, the calcium-phosphate axis, and nutritional parameters including amino acids. In winter the bear serum creatinine increased 2.5 fold despite a 2-fold decrease in urea, indicating a remarkable ability to recycle urea nitrogen during hibernation. During hibernation serum calcium remained constant despite a decrease in serum phosphate and a rise in FGF23 levels. Despite prolonged inactivity and reduced renal function, inflammation does not ensue and bears seem to have enhanced antioxidant defense mechanisms during hibernation. Nutrition parameters showed high fat stores, preserved amino acids and mild hyperglycemia during hibernation. While total, essential, non-essential and branched chain amino acids concentrations do not change during hibernation anorexia, changes in individual amino acids ornithine, citrulline and arginine indicate an active, although reduced urea cycle and nitrogen recycling to proteins. Serum uric acid and serum fructose levels were elevated in summer and changes between seasons were positively correlated. Further studies to understand how bears can prevent the development of uremia despite minimal renal function during hibernation could provide new therapeutic avenues for the treatment of human kidney disease. PMID:24039826

  12. Metabolic Changes in Summer Active and Anuric Hibernating Free-Ranging Brown Bears (Ursus arctos)

    PubMed Central

    Stenvinkel, Peter; Fröbert, Ole; Anderstam, Björn; Palm, Fredrik; Eriksson, Monica; Bragfors-Helin, Ann-Christin; Qureshi, Abdul Rashid; Larsson, Tobias; Friebe, Andrea; Zedrosser, Andreas; Josefsson, Johan; Svensson, My; Sahdo, Berolla; Bankir, Lise; Johnson, Richard J.

    2013-01-01

    The brown bear (Ursus arctos) hibernates for 5 to 6 months each winter and during this time ingests no food or water and remains anuric and inactive. Despite these extreme conditions, bears do not develop azotemia and preserve their muscle and bone strength. To date most renal studies have been limited to small numbers of bears, often in captive environments. Sixteen free-ranging bears were darted and had blood drawn both during hibernation in winter and summer. Samples were collected for measurement of creatinine and urea, markers of inflammation, the calcium-phosphate axis, and nutritional parameters including amino acids. In winter the bear serum creatinine increased 2.5 fold despite a 2-fold decrease in urea, indicating a remarkable ability to recycle urea nitrogen during hibernation. During hibernation serum calcium remained constant despite a decrease in serum phosphate and a rise in FGF23 levels. Despite prolonged inactivity and reduced renal function, inflammation does not ensue and bears seem to have enhanced antioxidant defense mechanisms during hibernation. Nutrition parameters showed high fat stores, preserved amino acids and mild hyperglycemia during hibernation. While total, essential, non-essential and branched chain amino acids concentrations do not change during hibernation anorexia, changes in individual amino acids ornithine, citrulline and arginine indicate an active, although reduced urea cycle and nitrogen recycling to proteins. Serum uric acid and serum fructose levels were elevated in summer and changes between seasons were positively correlated. Further studies to understand how bears can prevent the development of uremia despite minimal renal function during hibernation could provide new therapeutic avenues for the treatment of human kidney disease. PMID:24039826

  13. De Novo SNP Discovery in the Scandinavian Brown Bear (Ursus arctos)

    PubMed Central

    Norman, Anita J.; Street, Nathaniel R.; Spong, Göran

    2013-01-01

    Information about relatedness between individuals in wild populations is advantageous when studying evolutionary, behavioural and ecological processes. Genomic data can be used to determine relatedness between individuals either when no prior knowledge exists or to confirm suspected relatedness. Here we present a set of 96 SNPs suitable for inferring relatedness for brown bears (Ursus arctos) within Scandinavia. We sequenced reduced representation libraries from nine individuals throughout the geographic range. With consensus reads containing putative SNPs, we applied strict filtering criteria with the aim of finding only high-quality, highly-informative SNPs. We tested 150 putative SNPs of which 96% were validated on a panel of 68 individuals. Ninety-six of the validated SNPs with the highest minor allele frequency were selected. The final SNP panel includes four mitochondrial markers, two monomorphic Y-chromosome sex-determination markers, three X-chromosome SNPs and 87 autosomal SNPs. From our validation sample panel, we identified two previously known parent-offspring dyads with reasonable accuracy. This panel of SNPs is a promising tool for inferring relatedness in the brown bear population in Scandinavia. PMID:24260529

  14. Prioritizing Sites for Protection and Restoration for Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos) in Southwestern Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Braid, Andrew C R; Nielsen, Scott E

    2015-01-01

    As the influence of human activities on natural systems continues to expand, there is a growing need to prioritize not only pristine sites for protection, but also degraded sites for restoration. We present an approach for simultaneously prioritizing sites for protection and restoration that considers landscape patterns for a threatened population of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in southwestern Alberta, Canada. We considered tradeoffs between bottom-up (food resource supply) and top-down (mortality risk from roads) factors affecting seasonal habitat quality for bears. Simulated annealing was used to prioritize source-like sites (high habitat productivity, low mortality risk) for protection, as well as sink-like sites (high habitat productivity, high mortality risk) for restoration. Priority source-like habitats identified key conservation areas where future developments should be limited, whereas priority sink-like habitats identified key areas for mitigating road-related mortality risk with access management. Systematic conservation planning methods can be used to complement traditional habitat-based methods for individual focal species by identifying habitats where conservation actions (both protection and restoration) have the highest potential utility. PMID:26168055

  15. Prioritizing Sites for Protection and Restoration for Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos) in Southwestern Alberta, Canada

    PubMed Central

    Braid, Andrew C. R.; Nielsen, Scott E.

    2015-01-01

    As the influence of human activities on natural systems continues to expand, there is a growing need to prioritize not only pristine sites for protection, but also degraded sites for restoration. We present an approach for simultaneously prioritizing sites for protection and restoration that considers landscape patterns for a threatened population of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in southwestern Alberta, Canada. We considered tradeoffs between bottom-up (food resource supply) and top-down (mortality risk from roads) factors affecting seasonal habitat quality for bears. Simulated annealing was used to prioritize source-like sites (high habitat productivity, low mortality risk) for protection, as well as sink-like sites (high habitat productivity, high mortality risk) for restoration. Priority source-like habitats identified key conservation areas where future developments should be limited, whereas priority sink-like habitats identified key areas for mitigating road-related mortality risk with access management. Systematic conservation planning methods can be used to complement traditional habitat-based methods for individual focal species by identifying habitats where conservation actions (both protection and restoration) have the highest potential utility. PMID:26168055

  16. Application of DNA fingerprinting in the Hokkaido brown bear (Ursus arctos yesoensis).

    PubMed

    Tsuruga, H; Ise, S; Hayashi, M; Mizutani, T; Takahashi, Y; Kanagawa, H

    1994-10-01

    DNA fingerprinting employing a minisatellite Myo probe was used for individual identification and paternity determination in Hokkaido brown bears (Ursus arctos yesoensis). We used two restriction enzymes, HinfI and HaeIII to make DNA fingerprints. Band patterns obtained from randomly selected bears were compared with each other, and the probability x that fragment in an individual was also present in the other was 0.69 for HinfI and 0.83 for HaeIII. The value for HinfI (0.69) was similar to that obtained from other species, such as dog and domestic animals, and the mean probability of all fragments was calculated to be 2.5 x 10(-2). The results suggest that DNA fingerprinting applying the combination of HinfI and Myo is available for individual identification. On the other hand, the ability to determine paternity seemed to be insufficient owing to the lack of paternal fragments, although the band patterns reflected the correct relationships between child and father. PMID:7865589

  17. Genetic and demographic recovery of an isolated population of brown bear Ursus arctos L., 1758

    PubMed Central

    Gonzalez, Elena G.; Ballesteros, Fernando; Alcaraz, Lourdes; Palomero, Guillermo; Doadrio, Ignacio

    2016-01-01

    The brown bear Ursus arctos L., 1758 population of the Cantabrian Mountains (northwestern Spain) became isolated from other bear populations in Europe about 500 years ago and has declined due to hunting and habitat degradation. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Cantabrian population split into eastern and western subpopulations, and genetic exchange between them ceased. In the early 1990s, total population size was estimated to be < 100 bears. Subsequently, reduction in human-caused mortality has brought about an increase in numbers, mainly in the western subpopulation, likely promoting male-mediated migration and gene flow from the western nucleus to the eastern. To evaluate the possible genetic recovery of the small and genetically depauperate eastern subpopulation, in 2013 and 2014 we genotyped hair and faeces samples (116 from the eastern subpopulation and 36 from the western) for 18 microsatellite markers. Data from the annual count of females with cubs of the year (COY) during the past twenty-six years was used to analyze demographic changes. The number of females with COY fell to a minimum of seven in the western and three in eastern subpopulations in the biennium 1993–1994 and reached a respective maximum of 54 and 10 individuals in 2013–2014. We also observed increased bear dispersal and gene flow, mainly from the western to the eastern subpopulation. Of the 26 unique genotypes detected in the eastern subpopulation, 14 (54%) presented an admixture composition, and seven (27%) were determined to be migrants from the western subpopulation. Hence, the two separated and clearly structured subpopulations identified in the past currently show some degree of genetic admixture. This research shows the partial demographic recovery and a change in genetic composition due to migration process in a population of bears that has been isolated for several centuries. PMID:27168963

  18. Defining landscapes suitable for restoration of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in Idaho

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Merrill, Troy; Mattson, D.J.; Wright, R.G.; Quigley, Howard B.

    1999-01-01

    Informed management of large carnivores depends on the timely and useful presentation of relevant information. We describe an approach to evaluating carnivore habitat that uses pre-existing qualitative and quantitative information on humans and carnivores to generate coarse-scale maps of habitat suitability, habitat productivity, potential reserves, and areas of potential conflict. We use information pertinent to the contemplated reintroduction of grizzly bears Ursus arctos horribilis into central Idaho to demonstrate our approach. The approach uses measures of human numbers, their estimated distribution, road and trail access, and abundance and quality of bear foods to create standardized indices that are analogues of death and birth rates, respectively; the first subtracted from the second indicates habitat suitability (HS). We calibrate HS to sightings of grizzly bears in two ecosystems in northern Idaho and develop an empirical model from these same sightings based on piece-wise treatment of the variables contained in HS. Depending on whether the empirical model or HS is used, we estimate that there is 14 800 km2 of suitable habitat in two blocks or 37 100 km2 in one block in central Idaho, respectively. Both approaches show suitable habitat in the current Evaluation Area and in an area of southeastern Idaho centered on the Palisades Reservoir. Areas of highly productive habitat are concentrated in northern and western Idaho and in the Palisades area. Future conflicts between humans and bears are most likely to occur on the western and northern margins of suitable habitat in central Idaho, rather than to the east, where opposition to reintroduction of grizzly bears is currently strongest.

  19. Capture, Anesthesia, and Disturbance of Free-Ranging Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) during Hibernation

    PubMed Central

    Evans, Alina L.; Sahlén, Veronica; Støen, Ole-Gunnar; Fahlman, Åsa; Brunberg, Sven; Madslien, Knut; Fröbert, Ole; Swenson, Jon E.; Arnemo, Jon M.

    2012-01-01

    We conducted thirteen immobilizations of previously collared hibernating two- to four-year-old brown bears (Ursus arctos) weighing 21–66 kg in central Sweden in winter 2010 and 2011 for comparative physiology research. Here we report, for the first time, an effective protocol for the capture and anesthesia of free-ranging brown bears during hibernation and an assessment of the disturbance the captures caused. Bears were darted in anthill, soil, or uprooted tree dens on eleven occasions, but two bears in rock dens fled and were darted outside the den. We used medetomidine at 0.02–0.06 mg/kg and zolazepam-tiletamine at 0.9–2.8 mg/kg for anesthesia. In addition, ketamine at 1.5 mg/kg was hand-injected intramuscularly in four bears and in six it was included in the dart at 1.1–3.0 mg/kg. Once anesthetized, bears were removed from the dens. In nine bears, arterial blood samples were analyzed immediately with a portable blood gas analyzer. We corrected hypoxemia in seven bears (PaO2 57–74 mmHg) with supplemental oxygen. We placed the bears back into the dens and antagonized the effect of medetomidine with atipamezole. Capturing bears in the den significantly increased the risk of den abandonment. One of twelve collared bears that were captured remained at the original den until spring, and eleven, left their dens (mean ± standard deviation) 3.2±3.6 (range 0.5–10.5) days after capture. They used 1.9±0.9 intermediate resting sites, during 6.2±7.8 days before entering a new permanent den. The eleven new permanent dens were located 730±589 m from the original dens. We documented that it was feasible and safe to capture hibernating brown bears, although they behaved differently than black bears. When doing so, researchers should use 25% of the doses used for helicopter darting during the active period and should consider increased energetic costs associated with den abandonment. PMID:22815757

  20. Capture, anesthesia, and disturbance of free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos) during hibernation.

    PubMed

    Evans, Alina L; Sahlén, Veronica; Støen, Ole-Gunnar; Fahlman, Åsa; Brunberg, Sven; Madslien, Knut; Fröbert, Ole; Swenson, Jon E; Arnemo, Jon M

    2012-01-01

    We conducted thirteen immobilizations of previously collared hibernating two- to four-year-old brown bears (Ursus arctos) weighing 21-66 kg in central Sweden in winter 2010 and 2011 for comparative physiology research. Here we report, for the first time, an effective protocol for the capture and anesthesia of free-ranging brown bears during hibernation and an assessment of the disturbance the captures caused. Bears were darted in anthill, soil, or uprooted tree dens on eleven occasions, but two bears in rock dens fled and were darted outside the den. We used medetomidine at 0.02-0.06 mg/kg and zolazepam-tiletamine at 0.9-2.8 mg/kg for anesthesia. In addition, ketamine at 1.5 mg/kg was hand-injected intramuscularly in four bears and in six it was included in the dart at 1.1-3.0 mg/kg. Once anesthetized, bears were removed from the dens. In nine bears, arterial blood samples were analyzed immediately with a portable blood gas analyzer. We corrected hypoxemia in seven bears (PaO(2) 57-74 mmHg) with supplemental oxygen. We placed the bears back into the dens and antagonized the effect of medetomidine with atipamezole. Capturing bears in the den significantly increased the risk of den abandonment. One of twelve collared bears that were captured remained at the original den until spring, and eleven, left their dens (mean ± standard deviation) 3.2±3.6 (range 0.5-10.5) days after capture. They used 1.9±0.9 intermediate resting sites, during 6.2±7.8 days before entering a new permanent den. The eleven new permanent dens were located 730±589 m from the original dens. We documented that it was feasible and safe to capture hibernating brown bears, although they behaved differently than black bears. When doing so, researchers should use 25% of the doses used for helicopter darting during the active period and should consider increased energetic costs associated with den abandonment. PMID:22815757

  1. The impact of time and field conditions on brown bear (Ursus arctos) faecal DNA amplification

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Murphy, M.A.; Kendall, K.C.; Robinson, A.; Waits, L.P.

    2007-01-01

    To establish longevity of faecal DNA samples under varying summer field conditions, we collected 53 faeces from captive brown bears (Ursus arctos) on a restricted vegetation diet. Each faeces was divided, and one half was placed on a warm, dry field site while the other half was placed on a cool, wet field site on Moscow Mountain, Idaho, USA. Temperature, relative humidity, and dew point data were collected on each site, and faeces were sampled for DNA extraction at <1, 3, 6, 14, 30, 45, and 60 days. Faecal DNA sample viability was assessed by attempting PCR amplification of a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) locus (???150 bp) and a nuclear DNA (nDNA) microsatellite locus (180-200 bp). Time in the field, temperature, and dew point impacted mtDNA and nDNA amplification success with the greatest drop in success rates occurring between 1 and 3 days. In addition, genotyping errors significantly increased over time at both field sites. Based on these results, we recommend collecting samples at frequent transect intervals and focusing sampling efforts during drier portions of the year when possible. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.

  2. Impacts of Human Recreation on Brown Bears (Ursus arctos): A Review and New Management Tool

    PubMed Central

    Fortin, Jennifer K.; Rode, Karyn D.; Hilderbrand, Grant V.; Wilder, James; Farley, Sean; Jorgensen, Carole; Marcot, Bruce G.

    2016-01-01

    Increased popularity of recreational activities in natural areas has led to the need to better understand their impacts on wildlife. The majority of research conducted to date has focused on behavioral effects from individual recreations, thus there is a limited understanding of the potential for population-level or cumulative effects. Brown bears (Ursus arctos) are the focus of a growing wildlife viewing industry and are found in habitats frequented by recreationists. Managers face difficult decisions in balancing recreational opportunities with habitat protection for wildlife. Here, we integrate results from empirical studies with expert knowledge to better understand the potential population-level effects of recreational activities on brown bears. We conducted a literature review and Delphi survey of brown bear experts to better understand the frequencies and types of recreations occurring in bear habitats and their potential effects, and to identify management solutions and research needs. We then developed a Bayesian network model that allows managers to estimate the potential effects of recreational management decisions in bear habitats. A higher proportion of individual brown bears in coastal habitats were exposed to recreation, including photography and bear-viewing than bears in interior habitats where camping and hiking were more common. Our results suggest that the primary mechanism by which recreation may impact brown bears is through temporal and spatial displacement with associated increases in energetic costs and declines in nutritional intake. Killings in defense of life and property were found to be minimally associated with recreation in Alaska, but are important considerations in population management. Regulating recreation to occur predictably in space and time and limiting recreation in habitats with concentrated food resources reduces impacts on food intake and may thereby, reduce impacts on reproduction and survival. Our results suggest that

  3. Impacts of Human Recreation on Brown Bears (Ursus arctos): A Review and New Management Tool.

    PubMed

    Fortin, Jennifer K; Rode, Karyn D; Hilderbrand, Grant V; Wilder, James; Farley, Sean; Jorgensen, Carole; Marcot, Bruce G

    2016-01-01

    Increased popularity of recreational activities in natural areas has led to the need to better understand their impacts on wildlife. The majority of research conducted to date has focused on behavioral effects from individual recreations, thus there is a limited understanding of the potential for population-level or cumulative effects. Brown bears (Ursus arctos) are the focus of a growing wildlife viewing industry and are found in habitats frequented by recreationists. Managers face difficult decisions in balancing recreational opportunities with habitat protection for wildlife. Here, we integrate results from empirical studies with expert knowledge to better understand the potential population-level effects of recreational activities on brown bears. We conducted a literature review and Delphi survey of brown bear experts to better understand the frequencies and types of recreations occurring in bear habitats and their potential effects, and to identify management solutions and research needs. We then developed a Bayesian network model that allows managers to estimate the potential effects of recreational management decisions in bear habitats. A higher proportion of individual brown bears in coastal habitats were exposed to recreation, including photography and bear-viewing than bears in interior habitats where camping and hiking were more common. Our results suggest that the primary mechanism by which recreation may impact brown bears is through temporal and spatial displacement with associated increases in energetic costs and declines in nutritional intake. Killings in defense of life and property were found to be minimally associated with recreation in Alaska, but are important considerations in population management. Regulating recreation to occur predictably in space and time and limiting recreation in habitats with concentrated food resources reduces impacts on food intake and may thereby, reduce impacts on reproduction and survival. Our results suggest that

  4. Diagnosing Mechanisms of Decline and Planning for Recovery of an Endangered Brown Bear (Ursus arctos) Population

    PubMed Central

    Quenette, Pierre-Yves; Camarra, Jean-Jacques

    2009-01-01

    Background The usual paradigm for translocations is that they should not take place in declining populations until the causes(s) of the decline has been reversed. This approach sounds intuitive, but may not apply in cases where population decline is caused by behavioral or demographic mechanisms that could only be reversed by translocation itself. Methodology/Principal Findings We analyzed a decade of field data for Pyrenean brown bears (Ursus arctos) from two small populations: the growing Central population - created from a previous translocation and the endemic Western population - believed to be declining because of excessive human-caused mortality. We found that adult survival rates for both populations were as high as those observed for most other protected brown bear populations. However, the Western population had much lower reproductive success than the Central population. Adult breeding sex ratio was male-biased in the Western population and female-biased in the Central population. Our results exclude high anthropogenic mortality as a cause for population decline in the West but support low reproductive success, which could result from sexually selected infanticide induced by a male-biased adult sex ratio or inbreeding depression. Using a stochastic demographic model to compute how many bears should be released to ensure viability, we show that the Western population could recover provided adequate numbers of new females are translocated. Conclusions/Significance We suggest that a translocation could take place, even if the decline has not yet been reversed, if the translocation itself removes the biological mechanisms behind the decline. In our case, the ultimate cause of low reproductive success remained unknown (infanticide or inbreeding), but our proposed translocation strategies should eliminate the proximate cause (low reproductive success) of the decline and ensure population recovery and viability. PMID:19862319

  5. Immobilization of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) with dexmedetomidine, tiletamine, and zolazepam.

    PubMed

    Teisberg, Justin E; Farley, Sean D; Nelson, O Lynne; Hilderbrand, Grant V; Madel, Michael J; Owen, Patricia A; Erlenbach, Joy A; Robbins, Charles T

    2014-01-01

    Safe and effective immobilization of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) is essential for research and management. Fast induction of anesthesia, maintenance of healthy vital rates, and predictable recoveries are priorities. From September 2010 to May 2012, we investigated these attributes in captive and wild grizzly bears anesthetized with a combination of a reversible α2 agonist (dexmedetomidine [dexM], the dextrorotatory enantiomer of medetomidine) and a nonreversible N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) agonist and tranquilizer (tiletamine and zolazepam [TZ], respectively). A smaller-than-expected dose of the combination (1.23 mg tiletamine, 1.23 mg zolazepam, and 6.04 µg dexmedetomidine per kg bear) produced reliable, fast ataxia (3.7 ± 0.5 min, x̄±SE) and workable anesthesia (8.1 ± 0.6 min) in captive adult grizzly bears. For wild bears darted from a helicopter, a dose of 2.06 mg tiletamine, 2.06 mg zolazepam, and 10.1 µg dexmedetomidine/kg produced ataxia in 2.5 ± 0.3 min and anesthesia in 5.5 ± 1.0 min. Contrary to published accounts of bear anesthesia with medetomidine, tiletamine, and zolazepam, this combination did not cause hypoxemia or hypoventilation, although mild bradycardia (<50 beats per min) occurred in most bears during the active season. With captive bears, effective dose rates during hibernation were approximately half those during the active season. The time to first signs of recovery after the initial injection of dexMTZ was influenced by heart rate (P<0.001) and drug dose (P<0.001). Intravenous (IV) injection of the reversal agent, atipamezole, significantly decreased recovery time (i.e., standing on all four feet and reacting to the surrounding environment) relative to intramuscular injection. Recovery times (25 ± 8 min) following IV injections of the recommended dose of atipamezole (10 µg/µg of dexmedetomidine) and half that dose (5 µg/µg) did not differ. However, we recommend use of the full dose based on the appearance of a more complete

  6. In vitro maturation of oocytes derived from the brown bear (Ursus arctos).

    PubMed

    Yin, Xi-Jun; Lee, Hyo-Sang; Choi, Eu-Gene; Yu, Xian-Feng; Park, Gye-Young; Bae, Inhyu; Yang, Chul-Ju; Oh, Dong-Hwan; Kim, Nam-Hung; Kong, Il-Keun

    2007-06-01

    This study was conducted to determine whether meiotic maturation could be induced in ovarian oocytes from the American brown bear (Ursus arctos), a model for gamete "rescue" techniques for endangered ursids. The bears were euthanized, and their ovaries were transported to the laboratory within 4 h. The mean ovarian size was 2.4 x 1.8 cm (range: 2.0-3.3 x 1.5-2.2 cm). The ovaries obtained from the 2 brown bears yielded 97 oocytes (48.5/female), and 88 (90.7%) of them were morphologically classified as normal quality. Oocytes were in vitro matured at 38.5 C in 5% CO2 for 24 or 48 h in TCM-199 supplemented with 10% FBS, 1 microg/ml estradiol-17beta, and 10 microg/ml FSH. In Exp. 1, morphologic evaluation of matured oocytes was conducted by measuring the diameters of oocytes with a zona pellucida (ZP) or cytoplasm without a ZP. In Exp. 2, activation was induced by applying two 20 microsec DC pulses of 2.0 kV/cm delivered by an Electro Cell Fusion Generator. The activated oocytes were cultured in TCM-199 containing 2 mM of 6-dimethylaminopurine for 4 h, in Charles Rosenkrans (CR) 1 for 3 days and the in CR2 for another 4 days. The diameters of the matured bear oocytes with a ZP and with cytoplasm without a ZP (161.8 +/- 6.0 and 135.3 +/- 7.5 microm, respectively) were significantly (P<0.05) larger than those of bovine oocytes (150.7 +/- 4.9 and 118.7 +/- 7.5 microm). The maturation rates of the bear oocytes were 17.6 and 59.4% at 24 and 48 h of in vitro maturation, the percentage of activated oocytes that developed to the 2 or 4-cell stage was 31.6%; however, no blastocysts were observed. These results indicate that bear oocytes can develop to metaphase II in an in vitro culture system and that activated oocytes can develop to the 2 or 4-cell stages. PMID:17310081

  7. A forensic DNA profiling system for Northern European brown bears (Ursus arctos).

    PubMed

    Andreassen, R; Schregel, J; Kopatz, A; Tobiassen, C; Knappskog, P M; Hagen, S B; Kleven, O; Schneider, M; Kojola, I; Aspi, J; Rykov, A; Tirronen, K F; Danilov, P I; Eiken, H G

    2012-12-01

    A set of 13 dinucleotide STR loci (G1A, G10B, G1D, G10L, MU05, MU09, MU10, MU15, MU23, MU26, MU50, MU51, MU59) were selected as candidate markers for a DNA forensic profiling system for Northern European brown bear (Ursus arctos). We present results from validation of the markers with respect to their sensitivity, species specificity and performance (precision, heterozygote balance and stutter ratios). All STRs were amplified with 0.6ng template input, and there were no false bear genotypes in the cross-species amplification tests. The validation experiments showed that stutter ratios and heterozygote balance was more pronounced than in the tetranucleotide loci used in human forensics. The elevated ratios of stutter and heterozygote balance at the loci validated indicate that these dinucleotide STRs are not well suited for interpretation of individual genotypes in mixtures. Based on the results from the experimental validations we discuss the challenges related to genotyping dinucleotide STRs in single source samples. Sequence studies of common alleles showed that, in general, the size variation of alleles corresponded with the variation in number of repeats. The samples characterized by sequence analysis may serve as standard DNA samples for inter laboratory calibration. A total of 479 individuals from eight Northern European brown bear populations were analyzed in the 13 candidate STRs. Locus MU26 was excluded as a putative forensic marker after revealing large deviations from expected heterozygosity likely to be caused by null-alleles at this locus. The remaining STRs did not reveal significant deviations from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium expectations except for loci G10B and MU10 that showed significant deviations in one population each, respectively. There were 9 pairwise locus comparisons that showed significant deviation from linkage equilibrium in one or two out of the eight populations. Substantial genetic differentiation was detected in some of the pairwise

  8. Serologic evidence for selected infectious diseases in Marsican brown bears (Ursus arctos marsicanus) in Italy (2004-09).

    PubMed

    Di Francesco, Cristina Esmeralda; Gentile, Leonardo; Di Pirro, Vincenza; Ladiana, Lara; Tagliabue, Silvia; Marsilio, Fulvio

    2015-01-01

    We tested 30 serum samples collected during 2004-09 from 22 free-ranging Marsican brown bears (Ursus arctos marsicanus) in the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise, Italy, for antibodies against canine distemper virus (CDV), canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2), canine parvovirus type 2 (CPV-2), Brucella spp., and eight Leptospira interrogans sensu lato serovars. Antibody to CDV was detected in 11 samples (37%); only two bears (10%) had detectable CAV-2 and Brucella spp. antibodies; three bears were positive for L. interrogans serovar Bratislava; and one sample had antibody against L. interrogans serovar Copenhageni. All samples were positive for CPV-2 antibody. The CPV-2 antibody titers varied from 1∶640 to 1∶10,240, suggesting that transmission was still active. Fifty percent of bears were positive for antibody to two or more pathogens. Our results highlight the need to consider infectious diseases as a potential risk for Marsican brown bear conservation. PMID:25375945

  9. Molecular identification of Taenia spp. in wolves (Canis lupus), brown bears (Ursus arctos) and cervids from North Europe and Alaska.

    PubMed

    Lavikainen, Antti; Laaksonen, Sauli; Beckmen, Kimberlee; Oksanen, Antti; Isomursu, Marja; Meri, Seppo

    2011-09-01

    Taenia tapeworms of Finnish and Swedish wolves (Canis lupus) and Finnish brown bears (Ursus arctos), and muscle cysticerci of Svalbard reindeer (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus), Alaskan Grant's caribou (Rangifer tarandus granti) and Alaskan moose (Alces americanus) were identified on the basis of the nucleotide sequence of a 396 bp region of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene. Two species were found from wolves: Taenia hydatigena and Taenia krabbei. The cysticerci of reindeer, caribou and one moose also represented T. krabbei. Most of the cysticercal specimens from Alaskan moose, however, belonged to an unknown T. krabbei-like species, which had been reported previously from Eurasian elks (Alces alces) from Finland. Strobilate stages from two bears belonged to this species as well. The present results suggest that this novel Taenia sp. has a Holarctic distribution and uses Alces spp. as intermediate and ursids as final hosts. PMID:21571090

  10. Molecular phylogeny and SNP variation of polar bears (Ursus maritimus), brown bears (U. arctos), and black bears (U. americanus) derived from genome sequences.

    PubMed

    Cronin, Matthew A; Rincon, Gonzalo; Meredith, Robert W; MacNeil, Michael D; Islas-Trejo, Alma; Cánovas, Angela; Medrano, Juan F

    2014-01-01

    We assessed the relationships of polar bears (Ursus maritimus), brown bears (U. arctos), and black bears (U. americanus) with high throughput genomic sequencing data with an average coverage of 25× for each species. A total of 1.4 billion 100-bp paired-end reads were assembled using the polar bear and annotated giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) genome sequences as references. We identified 13.8 million single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) in the 3 species aligned to the polar bear genome. These data indicate that polar bears and brown bears share more SNP with each other than either does with black bears. Concatenation and coalescence-based analysis of consensus sequences of approximately 1 million base pairs of ultraconserved elements in the nuclear genome resulted in a phylogeny with black bears as the sister group to brown and polar bears, and all brown bears are in a separate clade from polar bears. Genotypes for 162 SNP loci of 336 bears from Alaska and Montana showed that the species are genetically differentiated and there is geographic population structure of brown and black bears but not polar bears. PMID:24477675

  11. LEUKOCYTE COPING CAPACITY AS A TOOL TO ASSESS CAPTURE- AND HANDLING-INDUCED STRESS IN SCANDINAVIAN BROWN BEARS (URSUS ARCTOS).

    PubMed

    Esteruelas, Núria Fandos; Huber, Nikolaus; Evans, Alina L; Zedrosser, Andreas; Cattet, Marc; Palomares, Francisco; Angel, Martine; Swenson, Jon E; Arnemo, Jon M

    2016-04-01

    Brown bears (Ursus arctos) are often captured and handled for research and management purposes. Although the techniques used are potentially stressful for the animals and might have detrimental and long-lasting consequences, it is difficult to assess their physiological impact. Here we report the use of the leukocyte coping capacity (LCC) technique to quantify the acute stress of capture and handling in brown bears in Scandinavia. In April and May 2012 and 2013, we collected venous blood samples and recorded a range of physiological variables to evaluate the effects of capture and the added impact of surgical implantation or removal of transmitters and sensors. We studied 24 brown bears, including 19 that had abdominal surgery. We found 1) LCC values following capture were lower in solitary bears than in bears in family groups suggesting capture caused relatively more stress in solitary bears, 2) ability to cope with handling stress was better (greater LCC values) in bears with good body condition, and 3) LCC values did not appear to be influenced by surgery. Although further evaluation of this technique is required, our preliminary results support the use of the LCC technique as a quantitative measure of stress. PMID:26845299

  12. Effect of Season and High Ambient Temperature on Activity Levels and Patterns of Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos)

    PubMed Central

    McLellan, Michelle L.; McLellan, Bruce N.

    2015-01-01

    Understanding factors that influence daily and annual activity patterns of a species provides insights to challenges facing individuals, particularly when climate shifts, and thus is important in conservation. Using GPS collars with dual-axis motion sensors that recorded the number of switches every 5 minutes we tested the hypotheses: 1. Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) increase daily activity levels and active bout lengths when they forage on berries, the major high-energy food in this ecosystem, and 2. Grizzly bears become less active and more nocturnal when ambient temperature exceeds 20°C. We found support for hypothesis 1 with both male and female bears being active from 0.7 to 2.8 h longer in the berry season than in other seasons. Our prediction under hypothesis 2 was not supported. When bears foraged on berries on a dry, open mountainside, there was no relationship between daily maximum temperature (which varied from 20.4 to 40.1°C) and the total amount of time bears were active, and no difference in activity levels during day or night between warm (20.4–27.3°C) and hot (27.9–40.1°C) days. Our results highlight the strong influence that food acquisition has on activity levels and patterns of grizzly bears and is a challenge to the heat dissipation limitation theory. PMID:25692979

  13. Effect of season and high ambient temperature on activity levels and patterns of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos).

    PubMed

    McLellan, Michelle L; McLellan, Bruce N

    2015-01-01

    Understanding factors that influence daily and annual activity patterns of a species provides insights to challenges facing individuals, particularly when climate shifts, and thus is important in conservation. Using GPS collars with dual-axis motion sensors that recorded the number of switches every 5 minutes we tested the hypotheses: 1. Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) increase daily activity levels and active bout lengths when they forage on berries, the major high-energy food in this ecosystem, and 2. Grizzly bears become less active and more nocturnal when ambient temperature exceeds 20°C. We found support for hypothesis 1 with both male and female bears being active from 0.7 to 2.8 h longer in the berry season than in other seasons. Our prediction under hypothesis 2 was not supported. When bears foraged on berries on a dry, open mountainside, there was no relationship between daily maximum temperature (which varied from 20.4 to 40.1°C) and the total amount of time bears were active, and no difference in activity levels during day or night between warm (20.4-27.3°C) and hot (27.9-40.1°C) days. Our results highlight the strong influence that food acquisition has on activity levels and patterns of grizzly bears and is a challenge to the heat dissipation limitation theory. PMID:25692979

  14. Behavioural Differences between Single Scandinavian Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) and Females with Dependent Young When Experimentally Approached by Humans

    PubMed Central

    Sahlén, Veronica; Ordiz, Andrés; Swenson, Jon E.; Støen, Ole Gunnar

    2015-01-01

    Carnivore-human encounters that result in human injury present a conservation and management challenge and it is therefore important to understand under what conditions such incidents occur. Females with cubs are often involved when humans are injured by brown bears Ursus arctos. In Scandinavia, this is particularly true for unarmed recreational forest users. Our aim was to document behavioural differences between single bears and females with cubs in order to develop recommendations to minimize the risk of injuries to recreational forest users. We documented the reactions of GPS-collared females with cubs and single brown bears to experimental approaches by humans to 50 m from the bear on 42 and 108 occasions, respectively. The majority of females with cubs (95%) and single bears (89%) left when approached. Bears that left were passed at shorter distances and were in more open areas than those that stayed. Both groups had similar flight initiation distances, which were longer for bears that were active at the time of the disturbance. Females with cubs selected more open habitat than single bears, also for the new site they selected following disturbance. Females with cubs, particularly active females with cubs of the year, moved greater distances and spent more time active following the approach. Females with cubs and single bears were seen or heard in 26% and 14% of the approaches, respectively. None of the bears displayed any aggressive behaviour during the approaches. Females with cubs selected more open habitat, perhaps predisposing them to encountering people that are not involved in hunting activities, which might be the primary explanation why females with cubs are most frequently involved when unarmed people are injured by bears in Scandinavia. To mitigate injury risks, one must consider factors that bring bears closer to human activity in the first place. PMID:25830333

  15. Serum progesterone concentrations using P-EIA kit in captive and free-ranging Hokkaido brown bears, Ursus arctos yesoensis.

    PubMed

    Tsubota, T; Kanagawa, H; Yamamoto, K; Mano, T; Yamanaka, M; Kita, I; Tiba, T

    1992-02-01

    Serum progesterone (P) concentrations using P-EIA kit (Ovucheck, Cambridge Life Science Co., Ltd.) were examined in 8 captive and 7 free-ranging female Hokkaido brown bears (Ursus arctos yesoensis). The intra- and inter-assay coefficients of variation were 8.9%, 12.6% and 16.6%, 22.7%, respectively, based on 2 serum samples. There was a significant correlation between EIA and radioimmunoassay results based on 64 serum samples (r = 0.725; p less than 0.01). Serum P concentrations were examined in 5 pregnant, 2 solitary non-pregnant bears and a lactating non-pregnant bear in captivity. Annual changes of P levels in pregnant bears were observed as a small elevation during the mating season (May-June), a re-elevation in September-October and a sharp elevation in November-December. The sharp elevation was suspected to reflect changes when implantation occurred. Annual changes of P levels in solitary non-pregnant bears were similar to those in pregnant bears. An annual change of P levels in a lactating non-pregnant bear maintained levels under 5 ng/ml. Two of 7 free-ranging bears exhibited P levels over 1 ng/ml and the birth of cubs was confirmed in the following year in 1 of the 2 bears. P concentrations of other free-ranging bears exhibited less than 1 ng/ml, and these bears were considered to be non-pregnant. It was concluded that P-EIA kit was available for measuring P concentrations in Hokkaido brown bears. PMID:1558871

  16. Phylogeography and mitochondrial diversity of extirpated brown bear (Ursus arctos) populations in the contiguous United States and Mexico.

    PubMed

    Miller, C R; Waits, L P; Joyce, P

    2006-12-01

    The fossil record indicates that the brown bear (Ursus arctos) colonized North America from Asia over 50 000 years ago. The species historically occupied the western United States and northern Mexico but has been extirpated from over 99% of this range in the last two centuries. To evaluate colonization hypotheses, subspecific classifications, and historical patterns and levels of genetic diversity in this region, we sequenced 229 nucleotides of the mitochondrial DNA control region in 108 museum specimens. The work was set in a global context by synthesizing all previous brown bear control region sequences from around the world. In mid-latitude North America a single moderately diverse clade is observed, represented by 23 haplotypes with up to 3.5% divergence. Only eight of 23 haplotypes (35%) are observed in the extensively sampled extant populations suggesting a substantial loss of genetic variability. The restriction of all haplotypes from mid-latitude North America to a single clade suggests that this region was founded by bears with a similar maternal ancestry. However, the levels and distributions of diversity also suggest that the colonizing population was not a small founder event, and that expansion occurred long enough ago for local mutations to accrue. Our data are consistent with recent genetic evidence that brown bears were south of the ice prior to the last glacial maximum. There is no support for previous subspecies designations, although bears of the southwestern United States may have had a distinctive, but recent, pattern of ancestry. PMID:17107477

  17. Hibernation-associated changes in persistent organic pollutant (POP) levels and patterns in British Columbia grizzly bears (ursus arctos horribilis).

    PubMed

    Christensen, Jennie R; MacDuffee, Misty; Yunker, Mark B; Ross, Peter S

    2007-03-15

    We hypothesized that depleted fat reserves in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) following annual hibernation would reveal increases in persistent organic pollutant (POP) concentrations compared to those present in the fall. We obtained fat and hair from British Columbia grizzly bears in early spring 2004 to compare with those collected in fall 2003, with the two tissue types providing contaminant and dietary information, respectively. By correcting for the individual feeding habits of grizzlies using a stable isotope-based approach, we found that polychlorinated biphenyls (sigmaPCBs) increased by 2.21x, polybrominated diphenylethers (sigmaPBDEs) increased by 1.58x, and chlordanes (sigmaCHL) by 1.49x in fat following hibernation. Interestingly, individual POPs elicited a wide range of hibernation-associated concentration effects (e.g., CB-153, 2.25x vs CB-169, 0.00x), resulting in POP pattern convergence in a PCA model of two distinct fall feeding groups (salmon-eating vs non-salmon-eating) into a single spring (post-hibernation) group. Our results suggest that diet dictates contaminant patterns during a feeding phase, while metabolism drives patterns during a fasting phase. This work suggests a duality of POP-associated health risks to hibernating grizzly bears: (1) increased concentrations of some POPs during hibernation; and (2) a potentially prolonged accumulation of water-soluble, highly reactive POP metabolites, since grizzly bears do not excrete during hibernation. PMID:17410772

  18. Impacts of rural development on Yellowstone wildlife: linking grizzly bear Ursus arctos demographics with projected residential growth

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schwartz, Charles C.; Gude, Patricia H.; Landenburger, Lisa; Haroldson, Mark A.; Podruzny, Shannon

    2012-01-01

    Exurban development is consuming wildlife habitat within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem with potential consequences to the long-term conservation of grizzly bears Ursus arctos. We assessed the impacts of alternative future land-use scenarios by linking an existing regression-based simulation model predicting rural development with a spatially explicit model that predicted bear survival. Using demographic criteria that predict population trajectory, we portioned habitats into either source or sink, and projected the loss of source habitat associated with four different build out (new home construction) scenarios through 2020. Under boom growth, we predicted that 12 km2 of source habitat were converted to sink habitat within the Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone (RZ), 189 km2 were converted within the current distribution of grizzly bears outside of the RZ, and 289 km2 were converted in the area outside the RZ identified as suitable grizzly bear habitat. Our findings showed that extremely low densities of residential development created sink habitats. We suggest that tools, such as those outlined in this article, in addition to zoning and subdivision regulation may prove more practical, and the most effective means of retaining large areas of undeveloped land and conserving grizzly bear source habitat will likely require a landscape-scale approach. We recommend a focus on land conservation efforts that retain open space (easements, purchases and trades) coupled with the implementation of ‘bear community programmes’ on an ecosystem wide basis in an effort to minimize human-bear conflicts, minimize management-related bear mortalities associated with preventable conflicts and to safeguard human communities. Our approach has application to other species and areas, and it has illustrated how spatially explicit demographic models can be combined with models predicting land-use change to help focus conservation priorities.

  19. Development and application of an antibody-based protein microarray to assess physiological stress in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos)

    PubMed Central

    Carlson, Ruth I.; Cattet, Marc R. L.; Sarauer, Bryan L.; Nielsen, Scott E.; Boulanger, John; Stenhouse, Gordon B.; Janz, David M.

    2016-01-01

    A novel antibody-based protein microarray was developed that simultaneously determines expression of 31 stress-associated proteins in skin samples collected from free-ranging grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in Alberta, Canada. The microarray determines proteins belonging to four broad functional categories associated with stress physiology: hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis proteins, apoptosis/cell cycle proteins, cellular stress/proteotoxicity proteins and oxidative stress/inflammation proteins. Small skin samples (50–100 mg) were collected from captured bears using biopsy punches. Proteins were isolated and labelled with fluorescent dyes, with labelled protein homogenates loaded onto microarrays to hybridize with antibodies. Relative protein expression was determined by comparison with a pooled standard skin sample. The assay was sensitive, requiring 80 µg of protein per sample to be run in triplicate on the microarray. Intra-array and inter-array coefficients of variation for individual proteins were generally <10 and <15%, respectively. With one exception, there were no significant differences in protein expression among skin samples collected from the neck, forelimb, hindlimb and ear in a subsample of n = 4 bears. This suggests that remotely delivered biopsy darts could be used in future sampling. Using generalized linear mixed models, certain proteins within each functional category demonstrated altered expression with respect to differences in year, season, geographical sampling location within Alberta and bear biological parameters, suggesting that these general variables may influence expression of specific proteins in the microarray. Our goal is to apply the protein microarray as a conservation physiology tool that can detect, evaluate and monitor physiological stress in grizzly bears and other species at risk over time in response to environmental change. PMID:27293753

  20. Development and application of an antibody-based protein microarray to assess physiological stress in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos).

    PubMed

    Carlson, Ruth I; Cattet, Marc R L; Sarauer, Bryan L; Nielsen, Scott E; Boulanger, John; Stenhouse, Gordon B; Janz, David M

    2016-01-01

    A novel antibody-based protein microarray was developed that simultaneously determines expression of 31 stress-associated proteins in skin samples collected from free-ranging grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in Alberta, Canada. The microarray determines proteins belonging to four broad functional categories associated with stress physiology: hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis proteins, apoptosis/cell cycle proteins, cellular stress/proteotoxicity proteins and oxidative stress/inflammation proteins. Small skin samples (50-100 mg) were collected from captured bears using biopsy punches. Proteins were isolated and labelled with fluorescent dyes, with labelled protein homogenates loaded onto microarrays to hybridize with antibodies. Relative protein expression was determined by comparison with a pooled standard skin sample. The assay was sensitive, requiring 80 µg of protein per sample to be run in triplicate on the microarray. Intra-array and inter-array coefficients of variation for individual proteins were generally <10 and <15%, respectively. With one exception, there were no significant differences in protein expression among skin samples collected from the neck, forelimb, hindlimb and ear in a subsample of n = 4 bears. This suggests that remotely delivered biopsy darts could be used in future sampling. Using generalized linear mixed models, certain proteins within each functional category demonstrated altered expression with respect to differences in year, season, geographical sampling location within Alberta and bear biological parameters, suggesting that these general variables may influence expression of specific proteins in the microarray. Our goal is to apply the protein microarray as a conservation physiology tool that can detect, evaluate and monitor physiological stress in grizzly bears and other species at risk over time in response to environmental change. PMID:27293753

  1. Genetic characterization of Kenai brown bears (Ursus arctos): Microsatellite and mitochondrial DNA control region variation in brown bears of the Kenai Peninsula, south central Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jackson, J.V.; Talbot, S.L.; Farley, S.

    2008-01-01

    We collected data from 20 biparentally inherited microsatellite loci, and nucleotide sequence from the maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region, to determine levels of genetic variation of the brown bears (Ursus arctos L., 1758) of the Kenai Peninsula, south central Alaska. Nuclear genetic variation was similar to that observed in other Alaskan peninsular populations. We detected no significant inbreeding and found no evidence of population substructuring on the Kenai Peninsula. We observed a genetic signature of a bottleneck under the infinite alleles model (IAM), but not under the stepwise mutation model (SMM) or the two-phase model (TPM) of microsatellite mutation. Kenai brown bears have lower levels of mtDNA haplotypic diversity relative to most other brown bear populations in Alaska. ?? 2008 NRC.

  2. Interthalamic hematoma secondary to cerebrovascular atherosclerosis in an aged grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) with primary cardiac schwannoma.

    PubMed

    Miller, Andrew David; McDonough, Sean

    2008-12-01

    A 38-year-old intact female Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) was evaluated for progressive seizure activity, pale mucous membranes, deficient pupillary light and menace responses, and irregular shallow respiration. Because of poor response to treatment, the animal was euthanized. Gross examination revealed abundant hemorrhage in both lateral ventricles; a large, encapsulated mass within the rostral interthalamic region; and a well-demarcated, round white mass in the apex of the right ventricle. Histologic examination of the interthalamic mass revealed a resolving hematoma composed of stratified layers of fibrin and white blood cells that was surrounded by a thick fibrous capsule. Most meningeal and intraparenchymal blood vessels had multifocal degeneration, fragmentation, and fraying of the internal elastic lamina with prominent intimal proliferations and plaques. The plaques were formed by small numbers of lipid-laden macrophages (foam cells) that were intermixed with occasional lymphocytes and plasma cells. The cardiac mass was composed of pallisading and interlacing spindle cells with parallel nuclei and abundant, pale eosinophilic cytoplasm consistent with a schwannoma. PMID:19110714

  3. Spatial Analysis of Factors Influencing Long-Term Stress in the Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos) Population of Alberta, Canada

    PubMed Central

    Bourbonnais, Mathieu L.; Nelson, Trisalyn A.; Cattet, Marc R. L.; Darimont, Chris T.; Stenhouse, Gordon B.

    2013-01-01

    Non-invasive measures for assessing long-term stress in free ranging mammals are an increasingly important approach for understanding physiological responses to landscape conditions. Using a spatially and temporally expansive dataset of hair cortisol concentrations (HCC) generated from a threatened grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) population in Alberta, Canada, we quantified how variables representing habitat conditions and anthropogenic disturbance impact long-term stress in grizzly bears. We characterized spatial variability in male and female HCC point data using kernel density estimation and quantified variable influence on spatial patterns of male and female HCC stress surfaces using random forests. Separate models were developed for regions inside and outside of parks and protected areas to account for substantial differences in anthropogenic activity and disturbance within the study area. Variance explained in the random forest models ranged from 55.34% to 74.96% for males and 58.15% to 68.46% for females. Predicted HCC levels were higher for females compared to males. Generally, high spatially continuous female HCC levels were associated with parks and protected areas while low-to-moderate levels were associated with increased anthropogenic disturbance. In contrast, male HCC levels were low in parks and protected areas and low-to-moderate in areas with increased anthropogenic disturbance. Spatial variability in gender-specific HCC levels reveal that the type and intensity of external stressors are not uniform across the landscape and that male and female grizzly bears may be exposed to, or perceive, potential stressors differently. We suggest observed spatial patterns of long-term stress may be the result of the availability and distribution of foods related to disturbance features, potential sexual segregation in available habitat selection, and may not be influenced by sources of mortality which represent acute traumas. In this wildlife system and others

  4. Spatial analysis of factors influencing long-term stress in the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) population of Alberta, Canada.

    PubMed

    Bourbonnais, Mathieu L; Nelson, Trisalyn A; Cattet, Marc R L; Darimont, Chris T; Stenhouse, Gordon B

    2013-01-01

    Non-invasive measures for assessing long-term stress in free ranging mammals are an increasingly important approach for understanding physiological responses to landscape conditions. Using a spatially and temporally expansive dataset of hair cortisol concentrations (HCC) generated from a threatened grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) population in Alberta, Canada, we quantified how variables representing habitat conditions and anthropogenic disturbance impact long-term stress in grizzly bears. We characterized spatial variability in male and female HCC point data using kernel density estimation and quantified variable influence on spatial patterns of male and female HCC stress surfaces using random forests. Separate models were developed for regions inside and outside of parks and protected areas to account for substantial differences in anthropogenic activity and disturbance within the study area. Variance explained in the random forest models ranged from 55.34% to 74.96% for males and 58.15% to 68.46% for females. Predicted HCC levels were higher for females compared to males. Generally, high spatially continuous female HCC levels were associated with parks and protected areas while low-to-moderate levels were associated with increased anthropogenic disturbance. In contrast, male HCC levels were low in parks and protected areas and low-to-moderate in areas with increased anthropogenic disturbance. Spatial variability in gender-specific HCC levels reveal that the type and intensity of external stressors are not uniform across the landscape and that male and female grizzly bears may be exposed to, or perceive, potential stressors differently. We suggest observed spatial patterns of long-term stress may be the result of the availability and distribution of foods related to disturbance features, potential sexual segregation in available habitat selection, and may not be influenced by sources of mortality which represent acute traumas. In this wildlife system and others

  5. Vitamin D Status and Bone and Connective Tissue Turnover in Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) during Hibernation and the Active State

    PubMed Central

    Vestergaard, Peter; Støen, Ole-Gunnar; Swenson, Jon E.; Mosekilde, Leif; Heickendorff, Lene; Fröbert, Ole

    2011-01-01

    Background Extended physical inactivity causes disuse osteoporosis in humans. In contrast, brown bears (Ursus arctos) are highly immobilised for half of the year during hibernation without signs of bone loss and therefore may serve as a model for prevention of osteoporosis. Aim To study 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25OHD) levels and bone turnover markers in brown bears during the hibernating state in winter and during the active state in summer. We measured vitamin D subtypes (D2 and D3), calcitropic hormones (parathyroid hormone [PTH], 1,25-dihydroxy-vitamin D [1,25(OH)2D]) and bone turnover parameters (osteocalcin, ICTP, CTX-I), PTH, serum calcium and PIIINP. Material and Methods We drew blood from seven immobilised wild brown bears during hibernation in February and in the same bears while active in June. Results Serum 25-hydroxy-cholecalciferol (25OHD3) was significantly higher in the summer than in the winter (22.8±4.6 vs. 8.8±2.1 nmol/l, two tailed p - 2p = 0.02), whereas 25-hydroxy-ergocalciferol (25OHD2) was higher in winter (54.2±8.3 vs. 18.7±1.7 nmol/l, 2p<0.01). Total serum calcium and PTH levels did not differ between winter and summer. Activated 1,25(OH)2D demonstrated a statistically insignificant trend towards higher summer levels. Osteocalcin levels were higher in summer than winter, whereas other markers of bone turnover (ICTP and CTX-I) were unchanged. Serum PIIINP, which is a marker of connective tissue and to some degree muscle turnover, was significantly higher during summer than during winter. Conclusions Dramatic changes were documented in the vitamin D3/D2 ratio and in markers of bone and connective tissue turnover in brown bears between hibernation and the active state. Because hibernating brown bears do not develop disuse osteoporosis, despite extensive physical inactivity we suggest that they may serve as a model for the prevention of this disease. PMID:21731765

  6. Could brown bears (Ursus arctos) have survived in Ireland during the Last Glacial Maximum?

    PubMed

    Leonard, Saoirse A; Risley, Claire L; Turvey, Samuel T

    2013-08-23

    Brown bears are recorded from Ireland during both the Late Pleistocene and early-mid Holocene. Although most of the Irish landmass was covered by an ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), Irish brown bears are known to have hybridized with polar bears during the Late Pleistocene, and it is suggested that the Irish brown bear population did not become extinct but instead persisted in situ through the LGM in a southwestern ice-free refugium. We use historical population modelling to demonstrate that brown bears are highly unlikely to have survived through the LGM in Ireland under any combination of life-history parameters shown by living bear populations, but instead would have rapidly become extinct following advance of the British-Irish ice sheet, and probably recolonized Ireland during the end-Pleistocene Woodgrange Interstadial from a closely related nearby source population. The time available for brown bear-polar bear hybridization was therefore restricted to narrow periods at the beginning or end of the LGM. Brown bears would have been extremely vulnerable to extinction in Quaternary habitat refugia and required areas substantially larger than southwestern Ireland to survive adverse glacial conditions. PMID:23676655

  7. Admixture and Gene Flow from Russia in the Recovering Northern European Brown Bear (Ursus arctos)

    PubMed Central

    Kopatz, Alexander; Eiken, Hans Geir; Aspi, Jouni; Kojola, Ilpo; Tobiassen, Camilla; Tirronen, Konstantin F.; Danilov, Pjotr I.; Hagen, Snorre B.

    2014-01-01

    Large carnivores were persecuted to near extinction during the last centuries, but have now recovered in some countries. It has been proposed earlier that the recovery of the Northern European brown bear is supported by migration from Russia. We tested this hypothesis by obtaining for the first time continuous sampling of the whole Finnish bear population, which is located centrally between the Russian and Scandinavian bear populations. The Finnish population is assumed to experience high gene flow from Russian Karelia. If so, no or a low degree of genetic differentiation between Finnish and Russian bears could be expected. We have genotyped bears extensively from all over Finland using 12 validated microsatellite markers and compared their genetic composition to bears from Russian Karelia, Sweden, and Norway. Our fine masked investigation identified two overlapping genetic clusters structured by isolation-by-distance in Finland (pairwise FST = 0.025). One cluster included Russian bears, and migration analyses showed a high number of migrants from Russia into Finland, providing evidence of eastern gene flow as an important driver during recovery. In comparison, both clusters excluded bears from Sweden and Norway, and we found no migrants from Finland in either country, indicating that eastern gene flow was probably not important for the population recovery in Scandinavia. Our analyses on different spatial scales suggest a continuous bear population in Finland and Russian Karelia, separated from Scandinavia. PMID:24839968

  8. The Gut Microbiota Modulates Energy Metabolism in the Hibernating Brown Bear Ursus arctos.

    PubMed

    Sommer, Felix; Ståhlman, Marcus; Ilkayeva, Olga; Arnemo, Jon M; Kindberg, Jonas; Josefsson, Johan; Newgard, Christopher B; Fröbert, Ole; Bäckhed, Fredrik

    2016-02-23

    Hibernation is an adaptation that helps many animals to conserve energy during food shortage in winter. Brown bears double their fat depots during summer and use these stored lipids during hibernation. Although bears seasonally become obese, they remain metabolically healthy. We analyzed the microbiota of free-ranging brown bears during their active phase and hibernation. Compared to the active phase, hibernation microbiota had reduced diversity, reduced levels of Firmicutes and Actinobacteria, and increased levels of Bacteroidetes. Several metabolites involved in lipid metabolism, including triglycerides, cholesterol, and bile acids, were also affected by hibernation. Transplantation of the bear microbiota from summer and winter to germ-free mice transferred some of the seasonal metabolic features and demonstrated that the summer microbiota promoted adiposity without impairing glucose tolerance, suggesting that seasonal variation in the microbiota may contribute to host energy metabolism in the hibernating brown bear. PMID:26854221

  9. Late-Quaternary biogeographic scenarios for the brown bear ( Ursus arctos), a wild mammal model species

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Davison, John; Ho, Simon Y. W.; Bray, Sarah C.; Korsten, Marju; Tammeleht, Egle; Hindrikson, Maris; Østbye, Kjartan; Østbye, Eivind; Lauritzen, Stein-Erik; Austin, Jeremy; Cooper, Alan; Saarma, Urmas

    2011-02-01

    This review provides an up-to-date synthesis of the matrilineal phylogeography of a uniquely well-studied Holarctic mammal, the brown bear. We extend current knowledge by presenting a DNA sequence derived from one of the earliest known fossils of a polar bear (dated to 115 000 years before present), a species that shares a paraphyletic mitochondrial association with brown bears. A molecular clock analysis of 140 mitochondrial DNA sequences, including our new polar bear sequence, provides novel insights into the times of origin for different brown bear clades. We propose a number of regional biogeographic scenarios based on genetic data, divergence time estimates and paleontological records. The case of the brown bear provides an example for researchers working with less well-studied taxa: it shows clearly that phylogeographic models based on patterns of modern genetic variation alone can be substantially improved by including data on historical patterns of genetic diversity in the form of ancient DNA sequences derived from accurately dated samples and by using an approach to divergence-time estimation that suits the data under analysis. Using such approaches it has been possible to (i) establish that the processes shaping modern genetic diversity in brown bears acted recently, within the last three glacial cycles; (ii) distinguish among hypotheses concerning species' responses to climatic oscillations in accordance with the lack of phylogeographic structure that existed in brown bears prior to the last glacial maximum (LGM); (iii) reassess theories linking monophyletic brown bear populations to particular LGM refuge areas; and (iv) identify vicariance events and track analogous patterns of migration by brown bears out of Eurasia to North America and Japan.

  10. Split parturition observed in a captive North American brown bear (Ursus arctos).

    PubMed

    Ware, Jasmine V; Nelson, O Lynne; Robbins, Charles T; Jansen, Heiko T

    2012-01-01

    Reproductive physiology in North American ursids is characterized by mating from spring to early summer, delayed implantation, and birth during hibernation. During spring 2008, a captive adult female brown bear was mated with two adult males. Pregnancy was determined by elevated progesterone concentrations during late fall before hibernation. Two male cubs were born on December 31, 2008, and a third female cub was born 17 days later on January 16. All were successfully raised and all were confirmed to have identical paternity. When normalized to age, cub growth rates did not differ. To our knowledge, this is the first documented case of markedly different birth dates in a single litter of brown bear cubs. PMID:22025081

  11. Haematological and biochemical reference intervals for free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Sweden

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Establishment of haematological and biochemical reference intervals is important to assess health of animals on individual and population level. Reference intervals for 13 haematological and 34 biochemical variables were established based on 88 apparently healthy free-ranging brown bears (39 males and 49 females) in Sweden. The animals were chemically immobilised by darting from a helicopter with a combination of medetomidine, tiletamine and zolazepam in April and May 2006–2012 in the county of Dalarna, Sweden. Venous blood samples were collected during anaesthesia for radio collaring and marking for ecological studies. For each of the variables, the reference interval was described based on the 95% confidence interval, and differences due to host characteristics sex and age were included if detected. To our knowledge, this is the first report of reference intervals for free-ranging brown bears in Sweden. Results The following variables were not affected by host characteristics: red blood cell, white blood cell, monocyte and platelet count, alanine transaminase, amylase, bilirubin, free fatty acids, glucose, calcium, chloride, potassium, and cortisol. Age differences were seen for the majority of the haematological variables, whereas sex influenced only mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration, aspartate aminotransferase, lipase, lactate dehydrogenase, β-globulin, bile acids, triglycerides and sodium. Conclusions The biochemical and haematological reference intervals provided and the differences due to host factors age and gender can be useful for evaluation of health status in free-ranging European brown bears. PMID:25139149

  12. An evaluation of long-term preservation methods for brown bear (Ursus arctos) faecal DNA samples

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Murphy, M.A.; Waits, L.P.; Kendall, K.C.; Wasser, S.K.; Higbee, J.A.; Bogden, R.

    2002-01-01

    Relatively few large-scale faecal DNA studies have been initiated due to difficulties in amplifying low quality and quantity DNA template. To improve brown bear faecal DNA PCR amplification success rates and to determine post collection sample longevity, five preservation methods were evaluated: 90% ethanol, DETs buffer, silica-dried, oven-dried stored at room temperature, and oven-dried stored at -20??C. Preservation effectiveness was evaluated for 50 faecal samples by PCR amplification of a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) locus (???146 bp) and a nuclear DNA (nDNA) locus (???200 bp) at time points of one week, one month, three months and six months. Preservation method and storage time significantly impacted mtDNA and nDNA amplification success rates. For mtDNA, all preservation methods had ??? 75% success at one week, but storage time had a significant impact on the effectiveness of the silica preservation method. Ethanol preserved samples had the highest success rates for both mtDNA (86.5%) and nDNA (84%). Nuclear DNA amplification success rates ranged from 26-88%, and storage time had a significant impact on all methods but ethanol. Preservation method and storage time should be important considerations for researchers planning projects utilizing faecal DNA. We recommend preservation of faecal samples in 90% ethanol when feasible, although when collecting in remote field conditions or for both DNA and hormone assays a dry collection method may be advantageous.

  13. Pronounced expression of the lipolytic inhibitor G0/G1 Switch Gene 2 (G0S2) in adipose tissue from brown bears (Ursus arctos) prior to hibernation.

    PubMed

    Jessen, Niels; Nielsen, Thomas S; Vendelbo, Mikkel H; Viggers, Rikke; Støen, Ole-Gunnar; Evans, Alina; Frøbert, Ole

    2016-04-01

    Prior to hibernation, the brown bear (Ursus arctos) exhibits unparalleled weight gain. Unlike humans, weight gain in bears is associated with lower levels of circulating free fatty acids (FFA) and increased insulin sensitivity. Understanding how free-ranging brown bears suppress lipolysis when gaining weight may therefore provide novel insight toward the development of human therapies. Blood and subcutaneous adipose tissue were collected from immobilized free-ranging brown bears (fitted with GPS-collars) during hibernation in winter and from the same bears during the active period in summer in Dalarna, Sweden. The expression of lipid droplet-associated proteins in adipose tissue was examined under the hypothesis that bears suppress lipolysis during summer while gaining weight by increased expression of negative regulators of lipolysis. Adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL) expression did not differ between seasons, but in contrast, the expression of ATGL coactivator Comparative gene identification-58 (CGI-58) was lower in summer. In addition, the expression of the negative regulators of lipolysis, G0S2 and cell-death inducing DNA fragmentation factor-a-like effector (CIDE)C markedly increased during summer. Free-ranging brown bears display potent upregulation of inhibitors of lipolysis in adipose tissue during summer. This is a potential mechanism for increased insulin sensitivity during weight gain and G0S2 may serve as a target to modulate insulin sensitivity. PMID:27117803

  14. Positive Reinforcement Training for Blood Collection in Grizzly Bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) Results in Undetectable Elevations in Serum Cortisol Levels: A Preliminary Investigation.

    PubMed

    Joyce-Zuniga, Nicole M; Newberry, Ruth C; Robbins, Charles T; Ware, Jasmine V; Jansen, Heiko T; Nelson, O Lynne

    2016-01-01

    Training nonhuman animals in captivity for participation in routine husbandry procedures is believed to produce a lower stress environment compared with undergoing a general anesthetic event for the same procedure. This hypothesis rests largely on anecdotal evidence that the captive subjects appear more relaxed with the trained event. Blood markers of physiological stress responses were evaluated in 4 captive grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) who were clicker-trained for blood collection versus 4 bears who were chemically immobilized for blood collection. Serum cortisol and immunoglobulin A (IgA) and plasma β-endorphin were measured as indicators of responses to stress. Plasma β-endorphin was not different between the groups. Serum IgA was undetectable in all bears. Serum cortisol was undetectable in all trained bears, whereas chemically immobilized bears had marked cortisol elevations (p < .05). The highest cortisol elevations were found in 2 bears with extensive recent immobilization experience. These findings support the use of positive reinforcement training for routine health procedures to minimize anxiety. PMID:26847149

  15. Assessment of pesticide residues in army cutworm moths (Euxoa auxiliaris) from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and their potential consequences to foraging grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Robison, H.L.; Schwartz, C.C.; Petty, J.D.; Brussard, P.F.

    2006-01-01

    During summer, a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) (USA) can excavate and consume millions of army cutworm moths (Euxoa auxiliaris) (ACMs) that aggregate in high elevation talus. Grizzly bears in the GYE were listed as threatened by the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1975 and were proposed for delisting in 2005. However, questions remain about key bear foods. For example, ACMs are agricultural pests and concern exists about whether they contain pesticides that could be toxic to bears. Consequently, we investigated whether ACMs contain and transport pesticides to bear foraging sites and, if so, whether these levels could be toxic to bears. In 1999 we collected and analyzed ACMs from six bear foraging sites. ACMs were screened for 32 pesticides with gas chromatography with electron capture detection (GC-ECD). Because gas chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) can be more sensitive than GC-ECD for certain pesticides, we revisited one site in 2001 and analyzed these ACMs with GC-MS/MS. ACMs contained trace or undetectable levels of pesticides in 1999 and 2001, respectively. Based on chemical levels in ACMs and numbers of ACMs a bear can consume, we calculated the potential of chemicals to reach physiological toxicity. These calculations indicate bears do not consume physiologically toxic levels of pesticides and allay concerns they are at risk from pesticides transported by ACMs. If chemical control of ACMs changes in the future, screening new ACM samples taken from bear foraging sites may be warranted. ?? 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

  16. Y-chromosomal testing of brown bears (Ursus arctos): Validation of a multiplex PCR-approach for nine STRs suitable for fecal and hair samples.

    PubMed

    Aarnes, Siv Grethe; Hagen, Snorre B; Andreassen, Rune; Schregel, Julia; Knappskog, Per M; Hailer, Frank; Stenhouse, Gordon; Janke, Axel; Eiken, Hans Geir

    2015-11-01

    High-resolution Y-chromosomal markers have been applied to humans and other primates to study population genetics, migration, social structures and reproduction. Y-linked markers allow the direct assessment of the genetic structure and gene flow of uniquely male inherited lineages and may also be useful for wildlife conservation and forensics, but have so far been available only for few wild species. Thus, we have developed two multiplex PCR reactions encompassing nine Y-STR markers identified from the brown bear (Ursus arctos) and tested them on hair, fecal and tissue samples. The multiplex PCR approach was optimized and analyzed for species specificity, sensitivity and stutter-peak ratios. The nine Y-STRs also showed specific STR-fragments for male black bears and male polar bears, while none of the nine markers produced any PCR products when using DNA from female bears or males from 12 other mammals. The multiplex PCR approach in two PCR reactions could be amplified with as low as 0.2 ng template input. Precision was high in DNA templates from hairs, fecal scats and tissues, with standard deviations less than 0.14 and median stutter ratios from 0.04 to 0.63. Among the eight di- and one tetra-nucleotide repeat markers, we detected simple repeat structures in seven of the nine markers with 9-25 repeat units. Allelic variation was found for eight of the nine Y-STRs, with 2-9 alleles for each marker and a total of 36 alleles among 453 male brown bears sampled mainly from Northern Europe. We conclude that the multiplex PCR approach with these nine Y-STRs would provide male bear Y-chromosomal specificity and evidence suited for samples from conservation and wildlife forensics. PMID:26264959

  17. The percentage of spermatozoa lost during the centrifugation of brown bear (Ursus arctos) ejaculates is associated with some spermatozoa quality and seminal plasma characteristics.

    PubMed

    Alvarez, M; Nicolas, M; Borragán, S; Lopez-Urueña, E; Anel-López, L; Martinez-Pastor, F; Tamayo-Canul, J; Anel, L; de Paz, P

    2012-11-01

    Cryopreservation of brown bear (Ursus arctos) semen requires centrifugation to increase concentration and/or remove urine contamination. However, a percentage of the spermatozoa are lost in the process. This percentage varies considerably between males and ejaculates, and we have studied the effect of sperm quality and seminal plasma characteristics on the spermatozoa recovery rate after centrifugation. One hundred and thirty one sperm samples obtained from fifteen brown bear males by electroejaculation under general anaesthesia were used. The ejaculates were centrifuged 600 × g for 6 min. Motility was assessed by CASA, and acrosomal status (PNA-FITC) and viability (SYBR-14/propidium iodide) were determined by flow cytometry. Seminal plasma characteristics (albumin, alkaline phosphatase, calcium, cholesterol, creatine, glucose, glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (GOT), lactate, lipase, magnesium, phosphate and total protein) were determined by a biochemical and gas analysis. Total motility (r = 0.26; P=0.005) and cell viability (r = 0.20; P = 0.033) were positively correlated with the percentage of recovered spermatozoa. Sperm recovery was correlated with the concentration of several components of seminal plasma: negatively with glucose concentration (r = -0.47; P = 0.005) and positively with the enzymes GOT (r = 0.36; P = 0.040) and lactate dehydrogenase (r = 0.36; P = 0.041). After sorting the data into classes according to sperm recovery (Low: 0-39, Medium: 40-69, High: 70-100), we observed that the samples with a lower recovery rate derived from ejaculates with lower values for TM, VAP and viability (P<0.05). Multiple regression analysis rendered two models to define the post-centrifugation spermatozoa recovery which included total motility and damaged acrosome or glucose, GOT and lactate dehydrogenase. We discuss these relationships and their implications in the electroejaculation procedure and the handling of the sample during centrifugation. PMID:23084761

  18. The addition of heat shock protein HSPA8 to cryoprotective media improves the survival of brown bear (Ursus arctos) spermatozoa during chilling and after cryopreservation.

    PubMed

    Alvarez-Rodríguez, M; Alvarez, M; Borragan, S; Martinez-Pastor, F; Holt, W V; Fazeli, A; de Paz, P; Anel, L

    2013-02-01

    the quality of brown bear (Ursus arctos) sperm during chilling (viability) and after cryopreservation (number of sperm with damaged acrosomes and "apoptotic-like" changes). PMID:23237481

  19. Modeling the effects of human activity on Katmai brown bears (Ursus arctos) through the use of survival analysis

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, T.S.; Johnson, B.A.

    2004-01-01

    Brown bear-human interactions were observed in 1993, 1995, and 1997 at Kulik River in Katmai National Park and Preserve, Alaska. We analyzed these interactions using survival analysis, creating survival curves for the time that bears remained on the river in the presence, and absence, of human activity. Bear-only survival curves did not vary significantly between years (p = 0.067). Ninety-seven percent of bears left the river within 70 minutes of arrival in all years. Temporal patterns of bear activity were unaffected by the presence of humans as long as the bears did not share river zones with humans (p = 0.062 to p = 0.360). When people and bears did not share river zones, 38.6% (1993), 36.0% (1995), and 37.0% (1997) of bears remained on the river for at least 10 minutes after arrival. In contrast, when people and bears shared river zones, fewer bears remained on the river after the first 10 minutes, with 28.6% (1993), 25.0% (1995), and 32.6% (1997) observed in each year. We conclude that human activity displaced 26.0% (1993), 30.5% (1995), and 12.0% (1997) of the bears using the river, which otherwise would likely have remained longer. Over the three years of study, habituation to human activity may account for observed changes in bears' use of the river.

  20. Decreased bone turnover with balanced resorption and formation prevent cortical bone loss during disuse (hibernation) in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis).

    PubMed

    McGee, Meghan E; Maki, Aaron J; Johnson, Steven E; Nelson, O Lynne; Robbins, Charles T; Donahue, Seth W

    2008-02-01

    Disuse uncouples bone formation from resorption, leading to increased porosity, decreased bone geometrical properties, and decreased bone mineral content which compromises bone mechanical properties and increases fracture risk. However, black bear bone properties are not adversely affected by aging despite annual periods of disuse (i.e., hibernation), which suggests that bears either prevent bone loss during disuse or lose bone and subsequently recover it at a faster rate than other animals. Here we show decreased cortical bone turnover during hibernation with balanced formation and resorption in grizzly bear femurs. Hibernating grizzly bear femurs were less porous and more mineralized, and did not demonstrate any changes in cortical bone geometry or whole bone mechanical properties compared to active grizzly bear femurs. The activation frequency of intracortical remodeling was 75% lower during hibernation than during periods of physical activity, but the normalized mineral apposition rate was unchanged. These data indicate that bone turnover decreases during hibernation, but osteons continue to refill at normal rates. There were no changes in regional variation of porosity, geometry, or remodeling indices in femurs from hibernating bears, indicating that hibernation did not preferentially affect one region of the cortex. Thus, grizzly bears prevent bone loss during disuse by decreasing bone turnover and maintaining balanced formation and resorption, which preserves bone structure and strength. These results support the idea that bears possess a biological mechanism to prevent disuse osteoporosis. PMID:18037367

  1. The “Bear” Essentials: Actualistic Research on Ursus arctos arctos in the Spanish Pyrenees and Its Implications for Paleontology and Archaeology

    PubMed Central

    Arilla, Maite; Rosell, Jordi; Blasco, Ruth; Domínguez-Rodrigo, Manuel; Pickering, Travis Rayne

    2014-01-01

    Neotaphonomic studies of large carnivores are used to create models in order to explain the formation of terrestrial vertebrate fossil faunas. The research reported here adds to the growing body of knowledge on the taphonomic consequences of large carnivore behavior in temperate habitats and has important implications for paleontology and archaeology. Using photo- and videotrap data, we were able to describe the consumption of 17 ungulate carcasses by wild brown bears (Ursus arctos arctos) ranging the Spanish Pyrenees. Further, we analyzed the taphonomic impact of these feeding bouts on the bones recovered from those carcasses. The general sequence of consumption that we charted starts with separation of a carcass’s trunk; viscera are generally eaten first, followed by musculature of the humerus and femur. Long limb bones are not broken open for marrow extraction. Bears did not transport carcasses or carcass parts from points of feeding and did not disperse bones appreciably (if at all) from their anatomical positions. The general pattern of damage that resulted from bear feeding includes fracturing, peeling, crenulation, tooth pitting and scoring of axial and girdle elements and furrowing of the upper long limb bones. As predicted from observational data, the taphonomic consequences of bear feeding resemble those of other non-durophagus carnivores, such as felids, and are distinct from those of durophagus carnivores, such as hyenids. Our results have paleontological and archaeological relevance. Specifically, they may prove useful in building analogical models for interpreting the formation of fossil faunas for which bears are suspected bone accumulators and/or modifiers. More generally, our comparative statistical analyses draw precise quantitative distinctions between bone damage patterns imparted respectively by durophagus (modelled here primarily by spotted hyenas [Crocuta crocuta] and wolves [Canis lupus]) and non-durophagus (modelled here by brown bears

  2. Inter- and intraspecific mitochondrial DNA variation in North American bears (Ursus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cronin, M.A.; Amstrup, S.; Garner, G.; Vyse, E.R.

    1991-01-01

    We assessed mitochondrial DNA variation in North American black bears (Ursus americanus), brown bears (Ursus arctos), and polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Divergent mitochondrial DNA haplotypes (0.05 base substitutions per nucleotide) were identified in populations of black bears from Montana and Oregon. In contrast, very similar haplotypes occur in black bears across North America. This discordance of haplotype phylogeny and geographic distribution indicates that there has been maintenance of polymorphism and considerable gene flow throughout the history of the species. Intraspecific mitochondrial DNA sequence divergence in brown bears and polar bears is lower than in black bears. The two morphological forms of U. arctos, grizzly and coastal brown bears, are not in distinct mtDNA lineages. Interspecific comparisons indicate that brown bears and polar bears share similar mitochondrial DNA (0.023 base substitutions per nucleotide) which is quite divergent (0.078 base substitutions per nucleotide) from that of black bears. High mitochondrial DNA divergence within black bears and paraphyletic relationships of brown and polar bear mitochondrial DNA indicate that intraspecific variation across species' ranges should be considered in phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial DNA.

  3. An Evolutionarily Young Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Endogenous Retrovirus Identified from Next Generation Sequence Data

    PubMed Central

    Tsangaras, Kyriakos; Mayer, Jens; Alquezar-Planas, David E.; Greenwood, Alex D.

    2015-01-01

    Transcriptome analysis of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) tissues identified sequences with similarity to Porcine Endogenous Retroviruses (PERV). Based on these sequences, four proviral copies and 15 solo long terminal repeats (LTRs) of a newly described endogenous retrovirus were characterized from the polar bear draft genome sequence. Closely related sequences were identified by PCR analysis of brown bear (Ursus arctos) and black bear (Ursus americanus) but were absent in non-Ursinae bear species. The virus was therefore designated UrsusERV. Two distinct groups of LTRs were observed including a recombinant ERV that contained one LTR belonging to each group indicating that genomic invasions by at least two UrsusERV variants have recently occurred. Age estimates based on proviral LTR divergence and conservation of integration sites among ursids suggest the viral group is only a few million years old. The youngest provirus was polar bear specific, had intact open reading frames (ORFs) and could potentially encode functional proteins. Phylogenetic analyses of UrsusERV consensus protein sequences suggest that it is part of a pig, gibbon and koala retrovirus clade. The young age estimates and lineage specificity of the virus suggests UrsusERV is a recent cross species transmission from an unknown reservoir and places the viral group among the youngest of ERVs identified in mammals. PMID:26610552

  4. An Evolutionarily Young Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Endogenous Retrovirus Identified from Next Generation Sequence Data.

    PubMed

    Tsangaras, Kyriakos; Mayer, Jens; Alquezar-Planas, David E; Greenwood, Alex D

    2015-11-01

    Transcriptome analysis of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) tissues identified sequences with similarity to Porcine Endogenous Retroviruses (PERV). Based on these sequences, four proviral copies and 15 solo long terminal repeats (LTRs) of a newly described endogenous retrovirus were characterized from the polar bear draft genome sequence. Closely related sequences were identified by PCR analysis of brown bear (Ursus arctos) and black bear (Ursus americanus) but were absent in non-Ursinae bear species. The virus was therefore designated UrsusERV. Two distinct groups of LTRs were observed including a recombinant ERV that contained one LTR belonging to each group indicating that genomic invasions by at least two UrsusERV variants have recently occurred. Age estimates based on proviral LTR divergence and conservation of integration sites among ursids suggest the viral group is only a few million years old. The youngest provirus was polar bear specific, had intact open reading frames (ORFs) and could potentially encode functional proteins. Phylogenetic analyses of UrsusERV consensus protein sequences suggest that it is part of a pig, gibbon and koala retrovirus clade. The young age estimates and lineage specificity of the virus suggests UrsusERV is a recent cross species transmission from an unknown reservoir and places the viral group among the youngest of ERVs identified in mammals. PMID:26610552

  5. Spinal cord compression in two related Ursus arctos horribilis.

    PubMed

    Thomovsky, Stephanie A; Chen, Annie V; Roberts, Greg R; Schmidt, Carrie E; Layton, Arthur W

    2012-09-01

    Two 15-yr-old grizzly bear littermates were evaluated within 9 mo of each other with the symptom of acute onset of progressive paraparesis and proprioceptive ataxia. The most significant clinical examination finding was pelvic limb paresis in both bears. Magnetic resonance examinations of both bears showed cranial thoracic spinal cord compression. The first bear had left-sided extradural, dorsolateral spinal cord compression at T3-T4. Vertebral canal stenosis was also observed at T2-T3. Images of the second bear showed lateral spinal cord compression from T2-T3 to T4-T5. Intervertebral disk disease and associated spinal cord compression was also observed at T2-T3 and T3-T4. One grizzly bear continued to deteriorate despite reduced exercise, steroid, and antibiotic therapy. The bear was euthanized, and a necropsy was performed. The postmortem showed a spinal ganglion cyst that caused spinal cord compression at the level of T3-T4. Wallerian-like degeneration was observed from C3-T6. The second bear was prescribed treatment that consisted of a combination of reduced exercise and steroid therapy. He continued to deteriorate with these medical therapies and was euthanized 4 mo after diagnosis. A necropsy showed hypertrophy and protrusion of the dorsal longitudinal ligament at T2-T3 and T3-T4, with resulting spinal cord compression in this region. Wallerian-like degeneration was observed from C2-L1. This is one of few case reports that describes paresis in bears. It is the only case report, to the authors' knowledge, that describes spinal magnetic resonance imaging findings in a grizzly bear and also the only report that describes a cranial thoracic myelopathy in two related grizzly bears with neurologic signs. PMID:23082524

  6. Elemental mapping in fossil tooth root section of Ursus arctos by laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS).

    PubMed

    Vašinová Galiová, M; Nývltová Fišáková, M; Kynický, J; Prokeš, L; Neff, H; Mason, A Z; Gadas, P; Košler, J; Kanický, V

    2013-02-15

    Laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) was used to map the matrix (Ca, P) and trace (Ba, Sr, Zn) elements in the root section of a fossilized brown bear (Ursus arctos) tooth. Multielemental analysis was performed on a (2.5 × 1.5)cm(2) area. For elemental distribution, a UP 213 laser ablation system was coupled either with a quadrupole or a time of flight ICP-MS. The cementum and dentine on the slice of the sample surface were clearly distinguishable, especially changes in elemental distribution in the summer and winter bands in the fossil root dentine. Migration and diet of U. arctos were determined on the basis of fluctuations in Sr/Zn ratio and their contents. Quantification was accomplished with standard reference material of bone meal (NIST 1486) and by the use of electron microprobe analysis (EMPA). Changes in Sr/Zn and Sr/Ba ratios relating to the season, and composition of food during the lifetime of the animal are discussed on basis of analysis of light stable isotopes. It was observed that there was an increase in the Sr/Zn ratio during the winter season caused by a reduction of food intake during hibernation. Above mentioned inferences drawn from elemental data obtained by LA-ICP-MS were confirmed independently by determination of carbon, nitrogen and strontium isotopes. Moreover, diagenesis and its interfering influence on the biogenic composition of cementum and dentine were resolved. According to the distribution and/or content of the element of interest, post-mortem alterations were revealed. Namely, U, Na, Fe, Mg and F predicate about the suitability of the selected area for determination of migration and diet. PMID:23598013

  7. Mercury biomagnification in polar bears ( Ursus maritimus)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horton, T. W.; Blum, J. D.; Xie, Z.; Hren, M.; Chamberlain, C. P.

    2007-12-01

    Mercury biomagnification occurs in a variety of ecosystems resulting in greater potential for toxicological effects in higher-level trophic feeders. However, Hg transport pathways through different foodweb channels are not well known, particularly in high-latitude systems affected by atmospheric Hg deposition associated with snow and ice. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios and Hg concentrations determined for 26 late 19th and early 20th century polar bear hair specimens collected from cataloged museum collections elucidate relationships between high latitude marine foodweb structure and Hg transport pathways. Nitrogen and carbon isotopic compositions suggest that polar bears derive nutrition from both open water (pelagic) and ice associated (sympagic) foodweb channels. Correlation between Hg concentrations and nitrogen isotope compositions indicate mercury biomagnification occurred in most of the polar bears investigated. Interpretation of stable isotope based foodweb structure in concert with Hg concentrations further suggests that Hg biomagnification occurred to a greater degree in polar bears participating in pelagic foodweb channels.

  8. Adaptation of the muscles of mastication to the flat skull feature in the polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Sasaki, M; Endo, H; Yamagiwa, D; Takagi, H; Arishima, K; Makita, T; Hayashi, Y

    2000-01-01

    The muscles of mastication of the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and those of the brown bear (U. arctos) were examined by anatomical approach. In addition, the examination of the skull was carried out in the polar bear, brown bear and giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). In the polar bear, the rostro-ventral part of the superficial layer of the M. masseter possessed the abundant fleshy portion folded in the rostral and lateral directions like an accordion. Moreover, the rostro-medial area of the superficial layer became hollow in the nuchal direction when the mouth was closed. The M. temporalis of the polar bear covered up the anterior border of the coronoid process of the mandible and occupied the almost entire area of the cranial surface. The M. pterygoideus medialis of the polar bear was inserted on the ventral border of the mandible and on the ventral part of the temporal bone more widely than that of the brown bear. As results of our measurements of the mandible, an effect of the leverage in the polar bear was the smallest in three species. In the polar bear, the skull was flat, and the space between zygomatic arch and ventral border of the mandible, occupied by the M. masseter was the narrowest. It is suggested that the muscles of mastication of the polar bear is adapted to the flat skull feature for supplementing the functions. PMID:10676883

  9. Induction of pseudopregnancy in the American Black Bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Schulz, Laura Clamon; Nelson, Ralph A; Pyter, Leah M; Bahr, Janice M

    2003-08-01

    The aim of this study was to determine whether American Black Bears (Ursus americanus) can experience a pseudopregnancy of the same duration as pregnancy. To do this, we treated three nonmated, captive female bears with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) during one breeding season, and saline during another. Progesterone concentrations were measured in monthly blood samples to determine whether pseudopregnancy had occurred. Elevated progesterone concentrations were observed in two out of three bears treated with hCG. We conclude that 1) Elevated progesterone concentrations can be induced in black bears by injection of 35 U/kg hCG during the mating season. 2) Bears can experience a pseudopregnancy, identical in length to pregnancy, in which progesterone profiles are indistinguishable from those of pregnancy. PMID:12884278

  10. Omental torsion in a captive polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Mendez-Angulo, Jose L; Funes, Francisco J; Trent, Ava M; Willette, Michelle; Woodhouse, Kerry; Renier, Anna C

    2014-03-01

    This is the first case report of an omental torsion in a polar bear (Ursus maritimus). A captive, 23-yr-old, 250-kg, intact female polar bear presented to the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center with a 2-day history of lethargy, depression, and vomiting. Abdominal ultrasound identified large amounts of hyperechoic free peritoneal fluid. Ultrasound-guided abdominocentesis was performed and yielded thick serosanguinous fluid compatible with a hemoabdomen. An exploratory laparotomy revealed a large amount of malodorous, serosanguineous fluid and multiple necrotic blood clots associated with a torsion of the greater omentum and rupture of a branch of the omental artery. A partial omentectomy was performed to remove the necrotic tissue and the abdomen was copiously lavaged. The polar bear recovered successfully and is reported to be clinically well 6 mo later. This condition should be considered as a differential in bears with clinical signs of intestinal obstruction and hemoabdomen. PMID:24712179

  11. Cretinism in a North American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Duncan, Robert B; Jones, Jeryl C; Moll, H David; Moon, Martha M; Blodgett, Dennis J; Vaughan, Michael R

    2002-01-01

    Congenital hyperplastic goiter and cretinism were documented in a 16 month-old male North American black bear (Ursus americanus). The cub was captured at approximately 8 months of age and maintained for an additional 8 months in captivity. Clinical signs included growth retardation, clumsiness, and facial dysmorphism. Hypothyroidism was documented by determining serum triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) levels. Lysosomal storage disease was ruled out by measuring various lysosomal enzyme activities. Serologic, radiographic, computed tomographic, necropsy, and histopathologic findings were consistent with congenital hypothyroidism and cretinism. PMID:11866041

  12. HYDROCEPHALUS IN THREE JUVENILE NORTH AMERICAN BLACK BEARS (URSUS AMERICANUS).

    PubMed

    Ferguson, Sylvia H; Novak, Janelle; Hecht, Silke; Craig, Linden E

    2016-06-01

    Hydrocephalus has been reported in a variety of species, including the North American black bear ( Ursus americanus ). This report describes three cases of hydrocephalus in this species from wild bears aged 3-4 mo considered retrospectively from necropsy records of one institution. Clinical signs included cortical blindness and ataxia. Primary gross findings were doming of the skull, gyri compression and flattening, and lateral ventricle dilation. Two cases had severe bilateral ventricular dilation with loss of the septum pellucidum; atrophy of the surrounding corpus callosum; and bilateral periventricular tears involving the caudate nuclei, internal capsule, and adjacent cerebrum. Histologically, the cases with periventricular tearing had severe axonal loss and degeneration, malacia, hemorrhage, and variable periventricular astrocytosis. All cases were likely congenital, given the bears' age and lack of an apparent acquired obstruction. PMID:27468040

  13. Tetranucleotide microsatellite loci from the black bear (Ursus americanus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Sanderlin, J.S.; Faircloth, B.C.; Shamblin, B.; Conroy, M.J.

    2009-01-01

    We describe primers and polymerase chain reaction conditions to amplify 21 tetranucleotide microsatellite DNA loci in black bears (Ursus americanus). We tested primers using individuals from two populations, one each in Georgia and Florida. Among individuals from Georgia (n = 29), primer pairs yielded an average of 2.9 alleles (range, one to four) and an average observed heterozygosity (HO) of 0.50 (range, 0.00 to 0.79). Among individuals from Florida (n = 19), primer pairs yielded an average of 5.7 alleles (range, one to 14) and an HO of 0.55 (range, 0.00 to 1.00). A comparison of previously developed markers with individuals from Georgia suggests that bear populations in Georgia and Florida have reduced allelic diversity relative to other populations. ?? 2008 The Authors.

  14. Serosurvey of selected zoonotic agents in polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rah, H.; Chomel, B.B.; Follmann, E.H.; Kasten, R.W.; Hew, C.H.; Farver, T.B.; Garner, G.W.; Amstrup, Steven C.

    2005-01-01

    Between 1982 and 1999 blood samples were collected from 500 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) captured in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, to determine the seroprevalence of Brucella species, Toxoplasma gondii, and Trichinella species infections. The bears were classified into four age groups, cubs, yearlings, subadults and adults. Brucella and Toxoplasma antibodies were detected by agglutination (a buffered acidified card antigen and rapid automated presumptive test for brucellosis and a commercial latex agglutination test for toxoplasmosis); an ELISA was used to detect Thichinella antibodies. The overall seroprevalence of Brucella species was 5 per cent, and subadults and yearlings were 2.62 times (95 per cent confidence interval 1-02 to 6-82) more likely to be seropositive for Brucella species than adults and their cubs. The antibody prevalence for Toxoplasma gondii was 6 per cent, and for Trichinella species 55.6 per cent. The prevalence of antibodies to Trichinella species increased with age (P<0.001).

  15. Spatial memory in captive American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Zamisch, Valeria; Vonk, Jennifer

    2012-11-01

    The spatial memory and foraging strategies of four adult captive-born American black bears (Ursus americanus) were explored in four experiments using a simulated foraging task. In the first three experiments, each session consisted of two phases separated by a delay: During the exploration phase, subjects foraged among a set of baited and unbaited sites. During the delay, the same locations were rebaited and subjects were released again and allowed to search the sites (search phase). In Experiments 1a and 1b, different sites were baited each day and the interval between exploration and search was short (4 hr or 15 min). Subjects were not accurate at recovering the food items in either experiment. In Experiment 2, an "informed forager" paradigm was used in which one subject was given privileged knowledge about the location of the food during the exploration phase and was later released with an "uninformed" competitor during the search phase. The bears did not achieve above-chance recovery accuracy even in the presence of a competitor. In Experiment 3, the same two of four sites were continually baited and the bears were released simultaneously over a period of 20 days, with each baiting separated by 2 or 3 days. As a group, the bears' foraging accuracy with repeated baiting and longer intervals approached greater than chance accuracy. Results suggest some limitations on bears' use of spatial memory in captive environments, but reveal the potential for use of spatial memory over longer delays. PMID:22545764

  16. SARCOCYSTIS URSUSI, N. SP (APICOMPLEXA; SARCOCYSTIDAE) FROM THE BLACK BEAR (URSUS AMERICANUS)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Infection with Sarcocystis species is common in hervibores but is rare in bears. Histological sections of 374 black bears (Ursus americanus) from Pennsylvania were examined for sarcocysts. A total of 3 sarcocysts were found in 3 bears, 1 sarcocyst per section. Sarcocysts from 2 bears were considered...

  17. Circumpolar study of perfluoroalkyl contaminants in polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Smithwick, Marla; Mabury, Scott A; Solomon, Keith R; Sonne, Christian; Martin, Jonathan W; Born, Erik W; Dietz, Rune; Derocher, Andrew E; Letcher, Robert J; Evans, Thomas J; Gabrielsen, Geir W; Nagy, John; Stirling, Ian; Taylor, Mitch K; Muir, Derek C G

    2005-08-01

    Perfluoroalkyl substances were determined in liver tissues and blood of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from five locations in the North American Arctic and two locations in the European Arctic. Concentrations of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorohexane sulfonate, heptadecafluorooctane sulfonamide, and perfluoroalkyl carboxylates with C(8)-C(15) perfluorinated carbon chains were determined using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. PFOS concentrations were significantly correlated with age at four of seven sampling locations, while gender was not correlated to concentration for any compound measured. Populations in South Hudson Bay (2000-2730 ng/g wet wt), East Greenland (911-2140 ng/g wet wt), and Svalbard (756-1290 ng/g wet wt) had significantly (P < 0.05) higher PFOS concentrations than western populations such as the Chukchi Sea (435-729 ng/g wet wt). Concentrations of perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) with adjacent chain lengths (i.e., C9:C10 and C10:C11) were significantly correlated (P < 0.05), suggesting PFCAs have a common source within a location, but there were differences in proportions of PFCAs between eastern and western location sources. Concentrations of PFOS in liver tissue at five locations were correlated with concentrations of four polychlorinated biphenyl congeners (180, 153, 138, and 99) in adipose tissue of bears in the same populations, suggesting similar transport pathways and source regions of PFOS or precursors. PMID:16124282

  18. Bears "Count" Too: Quantity Estimation and Comparison in Black Bears (Ursus Americanus).

    PubMed

    Vonk, Jennifer; Beran, Michael J

    2012-07-01

    Studies of bear cognition are notably missing from the comparative record despite bears' large relative brain size and interesting status as generalist carnivores facing complex foraging challenges, but lacking complex social structures. We investigated the numerical abilities of three American black bears (Ursus Americanus) by presenting discrimination tasks on a touch-screen computer. One bear chose the larger of two arrays of dot stimuli, while two bears chose the smaller array of dots. On some trials the relative number of dots was congruent with the relative total area of the two arrays. On other trials number of dots was incongruent with area. All of the bears were above chance on trials of both types with static dots. Despite encountering greater difficulty with dots that moved within the arrays, one bear was able to discriminate numerically larger arrays of moving dots, and a subset of moving dots from within the larger array, even when area and number were incongruent. Thus, although the bears used area as a cue to guide responding, they were also able to use number as a cue. The pattern of performance was similar to that found previously with monkeys, and suggests that bears may also show other forms of sophisticated quantitative abilities. PMID:22822244

  19. PREVALENCE OF ANTIBODIES AGAINST TOXOPLASMA GONDII IN POLAR BEARS (URSUS MARITIMUS) FROM SVALBARD AND EAST GREENLAND

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Serum samples from 419 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard and the Barents Sea (collected 1990 - 2000) and 108 polar bears from East Greenland (collected 1999 - 2004) were assayed for antibodies against Toxoplasma gondii using the modified agglutination test (MAT). Antibody prevalences were ...

  20. Consumption of seeds of southwestern white pine (Pinus strobiformis) by Black Bear (Ursus americanus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, David J.; Arundel, Terry A.

    2013-01-01

    We report a discovery of black bears (Ursus americanus) consuming seeds of southwestern white pine (Pinus strobiformis) on north slopes of the San Francisco Peaks near Flagstaff, Arizona, in high-elevation, mixed-species conifer forest. In one instance, a bear had obtained seeds from cones excavated from a larder horde made by a red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus). Consumption of seeds of southwestern white pine by bears had not been previously documented. This discovery adds to the number of species of pine used by bears for food as well as the geographic range within which the behavior occurs.

  1. Gene transcription in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from disparate populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Waters, Shannon C.; Meyerson, Randi; Rode, Karyn D.; Atwood, Todd C.

    2015-01-01

    Polar bears in the Beaufort (SB) and Chukchi (CS) Seas experience different environments due primarily to a longer history of sea ice loss in the Beaufort Sea. Ecological differences have been identified as a possible reason for the generally poorer body condition and reproduction of Beaufort polar bears compared to those from the Chukchi, but the influence of exposure to other stressors remains unknown. We use molecular technology, quantitative PCR, to identify gene transcription differences among polar bears from the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas as well as captive healthy polar bears. We identified significant transcriptional differences among a priori groups (i.e., captive bears, SB 2012, SB 2013, CS 2013) for ten of the 14 genes of interest (i.e., CaM, HSP70, CCR3, TGFβ, COX2, THRα, T-bet, Gata3, CD69, and IL17); transcription levels of DRβ, IL1β, AHR, and Mx1 did not differ among groups. Multivariate analysis also demonstrated separation among the groups of polar bears. Specifically, we detected transcript profiles consistent with immune function impairment in polar bears from the Beaufort Sea, when compared with Chukchi and captive polar bears. Although there is no strong indication of differential exposure to contaminants or pathogens between CS and SB bears, there are clearly differences in important transcriptional responses between populations. Further investigation is warranted to refine interpretation of potential effects of described stress-related conditions for the SB population.

  2. Foot-and-mouth disease in Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus).

    PubMed

    Officer, Kirsty; Lan, Nguyen Thi; Wicker, Leanne; Hoa, Nguyen Thi; Weegenaar, Annemarie; Robinson, Jill; Ryoji, Yamaguchi; Loukopoulos, Panayiotis

    2014-09-01

    Foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) is a highly contagious, debilitating, and globally significant viral disease typically affecting cloven-hoofed hosts. The diagnosis of FMD in bears in Vietnam is described. The current study describes a confirmed case of FMD in a bear species, and the clinical signs compatible with FMD in a Malayan sun bear. Thirteen Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) and 1 Malayan sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) were apparently affected. In August 2011, an adult bear became lethargic, and developed footpad vesicles. Over 15 days, 14 out of 17 bears developed similar signs; the remaining 3 co-housed bears and another 57 resident bears did not. All affected bears developed vesicles on all footpads, and most were lethargic for 24-48 hr. Nasal and oral lesions were noted in 6 and 3 cases, respectively. Within 1 month, all looked normal. Foot-and-mouth disease virus (FMDV) was detected by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction, classified as serotype O, and isolated by virus isolation techniques. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated clustering of 3 bear isolates, in a branch distinct from other FMDV type O isolates. The outbreak likely occurred due to indirect contact with livestock, and was facilitated by the high density of captive bears. It showed that Asiatic black bears are capable of contracting FMDV and developing clinical disease, and that the virus spreads easily between bears in close contact. PMID:25135011

  3. Polar bear Ursus maritimus hearing measured with auditory evoked potentials.

    PubMed

    Nachtigall, Paul E; Supin, Alexander Y; Amundin, Mats; Röken, Bengt; Møller, Thorsten; Mooney, T Aran; Taylor, Kristen A; Yuen, Michelle

    2007-04-01

    While there has been recent concern about the effects of sound on marine mammals, including polar bears, there are no data available measuring the hearing of any bear. The in-air hearing of three polar bears was measured using evoked auditory potentials obtained while tone pips were played to three individually anaesthetized bears at the Kolmården Djurpark. Hearing was tested in half-octave steps from 1 to 22.5 kHz. Measurements were not obtainable at 1 kHz and best sensitivity was found in the range from 11.2-22.5 kHz. Considering the tone pips were short and background noise measurements were available, absolute measurements were estimated based on an assumed mammalian integration time of 300 ms. These data show sensitive hearing in the polar bear over a wide frequency range and should cause those concerned with the introduction of anthropogenic noise into the polar bear's environment to operate with caution. PMID:17371910

  4. SURGICAL CORRECTION OF BILATERAL PATELLAR LUXATION IN AN AMERICAN BLACK BEAR CUB (URSUS AMERICANUS).

    PubMed

    Bennett, Katarina R; Desmarchelier, Marion R; Bailey, Trina R

    2015-06-01

    A wild orphaned male American black bear cub ( Ursus americanus ) presented with hind limb gait abnormalities and was found to have bilateral grade 3 laterally luxating patellas. There were no other significant abnormalities detected on neurologic, radiographic, or hematologic examinations. The trochlear grooves were deepened with a chondroplasty, and the redundant soft tissues imbricated. There was a marked improvement in the bear's gait postoperatively, with an apparent full return to function. To the authors' knowledge, patellar luxation has not been reported in the Ursidae family, and the success in this case suggests that this technique may be used in large wild or captive carnivore cubs. PMID:26056894

  5. A novel endogenous betaretrovirus group characterized from polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

    PubMed Central

    Mayer, Jens; Tsangaras, Kyriakos; Heeger, Felix; Ávila-Arcos, Maria; Stenglein, Mark D.; Chen, Wei; Sun, Wei; Mazzoni, Camila; Osterrieder, Nikolaus; Greenwood, Alex D.

    2013-01-01

    Transcriptome analysis of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) yielded sequences with highest similarity to the human endogenous retrovirus group HERV-K(HML-2). Further analysis of the polar bear draft genome identified an endogenous betaretrovirus group comprising 26 proviral copies and 231 solo LTRs. Molecular dating indicates the group originated before the divergence of bears from a common ancestor but is not present in all carnivores. Closely related sequences were identified in the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and characterized from its genome. We have designated the polar bear and giant panda sequences Ursus maritimus endogenous retrovirus (UmaERV) and Ailuropoda melanoleuca endogenous retrovirus (AmeERV), respectively. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the bear virus group is nested within the HERV-K supergroup among bovine and bat endogenous retroviruses suggesting a complex evolutionary history within the HERV-K group. All individual remnants of proviral sequences contain numerous frameshifts and stop codons and thus, the virus is likely non-infectious. PMID:23725819

  6. Electroejaculation and semen characteristics of Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus).

    PubMed

    Chen, L M; Hou, R; Zhang, Z H; Wang, J S; An, X R; Chen, Y F; Zheng, H P; Xia, G L; Zhang, M J

    2007-10-01

    This study details the seminal traits in the rare Asiatic black bear, revealing that this species generally produces high quality, concentrated ejaculates containing sperm of high motility and morphological integrity and similar to other members of the Ursine lineage. Semen was collected by electroejaculation and 23 trials were performed on 18 bears. The mean values were obtained for volume (0.61 ml), pH (7.1), sperm concentration (1049 x 10(6) ml(-1)), total sperm counts (502.8 x 10(6)), motility percentage (63.8%), forward progressive status (3.5), abnormal sperm percentage (37.9%) and intact acrosome percentage (76.6%). PMID:17250981

  7. Sex steroid and prolactin profiles in male American black bears (Ursus americanus) during denning.

    PubMed

    Tsubota, T; Garshelis, D L; Nelson, R A; Bahr, J M

    1999-01-01

    Serum sex steroid and prolactin profiles were examined in the male American black bear, Ursus americanus during denning. Sera collected in December and the following March from 8 denning male black bears in Minnesota, U.S.A. were assayed for testosterone, estradiol-17 beta and prolactin. Eight bears were confirmed to be the denning mode based on a serum urea to creatinine ratio less than 10. Serum testosterone concentrations tended to increase from December to the subsequent March whereas serum estradiol-17 beta concentrations tended to decrease during this period. There were few changes in serum prolactin concentrations between December and March. These findings suggest that spermatogenesis and testicular steroidogenesis initiated during denning may be influenced by changes in serum sex steroid concentrations in the American black bear. PMID:10027172

  8. Sarcoptic mange and Pelodera dermatitis in an American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Fitzgerald, Scott D; Cooley, Thomas M; Cosgrove, Melinda K

    2008-06-01

    An adult female free-ranging American black bear (Ursus americanus) was presented in poor body condition, with advanced skin disease. Skin changes included hair loss, lichenification, crusting, and focal erosions. Skin scrapings and histopathology identified two distinct parasitic conditions that were contributing to this animal's dermatitis. Large numbers of larvae, nymphs, and adults of Sarcoptes scabiei were present in the superficial epidermis, and nematodes consistent with Pelodera strongyloides were abundant within the hair follicles. This appears to be the first reported case of Pelodera dermatitis in a bear species, adding a new differential agent to the list for dermatitis in bears. The sarcoptic mange and poor body condition of this bear may have been contributing factors to the development of the opportunistic Pelodera infestation. PMID:18634219

  9. A retrospective study of end-stage renal disease in captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    LaDouceur, Elise E B; Davis, Barbara; Tseng, Flo

    2014-03-01

    This retrospective study summarizes 11 cases of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) in captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from eight zoologic institutions across the United States and Canada. Ten bears were female, one was male, and the mean age at the time of death was 24 yr old. The most common clinical signs were lethargy, inappetence, and polyuria-polydipsia. Biochemical findings included azotemia, anemia, hyperphosphatemia, and isosthenuria. Histologic examination commonly showed glomerulonephropathies and interstitial fibrosis. Based on submissions to a private diagnostic institution over a 16-yr period, ESRD was the most commonly diagnosed cause of death or euthanasia in captive polar bears in the United States, with an estimated prevalence of over 20%. Further research is needed to discern the etiology of this apparently common disease of captive polar bears. PMID:24712164

  10. Isolation and characterization of new genetic types of toxoplasma gondii and prevalence of trichinella murrelli from black bear (Ursus americanus)

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Black bears (Ursus americanus) are hosts for two important zoonotic parasites, Toxoplasma gondii and Trichinella spp. and bears are hunted for human consumption in the USA. Little is known of the genetic diversity of T. gondii circulating in wildlife. In the present study, antibodies to T. gondii we...

  11. Serosurvey for selected pathogens in free-ranging American black bears (Ursus americanus) in Maryland, USA.

    PubMed

    Bronson, Ellen; Spiker, Harry; Driscoll, Cindy P

    2014-10-01

    American black bears (Ursus americanus) in Maryland, USA, live in forested areas in close proximity to humans and their domestic pets. From 1999 to 2011, we collected 84 serum samples from 63 black bears (18 males; 45 females) in five Maryland counties and tested them for exposure to infectious, including zoonotic, pathogens. A large portion of the bears had antibody to canine distemper virus and Toxoplasma gondii, many at high titers. Prevalences of antibodies to zoonotic agents such as rabies virus and to infectious agents of carnivores including canine adenovirus and canine parvovirus were lower. Bears also had antibodies to vector-borne pathogens common to bears and humans such as West Nile virus, Borrelia burgdorferi, Rickettsia rickettsii, and Anaplasma phagocytophilum. Antibodies were detected to Leptospira interrogans serovars Pomona, Icterohaemorrhagiae, Canicola, Grippotyphosa, and Bratislava. We did not detect antibodies to Brucella canis or Ehrlichia canis. Although this population of Maryland black bears demonstrated exposure to multiple pathogens of concern for humans and domesticated animals, the low levels of clinical disease in this and other free-ranging black bear populations indicate the black bear is likely a spillover host for the majority of pathogens studied. Nevertheless, bear populations living at the human-domestic-wildlife interface with increasing human and domestic animal exposure should continue to be monitored because this population likely serves as a useful sentinel of ecosystem health. PMID:25075540

  12. Crescentic glomerulonephritis in a polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Baba, Hiroshi; Kudo, Tomoo; Makino, Yoshinori; Mochizuki, Yasumasa; Takagi, Takayo; Une, Yumi

    2013-11-01

    Spontaneous crescentic glomerulonephritis (CrGN) in animals has only been reported in dog and sheep. We report the pathological features of CrGN in a 17-year-old male polar bear that died due to renal failure. Histologically, the lesions were characterized by fibrocellular crescents, adhesion between Bowman's capsule and the glomerular capillary tuft and an increase in the mesangial matrix in glomeruli. The proliferating cells in the crescent were partly immunopositive for cytokeratin and intensely positive for vimentin, WT-1 and α-smooth muscle actin, suggesting they originated from parietal epithelial cells. Ultrastructually, thickening of the glomerular basement membrane and loss of epithelial cell foot processes were observed with electron-dense deposits. PMID:23856758

  13. Individual effects of seasonal changes, visitor density, and concurrent bear behavior on stereotypical behaviors in captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Kelly, Krista R; Harrison, Michelle L; Size, Daniele D; MacDonald, Suzanne E

    2015-01-01

    Stereotypical behaviors in captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus) can be detrimental to their welfare. These behaviors can be reduced through enrichment programs but are often not completely eliminated, so identifying potential triggers is important. The present study investigated the influences of seasonal changes, visitor density, and concurrent bear activity on stereotypical behaviors exhibited by 3 captive polar bears at the Toronto Zoo. All bears exhibited these behaviors; however, individual differences were found in duration and form. The male exhibited less stereotypical behavior during spring, and the females exhibited less stereotypical behavior during winter. An increase in visitor density was associated with more stereotypical behavior in 1 female but less stereotypical behavior in the other 2 bears. All bears engaged in more stereotypical behaviors when the other bears were inactive, and 1 female engaged in more stereotypical behaviors when the other bears were out of sight. Further, when conspecifics were active, all bears engaged in less stereotypical behaviors. Given the variability among individual bears, future enrichment programs must be tailored to the needs of individuals to maximize efficacy. PMID:24933263

  14. Mediastinal teratoma in a free-ranging American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Munk, Brandon A; Turner, J Chris; Keel, M Kevin

    2013-12-01

    A 2.75-yr-old female American black bear (Ursus americanus) was found emaciated and unable to rise. It was euthanized due to the perceived poor prognosis. An approximately 18 x 8 x 10-cm, multiloculated, well-demarcated mass that extended from the bifurcation of the trachea, laterally displacing the lung lobes and caudally displacing the heart. The mass contained fibrous connective tissue, cartilage, bone, nervous tissue, smooth muscle, and a variety of epithelial structures. A mediastinal teratoma was diagnosed based on the microscopic features of the neoplasm. PMID:24450083

  15. Factors influencing annual fecal testosterone metabolite profiles in captive male polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Curry, E; Roth, T L; MacKinnon, K M; Stoops, M A

    2012-12-01

    The objectives of this study were to assess the effects of season, breeding activity, age and latitude on fecal testosterone metabolite concentrations in captive, adult male polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Fourteen polar bears from 13 North American zoos were monitored for 12-36 months, producing 25-year-long testosterone profiles. Results indicated that testosterone was significantly higher during the breeding season (early January through the end of May) compared with the non-breeding season with the highest concentrations excreted from early January through late March. Variations in excretion patterns were observed among individuals and also between years within an individual, with testosterone peaks closely associated with breeding activity. Results indicate that fecal testosterone concentrations are influenced by season, breeding activity and age, but not by latitude. This is the first report describing longitudinal fecal testosterone metabolite concentrations in individual adult male polar bears. PMID:23279504

  16. Breeding behavior of the American black bear Ursus americanus.

    PubMed

    Boone, William R; Richardson, M Elaine; Greer, Jennifer A

    2003-07-01

    By means of videotape, we observed and timed courtship, mating, and refractoriness in the American black bear while confined in a semicaptive environment. Sixty-six courtships resulted in mating. During courtship, the male detected estrus and receptivity in the female. Courtship lasted 22.5+/-2.3s (mean+/-S.E.M.). We videotaped and reviewed 61 matings that included mounts, pelvic thrusts, and flutters. Mating lasted 51.6+/-4.2s. Within these 61 matings, there were 24 pelvic thrusts and 14 flutters observed. Pelvic thrusts averaged 2.3+/-0.3 times, while flutters averaged 11.1+/-2.9 times. Of the 61 courtship-mating segments, 28 segments depicted a male refractory period, while 27 segments depicted a female refractory period. The male refractory period lasted 44.9+/-6.1s during which the male sat and licked his genital region. The female walked, ran away, or turned and attacked the male during her 54.2+/-8.3s refractory period. This is the first time a large number of paired ursid matings has been described and timed. PMID:12749942

  17. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus), the most evolutionary advanced hibernators, avoid significant bone loss during hibernation.

    PubMed

    Lennox, Alanda R; Goodship, Allen E

    2008-02-01

    Some hibernating animals are known to reduce muscle and bone loss associated with mechanical unloading during prolonged immobilisation,compared to humans. However, here we show that wild pregnant polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are the first known animals to avoid significant bone loss altogether, despite six months of continuous hibernation. Using serum biochemical markers of bone turnover, we showed that concentrations for bone resorption are not significantly increased as a consequence of hibernation in wild polar bears. This is in sharp contrast to previous studies on other hibernating species, where for example, black bears (Ursus americanus), show a 3-4 fold increase in serum bone resorption concentrations posthibernation,and must compensate for this loss through rapid bone recovery on remobilisation, to avoid the risk of fracture. In further contrast to black bears, serum concentrations of bone formation markers were highly significantly increased in pregnant female polar bears compared to non-pregnant,thus non-hibernating females both prior to and after hibernation. However, bone formation concentrations in new mothers were significantly reduced compared to pre-hibernation concentrations. The de-coupling of bone turnover in favour of bone formation prior to hibernation, suggests that wild polar bears may posses a unique physiological mechanism for building bone in protective preparation against expected osteopenia associated with disuse,starvation, and hormonal drives to mobilise calcium for reproduction, during hibernation. Understanding this physiological mechanism could have profound implications for a natural solution for the prevention of osteoporosis in animals subjected to captivity with inadequate space for exercise,humans subjected to prolonged bed rest while recovering from illness, or astronauts exposed to antigravity during spaceflight.© 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. PMID:18249018

  18. Social network analysis of mating patterns in American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Moore, Jennifer A; Xu, Ran; Frank, Kenneth; Draheim, Hope; Scribner, Kim T

    2015-08-01

    Nonrandom mating can structure populations and has important implications for population-level processes. Investigating how and why mating deviates from random is important for understanding evolutionary processes as well as informing conservation and management. Prior to the implementation of parentage analyses, understanding mating patterns in solitary, elusive species like bears was virtually impossible. Here, we capitalize on a long-term genetic data set collected from black bears (Ursus americanus) (N = 2422) in the Northern Lower Peninsula (NLP) of Michigan, USA. We identified mated pairs using parentage analysis and applied logistic regression (selection) models that controlled for features of the social network, to quantify the effects of individual characteristics, and spatial and population demographic factors on mating dynamics. Logistic regression models revealed that black bear mating was associated with spatial proximity of mates, male age, the time a pair had coexisted, local population density and relatedness. Mated pairs were more likely to contain older males. On average, bears tended to mate with nearby individuals to whom they were related, which does not support the existence of kin recognition in black bears. Pairwise relatedness was especially high for mated pairs containing young males. Restricted dispersal and high male turnover from intensive harvest mortality of NLP black bears are probably the underlying factors associated with younger male bears mating more often with female relatives. Our findings illustrate how harvest has the potential to disrupt the social structure of game species, which warrants further attention for conservation and management. PMID:26113220

  19. Establishing a definition of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) health: a guide to research and management activities.

    PubMed

    Patyk, Kelly A; Duncan, Colleen; Nol, Pauline; Sonne, Christian; Laidre, Kristin; Obbard, Martyn; Wiig, Øystein; Aars, Jon; Regehr, Eric; Gustafson, Lori L; Atwood, Todd

    2015-05-01

    The meaning of health for wildlife and perspectives on how to assess and measure health, are not well characterized. For wildlife at risk, such as some polar bear (Ursus maritimus) subpopulations, establishing comprehensive monitoring programs that include health status is an emerging need. Environmental changes, especially loss of sea ice habitat, have raised concern about polar bear health. Effective and consistent monitoring of polar bear health requires an unambiguous definition of health. We used the Delphi method of soliciting and interpreting expert knowledge to propose a working definition of polar bear health and to identify current concerns regarding health, challenges in measuring health, and important metrics for monitoring health. The expert opinion elicited through the exercise agreed that polar bear health is defined by characteristics and knowledge at the individual, population, and ecosystem level. The most important threats identified were in decreasing order: climate change, increased nutritional stress, chronic physiological stress, harvest management, increased exposure to contaminants, increased frequency of human interaction, diseases and parasites, and increased exposure to competitors. Fifteen metrics were identified to monitor polar bear health. Of these, indicators of body condition, disease and parasite exposure, contaminant exposure, and reproductive success were ranked as most important. We suggest that a cumulative effects approach to research and monitoring will improve the ability to assess the biological, ecological, and social determinants of polar bear health and provide measurable objectives for conservation goals and priorities and to evaluate progress. PMID:25679818

  20. Establishing a definition of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) health: A guide to research and management activities

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Patyk, Kelly A.; Duncan, Colleen G.; Nol, Pauline; Sonne, C.; Laidre, Kristin L.; Obbard, Martyn E.; Wiig, Øystein; Aars, Jon; Regehr, Eric V.; Gustafson, L.; Atwood, Todd C.

    2015-01-01

    The meaning of health for wildlife and perspectives on how to assess and measure health, are not well characterized. For wildlife at risk, such as some polar bear (Ursus maritimus) subpopulations, establishing comprehensive monitoring programs that include health status is an emerging need. Environmental changes, especially loss of sea ice habitat, have raised concern about polar bear health. Effective and consistent monitoring of polar bear health requires an unambiguous definition of health. We used the Delphi method of soliciting and interpreting expert knowledge to propose a working definition of polar bear health and to identify current concerns regarding health, challenges in measuring health, and important metrics for monitoring health. The expert opinion elicited through the exercise agreed that polar bear health is defined by characteristics and knowledge at the individual, population, and ecosystem level. The most important threats identified were in decreasing order: climate change, increased nutritional stress, chronic physiological stress, harvest management, increased exposure to contaminants, increased frequency of human interaction, diseases and parasites, and increased exposure to competitors. Fifteen metrics were identified to monitor polar bear health. Of these, indicators of body condition, disease and parasite exposure, contaminant exposure, and reproductive success were ranked as most important. We suggest that a cumulative effects approach to research and monitoring will improve the ability to assess the biological, ecological, and social determinants of polar bear health and provide measurable objectives for conservation goals and priorities and to evaluate progress.

  1. Serum corticosteroid binding globulin expression is modulated by fasting in polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Chow, Brian A; Hamilton, Jason; Cattet, Marc R L; Stenhouse, Gordon; Obbard, Martyn E; Vijayan, Mathilakath M

    2011-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from several subpopulations undergo extended fasting during the ice-free season. However, the animals appear to conserve protein despite the prolonged fasting, though the mechanisms involved are poorly understood. We hypothesized that elevated concentrations of corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG), the primary cortisol binding protein in circulation, lead to cortisol resistance and provide a mechanism for protein conservation during extended fasting. The metabolic state (feeding vs. fasting) of 16 field sampled male polar bears was determined based on their serum urea to creatinine ratio (>25 for feeding vs. <5 for fasting). There were no significant differences in serum cortisol levels between all male and female polar bears sampled. Serum CBG expression was greater in lactating females relative to non-lactating females and males. CBG expression was significantly higher in fasting males when compared to non-fasting males. This leads us to suggest that CBG expression may serve as a mechanism to conserve protein during extended fasting in polar bears by reducing systemic free cortisol concentrations. This was further supported by a lower serum glucose concentration in the fasting bears. As well, a lack of an enhanced adrenocortical response to acute capture stress supports our hypothesis that chronic hunger is not a stressor in this species. Overall, our results suggest that elevated serum CBG expression may be an important adaptation to spare proteins by limiting cortisol bioavailability during extended fasting in polar bears. PMID:20883811

  2. Phylogeographic and Demographic Analysis of the Asian Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus) Based on Mitochondrial DNA

    PubMed Central

    Wu, Jiaqi; Kohno, Naoki; Mano, Shuhei; Fukumoto, Yukio; Tanabe, Hideyuki; Hasegawa, Masami; Yonezawa, Takahiro

    2015-01-01

    The Asian black bear Ursus thibetanus is widely distributed in Asia and is adapted to broad-leaved deciduous forests, playing an important ecological role in the natural environment. Several subspecies of U. thibetanus have been recognized, one of which, the Japanese black bear, is distributed in the Japanese archipelago. Recent molecular phylogeographic studies clarified that this subspecies is genetically distantly related to continental subspecies, suggesting an earlier origin. However, the evolutionary relationship between the Japanese and continental subspecies remained unclear. To understand the evolution of the Asian black bear in relation to geological events such as climatic and transgression-regression cycles, a reliable time estimation is also essential. To address these issues, we determined and analyzed the mt-genome of the Japanese subspecies. This indicates that the Japanese subspecies initially diverged from other Asian black bears in around 1.46Ma. The Northern continental population (northeast China, Russia, Korean peninsula) subsequently evolved, relatively recently, from the Southern continental population (southern China and Southeast Asia). While the Japanese black bear has an early origin, the tMRCAs and the dynamics of population sizes suggest that it dispersed relatively recently in the main Japanese islands: during the late Middle and Late Pleistocene, probably during or soon after the extinction of the brown bear in Honshu in the same period. Our estimation that the population size of the Japanese subspecies increased rapidly during the Late Pleistocene is the first evidential signal of a niche exchange between brown bears and black bears in the Japanese main islands. This interpretation seems plausible but was not corroborated by paleontological evidence that fossil record of the Japanese subspecies limited after the Late Pleistocene. We also report here a new fossil record of the oldest Japanese black bear from the Middle Pleistocene

  3. Zinc, cadmium, mercury and selenium in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Central East Greenland

    SciTech Connect

    Dietz, R.; Born, E.W.; Agger, C.T.; Nielsen, C.O.

    1995-02-01

    Muscle, liver, and kidney tissues from 38 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) caught in the Scoresby Sound area, Central East Greenland, were analysed for zinc, cadmium, mercury and selenium. In general, cadmium concentrations were low in muscle, liver and kidney tissue. This finding can be explained by low cadmium levels in the blubber of ringed seals. The concentration of mercury in muscle tissue was low, whereas concentrations in liver and kidney tissue were relatively high. Mercury and cadmium were positively correlated with age in liver and kidney. Zinc was positively correlated with in kidney, and selenium was correlated with age in liver. Contrary to other marine mammals, polar bears had higher mercury levels in the kidneys than in the liver. In all three tissues polar bears had significantly lower cadmium levels than ringed seals from the same area. Mercury levels were significantly lower in the muscle tissue of polar bears than in ringed seals, where-as levels in the liver and kidney were significantly higher. The previous geographic trend for cadmium and mercury found in Canadian polar bears could be extended to cover East Greenland as well. Hence cadmium levels were higher in Greenland than in Canada, while the opposite was the case for mercury. Greenland polar bears had higher mercury and cadmium contents in livers and kidneys than polar bears from Svalbard. The mercury levels in muscle and liver tissue from polar bears from East Greenland were twice as high as found in bears from western Alaska, but half the levels found in northern Alaska. Cadmium and zinc were partially correlated in kidney tissue, and this was found for mercury and selenium as well. Cadmium and zinc showed molar ratios close to unity with the highest concentrations occurring in kidney tissue, while the levels of zinc exceeded cadmium in muscle and liver tissue by up to several decades. Mercury and selenium showed molar ratios close to unity in liver and kidneys. 56 refs., 5 figs., 6 tabs.

  4. A novel endogenous betaretrovirus group characterized from polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and giant pandas (Ailuropoda melanoleuca).

    PubMed

    Mayer, Jens; Tsangaras, Kyriakos; Heeger, Felix; Avila-Arcos, María; Stenglein, Mark D; Chen, Wei; Sun, Wei; Mazzoni, Camila J; Osterrieder, Nikolaus; Greenwood, Alex D

    2013-08-15

    Transcriptome analysis of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) yielded sequences with highest similarity to the human endogenous retrovirus group HERV-K(HML-2). Further analysis of the polar bear draft genome identified an endogenous betaretrovirus group comprising 26 proviral copies and 231 solo LTRs. Molecular dating indicates the group originated before the divergence of bears from a common ancestor but is not present in all carnivores. Closely related sequences were identified in the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and characterized from its genome. We have designated the polar bear and giant panda sequences U. maritimus endogenous retrovirus (UmaERV) and A. melanoleuca endogenous retrovirus (AmeERV), respectively. Phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the bear virus group is nested within the HERV-K supergroup among bovine and bat endogenous retroviruses suggesting a complex evolutionary history within the HERV-K group. All individual remnants of proviral sequences contain numerous frameshifts and stop codons and thus, the virus is likely non-infectious. PMID:23725819

  5. Fossil Find on Svalbard Highlights the Natural History of the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ingolfsson, O.; Wiig, O.

    2007-12-01

    During recent fieldwork on Svalbard a well preserved subfossil left ramus of a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) mandible was discovered. A 14C age determination shows that it is older than 45 ka (kilo-years), and an OSL (Optical Stimulated Luminescence) age determination together with the stratigraphic position of the bone suggests that it is of Eemian-Early Weichselian/Wisconsinan age, 150-80 ka old. This puts the find among the oldest fossil remains of a polar bear ever discovered. Osteological study of the mandible suggests that it comes from a fully grown female. The fossil record suggests that polar bears may have developed from brown bears during the early part of the last glacial cycle, some 100 ka ago. The present interglacial might be the first such that the species has to endure. This underlines the potential status of the polar bears as an endangered species if the current warming trend and diminishing of sea ice cover in the Arctic continues.

  6. Seasonal variation in American black bear Ursus americanus activity patterns: Quantification via remote photography

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bridges, A.S.; Vaughan, M.R.; Klenzendorf, S.

    2004-01-01

    Activity pattern plasticity may serve as an evolutionary adaptation to optimize fitness in an inconstant environment, however, quantifying patterns and demonstrating variation can be problematic. For American black bears Ursus americanus, wariness and habitat inaccessibility further complicate quantification. Radio telemetry has been the primary technique used to examine activity, however, interpretation error and limitation on numbers of animals available to monitor prevent extrapolation to unmarked or untransmittered members of the population. We used remote cameras to quantify black bear activity patterns and examined differences by season, sex and reproductive class in the Alleghany Mountains of western Virginia, USA. We used 1,533 pictures of black bears taken during 1998-2002 for our analyses. Black bears generally were diurnal in summer and nocturnal in autumn with a vespertine activity peak during both seasons. Bear-hound training seasons occurred during September and may offer explanation for the observed shift towards nocturnal behaviour. We found no substantial differences in activity patterns between sex and reproductive classes. Use of remote cameras allowed us to efficiently sample larger numbers of individual animals and likely offered a better approximation of population-level activity patterns than individual-level, telemetry-based methodologies.

  7. Bone formation is not impaired by hibernation (disuse) in black bears Ursus americanus

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Donahue, S.W.; Vaughan, M.R.; Demers, L.M.; Donahue, H.J.

    2003-01-01

    Disuse by bed rest, limb immobilization or space flight causes rapid bone loss by arresting bone formation and accelerating bone resorption. This net bone loss increases the risk of fracture upon remobilization. Bone loss also occurs in hibernating ground squirrels, golden hamsters, and little brown bats by arresting bone formation and accelerating bone resorption. There is some histological evidence to suggest that black bears Ursus americanus do not lose bone mass during hibernation (i.e. disuse). There is also evidence suggesting that muscle mass and strength are preserved in black bears during hibernation. The question of whether bears can prevent bone loss during hibernation has not been conclusively answered. The goal of the current study was to further assess bone metabolism in hibernating black bears. Using the same serum markers of bone remodeling used to evaluate human patients with osteoporosis, we assayed serum from five black bears, collected every 10 days over a 196-day period, for bone resorption and formation markers. Here we show that bone resorption remains elevated over the entire hibernation period compared to the pre-hibernation period, but osteoblastic bone formation is not impaired by hibernation and is rapidly accelerated during remobilization following hibernation.

  8. USE OF SULFUR AND NITROGEN STABLE ISOTOPES TO DETERMINE THE IMPORTANCE OF WHITEBARK PINE NUTS TO YELLOWSTONE GRIZZLY BEARS

    EPA Science Inventory

    Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is a masting species that produces relatively large, fat and protein-rich nuts that are consumed by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis). Trees produce abundant nut crops in some years and poor crops in other years. Grizzly bear survival in ...

  9. Sequential ovulation and fertility of polyoestrus in American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Himelright, Brendan M; Moore, Jenna M; Gonzales, Ramona L; Mendoza, Alejandra V; Dye, Penny S; Schuett, Randall J; Durrant, Barbara S; Read, Betsy A; Spady, Thomas J

    2014-01-01

    American black bears (Ursus americanus) are seasonally polyoestrous and exhibit delayed implantation, which may allow equal and independent fertility of recurrent oestruses of a mating season. We postulated that the luteal inactivity during delayed implantation allows bears to have sequential ovulation during a polyoestrous mating season such that each oestrus of a polyoestrous female will have equivalent fertility, and pregnancy would not preclude subsequent ovulation and superfetation. Controlled mating experiments were conducted on semi-free-ranging female American black bears during three mating seasons, wherein females were bred by different male cohorts in each oestrus. Behavioural observation, vulva score ranking, genetic paternity analysis, gross morphology of ovaries and microscopic morphology of diapaused embryos were used to evaluate the fertility of each subsequent oestrus in polyoestrous females. Oestrus duration, number of successful mounts and median vulva scores were similar between first and subsequent oestruses of the season. Polyoestrus occurred in 81.3% of oestrous females, with a 9.7 ± 5.5 day (mean ± SD) inter-oestrous interval. Sequential ovulation was documented in three polyoestrous females, including one that possessed both a corpus haemorrhagicum and a developed corpus luteum. Among polyoestrous dams, four of nine embryos were conceived in the first oestrus and five of nine in the second oestrus. These results indicate that each oestrus of polyoestrous females is capable of fertility, even if the female is already pregnant from a prior oestrus. Although superfetation was not directly observed in the present study, our results strongly suggest the potential of superfetation in the American black bear and provide novel insight into the complex behavioural and physiological breeding mechanisms of bears. Given that most endangered bear species share similar reproductive traits with American black bears, captive breeding programmes

  10. Sequential ovulation and fertility of polyoestrus in American black bears (Ursus americanus)

    PubMed Central

    Himelright, Brendan M.; Moore, Jenna M.; Gonzales, Ramona L.; Mendoza, Alejandra V.; Dye, Penny S.; Schuett, Randall J.; Durrant, Barbara S.; Read, Betsy A.; Spady, Thomas J.

    2014-01-01

    American black bears (Ursus americanus) are seasonally polyoestrous and exhibit delayed implantation, which may allow equal and independent fertility of recurrent oestruses of a mating season. We postulated that the luteal inactivity during delayed implantation allows bears to have sequential ovulation during a polyoestrous mating season such that each oestrus of a polyoestrous female will have equivalent fertility, and pregnancy would not preclude subsequent ovulation and superfetation. Controlled mating experiments were conducted on semi-free-ranging female American black bears during three mating seasons, wherein females were bred by different male cohorts in each oestrus. Behavioural observation, vulva score ranking, genetic paternity analysis, gross morphology of ovaries and microscopic morphology of diapaused embryos were used to evaluate the fertility of each subsequent oestrus in polyoestrous females. Oestrus duration, number of successful mounts and median vulva scores were similar between first and subsequent oestruses of the season. Polyoestrus occurred in 81.3% of oestrous females, with a 9.7 ± 5.5 day (mean ± SD) inter-oestrous interval. Sequential ovulation was documented in three polyoestrous females, including one that possessed both a corpus haemorrhagicum and a developed corpus luteum. Among polyoestrous dams, four of nine embryos were conceived in the first oestrus and five of nine in the second oestrus. These results indicate that each oestrus of polyoestrous females is capable of fertility, even if the female is already pregnant from a prior oestrus. Although superfetation was not directly observed in the present study, our results strongly suggest the potential of superfetation in the American black bear and provide novel insight into the complex behavioural and physiological breeding mechanisms of bears. Given that most endangered bear species share similar reproductive traits with American black bears, captive breeding programmes

  11. Electroejaculation and semen cryopreservation of free-ranging Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    PubMed

    Okano, Tsukasa; Murase, Tetsuma; Tsubota, Toshio

    2004-11-01

    The Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) is endangered for extinction in some areas of Japan, and semen collection and cryopreservation are an important means to preserve genetic resources. The aim of this study was to characterize and cryopreserve semen of free-ranging Japanese black bears. Semen was collected by electroejaculation procedure from 4 free-ranging Japanese black bears at the capture point in the field. Ejaculates containing motile sperm were recovered from all of the animals and ejaculate volume, total sperm count, % motility (percentage of motile spermatozoa), % viability (percentage of spermatozoa that excluded eosin) and % abnormal morphology (range (mean)) were 0.65-2.20 (1.51) ml, 99-1082 (490) x 10(6), 5-100 (31), 42-97 (66) and 20-87 (53), respectively. Three of the 4 ejaculates were diluted with an egg yolk-TRIS-citrate-glucose extender and cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen. Motile spermatozoa were observed after freezing and thawing in all cases. This study showed that electroejaculation would be a useful method for collecting semen from free-ranging Japanese black bears and that at least motile spermatozoa would be obtained by freezing the thus collected electroejaculates. PMID:15585951

  12. Anaerobic oral flora in the North American black bear (Ursus americanus) in eastern North Carolina.

    PubMed

    Clarke, Elsburgh O; Stoskopf, Michael K; Minter, Larry J; Stringer, Elizabeth M

    2012-06-01

    Microbial flora can provide insight into the ecology and natural history of wildlife in addition to improving understanding of health risks. This study examines the anaerobic oral flora of hunter killed black bears (Ursus americanus) in eastern North Carolina. Oral swabs from the buccal and lingual supragingival tooth surfaces of the first and second mandibular and maxillary molars of 22 black bears were inoculated onto Brucella Blood Agar plates supplemented with hemin and vitamin K after transport from the field using reduced oxoid nutrient broth. Sixteen anaerobic bacterial species, representing nine genera were identified using the RapID ANA II Micromethod Kit system and a number of organisms grown that could not be identified with the system. The most frequently identified anaerobes were Peptostreptococcus prevotii, Streptococcus constellatus, and Porphyromonas gingivalis. The diversity in the anaerobic oral flora of black bear in eastern North Carolina suggests the importance of including these organisms in basic health risk assessment protocols and suggests a potential tool for assessment of bear/habitat interactions. PMID:22503889

  13. Subcutaneous implantation of satellite transmitters with percutaneous antennae into male polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mulcahy, D.M.; Garner, G.

    1999-01-01

    Male polar bears (Ursus maritimus) have not been successfully instrumented with satellite transmitters because they readily shed collar-mounted transmitters. Seven male polar bears were captured on the pack ice off the northern coast of Alaska and surgically implanted with satellite transmitters with percutaneous antennae into the subcutaneous space of the dorsal cervical region. Transmitters failed prematurely with lifetimes of 30-161 days (x?? = 97 days). Efforts to relocate implanted bears after transmitters failed were not successful. The mean number of location solutions per transmitter was 204 (range 118-369). An average of 10% and 19% of the locations were accurate to <150 m and to 150-350 m, respectively. Our successful tracking of male polar bears, the high quality of locations obtained from transmitters with percutaneous antennae implanted in the subcutaneous space, and the low visibility of such units make further technical development worthwhile if the reason for premature failure of the transmitters can be determined. Copyright 1999 by American Association of Zoo Veterinarians.

  14. Fatal disseminated blastomycosis in a free-ranging American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Dykstra, Jaclyn A; Rogers, Lynn L; Mansfield, Susan A; Wünschmann, Arno

    2012-11-01

    An aged, free-ranging, female, radio-collared American black bear (Ursus americanus) died after an approximately 5 month long period of weight loss. Gross necropsy findings included severe diffuse pyogranulomatous bronchopneumonia, marked granulomatous lymphadenitis of tracheobronchial lymph nodes and multiple intra-abdominal lymph nodes, chronic focal jejunal ulceration, and widespread alopecia. Histopathologic examination revealed abundant fungal organisms morphologically compatible with Blastomyces sp. within pyogranulomatous inflammatory lesions in the lungs, multiple lymph nodes, liver, kidneys, jejunum, and right adrenal gland. In addition, the haircoat had a mild infestation of chewing lice (Trichodectes pinguis euarctidos), and large numbers of rhabditid nematodes consistent with Pelodera sp. were histologically observed within hair follicles. PMID:23012379

  15. Laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma in a North American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Rotstein, David S; Govett, Pamela; Wolfe, Barbara

    2005-09-01

    A 10-yr-old female black bear (Ursus americanus) at the North Carolina Zoological Park presented with a 2-wk history of intermittent coughing and stertor. The animal was anesthetized for examination, and at intubation, a large mass associated with the tonsils and larynx was observed obstructing the airway. Cardiopulmonary collapse occurred during the procedure, and efforts at resuscitation were ineffective. At necropsy, an 8 cm times 6 cm times 5 cm mass was present in the larynx, infiltrating the epiglottis and obstructing the airway. Regional lymph nodes were mildly enlarged and contained tan inspissated substance. Histologically, the neoplasm was composed of nests of keratinizing squamous epithelial cells with evidence of lymphatic invasion and metastases to regional lymph nodes. PMID:17312782

  16. Enlarged clitoris in wild polar bears (Ursus maritimus) can be misdiagnosed as pseudohermaphroditism.

    PubMed

    Sonne, C; Leifsson, P S; Dietz, R; Born, E W; Letcher, R J; Kirkegaard, M; Muir, D C G; Andersen, L W; Riget, F F; Hyldstrup, L

    2005-01-20

    A 23-year-old female polar bear (Ursus maritimus) killed in an Inuit hunt in East Greenland on July 9, 1999 had a significantly enlarged clitoris resembling, in size, form and colour, those of previously reported 'pseudohermaphroditic' polar bears from Svalbard. It has been suggested that an enzyme defect (21-hydroxylase deficiency), androgen producing tumour or high exposure to organochlorines during the foetal stage or early development could be the reason for the supposed pseudohermaphroditism observed for Svalbard bears. Except for the enlarged clitoris, all dimensions of the external and internal reproductive organs of the present were similar to a reference group of 23 normal adult female polar bears from East Greenland collected in 1999-2002. The aberrant bear was a female genotype, and macroscopic examination of her internal reproductive organs indicated that she was reproductively functional. A histological examination of the clitoral enlargement in the present East Greenland specimen allows a first-time histological evaluation of the earlier macroscopic field diagnosis from Svalbard. This examination revealed intense chronic ulcerative and perivascular clitoriditis similar to "acral lick dermatitis" frequently seen in domestic dogs (i.e., we did not find any signs of pseudohermaphroditic hyperplasia of clitoral tissue due to androgenic or antiestrogenic endocrine disruption). The levels of organohalogens and TEQ values were lower than concentration thresholds of toxicological risk. It is hence possible that the previously reported adult female polar bear pseudohermaphrodites from Svalbard are in fact misdiagnoses. Therefore, future studies examining pseudohermaphroditism in wildlife should consider that certain occurrences are natural events, e.g., enlarged clitoris in the present East Greenland polar bear. Furthermore, caution should be exercised in suggesting linkages of such inflammatory abnormalities with correlations to anthropogenic pollutant

  17. Post-den emergence behavior of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in Northern Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, T.S.; Partridge, S.T.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Schliebe, S.

    2007-01-01

    We observed polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternity den sites on Alaska’s North Slope in March 2002 and 2003 in an effort to describe bears’ post-den emergence behavior. During 40 sessions spanning 459 h, we observed 8 adults and 14 dependent cubs outside dens for 37.5 h (8.2% of total observation time). There was no significant difference between den emergence dates in 2002 (mean = 15 Mar ± 4.1 d) and 2003 (mean = 21 Mar ± 2.1 d). Following initial den breakout, polar bears remained at their den sites for 1.5 to 14 days (mean = 8.1 ± 5.1 d). The average length of stay in dens between emergent periods was significantly shorter in 2002 (1.79 h) than in 2003 (4.82 h). While outside, adult bears were inactive 49.5% of the time, whereas cubs were inactive 13.4% of the time. We found no significant relationships between den emergence activity and weather. Adult polar bears at den sites subjected to industrial activity exhibited significantly fewer bouts of vigilance than denned bears in undisturbed areas (t = -5.5164, df = 4, p= 0.00). However, the duration of vigilance behaviors at sites near industrial activity was not significantly shorter than at the other sites studied (t = -1.8902, df = 4, p = 0.07). Results for these bears were within the range of findings in other studies of denned polar bears.

  18. Characterization of semen collected from beagles and captive Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    PubMed

    Kojima, E; Tsuruga, H; Komatsu, T; Murase, T; Tsubota, T; Kita, I

    2001-02-01

    This study characterized semen collected from the Japanese black bear, Ursus thibetanus aponicus, to provide information on semen cryopreservation for artificial breeding. Preliminary studies using a beagle dog as the model species showed that sperm concentration and total sperm count were lower in semen collected by electroejaculation than in semen collected by digital manipulation, but that sperm motility, viability and morphology were similar. Characterization of semen obtained from Japanese black bears by electroejaculation under general anesthesia revealed that semen volume and total number of spermatozoa collected were lower; but that sperm concentration, motility, viability and morphology were equivalent to those reported in other ursids. When semen was collected via a catheter inserted into the urethra during the stimulation for ejaculation, the sperm concentration, total sperm count and motility were relatively higher than when semen was collected directly in a test tube. Specific normal semen characteristics (mean +/- SEM) were pH, 7.6 +/- 0.0; volume, 0.212 +/- 0.038 mL; sperm concentration, 361 +/- 100 x 10(6)/mL; total sperm count, 84.0 +/- 32.2 x 106; +++ motility, 30 +/- 5%; motility, 77 +/- 3%; viability 77 +/- 2%; and abnormal morphology, 11+/- 2%. These results suggest that semen can be collected from Japanese black bears by electroejaculation. PMID:11245261

  19. Bacterial diversity in faeces from polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Arctic Svalbard

    PubMed Central

    2010-01-01

    Background Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are major predators in the Arctic marine ecosystem, feeding mainly on seals, and living closely associated with sea ice. Little is known of their gut microbial ecology and the main purpose of this study was to investigate the microbial diversity in faeces of polar bears in Svalbard, Norway (74-81°N, 10-33°E). In addition the level of blaTEM alleles, encoding ampicillin resistance (ampr) were determined. In total, ten samples were collected from ten individual bears, rectum swabs from five individuals in 2004 and faeces samples from five individuals in 2006. Results A 16S rRNA gene clone library was constructed, and all sequences obtained from 161 clones showed affiliation with the phylum Firmicutes, with 160 sequences identified as Clostridiales and one sequence identified as unclassified Firmicutes. The majority of the sequences (70%) were affiliated with the genus Clostridium. Aerobic heterotrophic cell counts on chocolate agar ranged between 5.0 × 104 to 1.6 × 106 colony forming units (cfu)/ml for the rectum swabs and 4.0 × 103 to 1.0 × 105 cfu/g for the faeces samples. The proportion of ampr bacteria ranged from 0% to 44%. All of 144 randomly selected ampr isolates tested positive for enzymatic β-lactamase activity. Three % of the ampr isolates from the rectal samples yielded positive results when screened for the presence of blaTEM genes by PCR. BlaTEM alleles were also detected by PCR in two out of three total faecal DNA samples from polar bears. Conclusion The bacterial diversity in faeces from polar bears in their natural environment in Svalbard is low compared to other animal species, with all obtained clones affiliating to Firmicutes. Furthermore, only low levels of blaTEM alleles were detected in contrast to their increasing prevalence in some clinical and commensal bacterial populations. PMID:20074323

  20. Hydroxylated polychlorinated biphenyls decrease circulating steroids in female polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Gustavson, Lisa; Ciesielski, Tomasz M; Bytingsvik, Jenny; Styrishave, Bjarne; Hansen, Martin; Lie, Elisabeth; Aars, Jon; Jenssen, Bjørn M

    2015-04-01

    As a top predator in the Arctic food chain, polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are exposed to high levels of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Because several of these compounds have been reported to alter endocrine pathways, such as the steroidogenesis, potential disruption of the sex steroid synthesis by POPs may cause implications for reproduction by interfering with ovulation, implantation and fertility. Blood samples were collected from 15 female polar bears in Svalbard (Norway) in April 2008. The concentrations of nine circulating steroid hormones; dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), androstenedione (AN), testosterone (TS), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), estrone (E1), 17α-estradiol (αE2), 17β-estradiol (βE2), pregnenolone (PRE) and progesterone (PRO) were determined. The aim of the study was to investigate associations among circulating levels of specific POP compounds and POP-metabolites (hydroxylated PCBs [OH-PCBs] and hydroxylated PBDEs [OH-PBDEs]), steroid hormones, biological and capture variables in female polar bears. Inverse correlations were found between circulating levels of PRE and AN, and circulating levels of OH-PCBs. There were no significant relationships between the steroid concentrations and other analyzed POPs or the variables capture date and capture location (latitude and longitude), lipid content, condition and body mass. Although statistical associations do not necessarily represent direct cause-effect relationships, the present study indicate that OH-PCBs may affect the circulating levels of AN and PRE in female polar bears and that OH-PCBs thus may interfere with the steroid homeostasis. Increase in PRO and a decrease in AN concentrations suggest that the enzyme CYP17 may be a potential target for OH-PCBs. In combination with natural stressors, ongoing climate change and contaminant exposure, it is possible that OH-PCBs may disturb the reproductive potential of polar bears. PMID:25725300

  1. A new voluntary blood collection method for the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) and Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus).

    PubMed

    Otaki, Yusuke; Kido, Nobuhide; Omiya, Tomoko; Ono, Kaori; Ueda, Miya; Azumano, Akinori; Tanaka, Sohei

    2015-01-01

    Various training methods have been developed for animal husbandry and health care in zoos and one of these trainings is blood collection. One training method, recently widely used for blood collection in Ursidae, requires setting up a sleeve outside the cage and gives access to limited blood collection sites. A new voluntary blood collection method without a sleeve was applied to the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) and Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) with access to various veins at the same time. The present study evaluated the effectiveness of this new method and suggests improvements. Two Andean and two Asiatic black bears in Yokohama and Nogeyama Zoological Gardens, respectively, were trained to hold a bamboo pipe outside their cages. We could, thereby, simultaneously access superficial dorsal veins, the dorsal venous network of the hand, the cephalic vein from the carpal joint, and an area approximately 10 cm proximal to the carpal joint. This allowed us to evaluate which vein was most suitable for blood collection. We found that the cephalic vein, approximately 10 cm proximal to the carpal joint, was the most suitable for blood collection. This new method requires little or no modification of zoo facilities and provides a useful alternative method for blood collection. It could be adapted for use in other clinical examinations such as ultrasound examination. PMID:26197968

  2. A review of infectious agents in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and their long-term ecological relevance

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Fagre, Anna C.; Patyk, Kelly A.; Nol, Pauline; Atwood, Todd C.; Hueffer, Karsten; Duncan, Colleen G.

    2015-01-01

    Disease was a listing criterion for the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2008; it is therefore important to evaluate the current state of knowledge and identify any information gaps pertaining to diseases in polar bears. We conducted a systematic literature review focused on infectious agents and associated health impacts identified in polar bears. Overall, the majority of reports in free-ranging bears concerned serosurveys or fecal examinations with little to no information on associated health effects. In contrast, most reports documenting illness or pathology referenced captive animals and diseases caused by etiologic agents not representative of exposure opportunities in wild bears. As such, most of the available infectious disease literature has limited utility as a basis for development of future health assessment and management plans. Given that ecological change is a considerable risk facing polar bear populations, future work should focus on cumulative effects of multiple stressors that could impact polar bear population dynamics.

  3. Oocyte recovery and maturation in the American black bear (Ursus americanus): a model for endangered ursids.

    PubMed

    Johnston, L A; Donoghue, A M; Igo, W; Simmons, L G; Wildt, D E; Rieffenberger, J

    1994-05-15

    A study was conducted to determine if meiotic maturation could be induced in ovarian oocytes of the American black bear (Ursus americanus), a model for gamete "rescue" techniques for endangered ursids. Ovaries obtained from 48 black bears yielded 2,403 oocytes (51.1 +/- 4.9/female), of which 777 (32.3%) were morphologically classified as excellent quality. More total oocytes were recovered from donors that were anestrous compared to luteal/pregnant (P < 0.05) at the time of ovarian excision. Delaying the recovery of oocytes from antral follicles within excised ovaries from 12-24 hr to 25-36 hr had no effect (P > 0.05) on the overall number of high quality oocytes recovered or subsequent maturational ability. The highest incidence of metaphase II was reached between 48 and 60 hr of in vitro incubation. Donor status (anestrous vs. luteal/pregnant) had no influence on the oocyte maturation rate by 24 or 48 hr, but by 60 hr, more (P < 0.05) oocytes recovered from anestrous females (43.9%) had achieved metaphase II compared to luteal/pregnant counterparts (23.1%). In preliminary trials involving endangered ursids, 54 ovarian oocytes were recovered from three aged sun bears (Helarctos malayanus), of which 72.2% were excellent quality and 15.4% matured in vitro to metaphase II. Similarly, 119 antral oocytes were recovered from two aged sloth bears (Melursus ursinus), of which 41.2% were excellent and 17.5% matured in vitro.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS) PMID:8207381

  4. Plasma levels of ursodeoxycholic acid in black bears, Ursus americanus: seasonal changes.

    PubMed

    Solá, Susana; Garshelis, David L; Amaral, Joana D; Noyce, Karen V; Coy, Pam L; Steer, Clifford J; Iaizzo, Paul A; Rodrigues, Cecília M P

    2006-06-01

    To date, no other studies have examined the seasonal changes in circulating levels of various bile acids in the plasma of wild North American black bears, Ursus americanus. Using gas chromatography, bile acid concentrations were measured in plasma samples obtained during either early or late hibernation, and during summer active periods. Thus, specific compositional changes from individual animals were examined through a given year. Total bile acid concentrations in the plasma of these normal animals were found to range between 0.2 and 3.1 micromol/L (0.9 +/- 0.2 micromol/L, mean +/- SEM). Cholic, ursodeoxycholic and chenodeoxycholic acids were the major bile acid species identified. Ursodeoxycholic acid represented 28.0 +/- 2.6% of the total bile acid pool. Deoxycholic and lithocholic acids were found only in small amounts. In addition, total bile acid concentrations were lower in plasma samples obtained during hibernation compared with those obtained during summer active periods (0.6 +/- 0.1 and 1.2 +/- 0.4 micromol/L, respectively; p < 0.05). However, the relative proportion of ursodeoxycholic acid, was significantly greater in winter than in summer (31.5 +/- 3.2% and 22.2 +/- 4.5%, p < 0.05). Finally, taurine-conjugated bile acids were the predominant species in bear plasma, accounting for >67% of the total bile acids. These data demonstrate that ursodeoxycholic acid is a major bile acid in black bear plasma, mostly conjugated with taurine. Further, the finding of seasonal variation in plasma bile acid composition provides evidence to support the possible role that ursodeoxycholic acid may play in cellular protection in hibernating black bears. PMID:16571381

  5. The utility of harvest recoveries of marked individuals to assess polar bear (Ursus maritimus) survival

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peacock, Elizabeth; Laake, Jeff; Laidre, Kristin L.; Born, Erik W.; Atkinson, Stephen N.

    2012-01-01

    Management of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) populations requires the periodic assessment of life history metrics such as survival rate. This information is frequently obtained during short-term capture and marking efforts (e.g., over the course of three years) that result in hundreds of marked bears remaining in the population after active marking is finished. Using 10 additional years of harvest recovery subsequent to a period of active marking, we provide updated estimates of annual survival for polar bears in the Baffin Bay population of Greenland and Canada. Our analysis suggests a decline in survival of polar bears since the period of active marking that ended in 1997; some of the decline in survival can likely be attributed to a decline in springtime ice concentration over the continental shelf of Baffin Island. The variance around the survival estimates is comparatively high because of the declining number of marks available; therefore, results must be interpreted with caution. The variance of the estimates of survival increased most substantially in the sixth year post-marking. When survival estimates calculated with recovery-only and recapture-recovery data sets from the period of active marking were compared, survival rates were indistinguishable. However, for the period when fewer marks were available, survival estimates were lower using the recovery-only data set, which indicates that part of the decline we detected for 2003 – 09 may be due to using only harvest recovery data. Nevertheless, the decline in the estimates of survival is consistent with population projections derived from harvest numbers and earlier vital rates, as well as with an observed decline in the extent of sea ice habitat.

  6. Annual changes in serum sex steroids in male and female black (Ursus americanus) and polar (Ursus maritimus) bears.

    PubMed

    Palmer, S S; Nelson, R A; Ramsay, M A; Stirling, I; Bahr, J M

    1988-06-01

    The adaptation of black and polar bears to their environments is proportional to the severity of climate and food restriction. Both black and polar bears mate during the spring, despite differences in their recent metabolic state. Reproductive activity in black bears follows 4 mo of torpor, whereas reproduction in polar bears occurs prior to torpor. The goals of this study were to measure the annual changes in serum sex steroids in male and female black and polar bears, and to determine if changes in serum levels of these steroids were associated with metabolic condition or photoperiod. Serum testosterone (T) concentrations were elevated during spring in black and polar bears. Moreover, this increase in serum T in polar bears during spring was correlated with age and testis size. Serum progesterone (P4) concentrations increased in pregnant polar bears in fall coincident with the time of expected implantation. No increases in serum P4 were observed in nonpregnant black and polar bears. Serum estradiol (E2) was elevated in nonpregnant and pregnant polar bears 2 mo prior to the time of expected implantation. We found that serum sex steroids measured in black and polar bears change independent of torpor. Therefore, our results suggest that photoperiod may be a more important regulator of serum steroid levels and reproduction than metabolic condition. PMID:3408772

  7. Identifying and managing an adverse food reaction in a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) by an elimination diet trial.

    PubMed

    Monson, Sara; Minter, Larry J; Krouse, Marissa; De Voe, Ryan S

    2014-06-01

    A 16-yr-old polar bear (Ursus maritimus) presented with severe diarrhea shortly following transfer to the North Carolina Zoological Park. Multiple diagnostic procedures were performed over several months and the cause of the chronic diarrhea was inconclusive. Histologically, colonic mucosal biopsies were consistent with severe chronic eosinophilic and lymphoplasmacytic colitis with no evidence of etiologic agents present. A dietary elimination trial was conducted and an adverse food reaction to the dog chow in the diet was confirmed. PMID:25000711

  8. Thyroid cystadenoma, colloid goiter, and hypothyroidism in an American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Storms, Timothy N; Beazley, Shelley L; Schumacher, Juergen; Ramsay, Edward C

    2004-03-01

    A 178-kg, 14-yr-old captive female American black bear (Ursus americanus) was examined because of lethargy, inappetance, obesity, and alopecia. Serum chemistry and complete blood count values were within normal limits. Based on serum levels for total thyroxine (T4), free T4 by equilibrium dialysis (fT4ED), and canine thyroid-stimulating hormone concentrations, using assays validated for domestic dogs, hypothyroidism was diagnosed presumptively, and therapy with levothyroxine sodium (0.022 mg/kg p.o. b.i.d.) was initiated. Haircoat, body weight, appetite, and activity level improved within 30 days. The levothyroxine dose was decreased twice (to 0.018 mg/kg p.o. b.i.d. and then to 0.011 mg/kg p.o. b.i.d.) during the course of treatment based on monitoring of serum T4 and fT4ED concentrations. After euthanasia for severe refractory lameness, postmortem examination revealed bilateral thyroid lobe enlargement and a fluid-filled cyst within the right lobe. Histologically, colloid goiter was present in both lobes, and a follicular cystadenoma had replaced one third of the cranial pole of the right lobe. The goiter and cystadenoma likely contributed to the hypothyroid condition in this bear and fT4ED was a more sensitive indicator of hypothyroidism than was T4. The recommended canine dosage of levothyroxine may be too high for the treatment of hypothyroidism in American black bears; 0.011 mg/kg p.o. b.i.d. may be a more appropriate dosage. PMID:15193079

  9. Transthyretin-binding activity of contaminants in blood from polar bear (Ursus maritimus) cubs.

    PubMed

    Bytingsvik, Jenny; Simon, Eszter; Leonards, Pim E G; Lamoree, Marja; Lie, Elisabeth; Aars, Jon; Derocher, Andrew E; Wiig, Oystein; Jenssen, Bjørn M; Hamers, Timo

    2013-05-01

    We determined the transthyretin (TTR)-binding activity of blood-accumulating contaminants in blood plasma samples of approximately 4-months-old polar bear (Ursus maritimus) cubs from Svalbard sampled in 1998 and 2008. The TTR-binding activity was measured as thyroxine (T4)-like equivalents (T4-EQMeas). Our findings show that the TTR-binding activity related to contaminant levels was significantly lower (45%) in 2008 than in 1998 (mean ± standard error of mean: 1998, 2265 ± 231 nM; 2008, 1258 ± 170 nM). Although we cannot exclude a potential influence of between-year differences in capture location and cub body mass, our findings most likely reflect reductions of TTR-binding contaminants or their precursors in the arctic environment (e.g., polychlorinated biphenyls [PCBs]). The measured TTR-binding activity correlated positively with the cubs' plasma levels of hydroxylated PCBs (OH-PCBs). No such association was found between TTR-binding activity and the plasma levels of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). The OH-PCBs explained 60 ± 7% and 54 ± 4% of the TTR-binding activity in 1998 and 2008, respectively, and PFASs explained ≤1.2% both years. Still, almost half the TTR-binding activity could not be explained by the contaminants we examined. The considerable levels of TTR-binding contaminants warrant further effect directed analysis (EDA) to identify the contaminants responsible for the unexplained part of the observed TTR-binding activity. PMID:23551254

  10. Dental and Temporomandibular Joint Pathology of the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Winer, J N; Arzi, B; Leale, D M; Kass, P H; Verstraete, F J M

    2016-01-01

    Museum specimens (maxillae and/or mandibles) from 317 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) were examined macroscopically according to predefined criteria and 249 specimens were included in this study. The specimens were acquired between 1906 and 2011. There were 126 specimens (50.6%) from male animals, 93 (37.3%) from female animals and 30 (12.1%) from animals of unknown sex. The ages of the animals ranged from neonate to adult, with 125 adults (50.2%) and 124 young adults (49.8%) included and neonates/juveniles excluded from the study. The number of teeth available for examination was 7,638 (73.5%); 12.3% of teeth were absent artefactually, 0.8% were deemed absent due to acquired tooth loss and 13.4% were absent congenitally. With respect to tooth morphology, 20 teeth (0.26% of available teeth) in 18 specimens (7.2% of available specimens) were small vestigial structures with crowns that were flush with the level of surrounding alveolar bone. One supernumerary tooth and one tooth with enamel hypoplasia were encountered. Persistent deciduous teeth and teeth with an aberrant number of roots were not found. Relatively few teeth (3.7%) displayed attrition/abrasion, 90% of which were the maxillary and mandibular incisor teeth, in 41 polar bears (16.5%). Nearly twice as many adult specimens exhibited attrition/abrasion as those from young adults; significantly more males were affected than females. Dental fractures were noted in 52 polar bears, affecting 20.9% of specimens and 1.3% of the total number of teeth present. More adult polar bears had dental fractures than young adults. There were 21 specimens (8.4%) that displayed overt periapical disease, affecting a total of 24 dental alveoli (0.23%). Some degree of periodontitis was seen in 199 specimens (79.9%); however, only 12.6% of dental alveoli had bony changes indicative of periodontitis. Lesions consistent with temporomandibular joint osteoarthritis (TMJ-OA) were found in 23 specimens (9.2%). TMJ-OA was significantly

  11. Predormancy omnivory in European cave bears evidenced by a dental microwear analysis of Ursus spelaeus from Goyet, Belgium.

    PubMed

    Peigné, Stéphane; Goillot, Cyrielle; Germonpré, Mietje; Blondel, Cécile; Bignon, Olivier; Merceron, Gildas

    2009-09-01

    Previous morphological and isotopic studies indicate that Late Pleistocene cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) diet ranged from mostly vegetarian to omnivory or even carnivory. However, such analyses do not provide information on seasonal diets, and only provide an average record of diet. A dental microwear analysis of 43 young and adult individuals demonstrate that, during the predormancy period, cave bears from Goyet (Late Pleistocene, Belgium) were not strictly herbivorous, but had a mixed diet composed of hard items (e.g., possibly bone), invertebrates (e.g., insects), meat (ungulates, small vertebrates), and/or plant matter (hard mast, seeds, herbaceous vegetations, and fruits). Therefore, our results indicate that cave bears at Goyet were generalist omnivores during the predormancy period, which is consistent with current data on the dietary ecology of extant bears during this season. These data also raise questions about the ecological role and causes of the extinction of cave bears. PMID:19706401

  12. Predormancy omnivory in European cave bears evidenced by a dental microwear analysis of Ursus spelaeus from Goyet, Belgium

    PubMed Central

    Peigné, Stéphane; Goillot, Cyrielle; Germonpré, Mietje; Blondel, Cécile; Bignon, Olivier; Merceron, Gildas

    2009-01-01

    Previous morphological and isotopic studies indicate that Late Pleistocene cave bear (Ursus spelaeus) diet ranged from mostly vegetarian to omnivory or even carnivory. However, such analyses do not provide information on seasonal diets, and only provide an average record of diet. A dental microwear analysis of 43 young and adult individuals demonstrate that, during the predormancy period, cave bears from Goyet (Late Pleistocene, Belgium) were not strictly herbivorous, but had a mixed diet composed of hard items (e.g., possibly bone), invertebrates (e.g., insects), meat (ungulates, small vertebrates), and/or plant matter (hard mast, seeds, herbaceous vegetations, and fruits). Therefore, our results indicate that cave bears at Goyet were generalist omnivores during the predormancy period, which is consistent with current data on the dietary ecology of extant bears during this season. These data also raise questions about the ecological role and causes of the extinction of cave bears. PMID:19706401

  13. Seasonal changes in spermatogenesis and testicular steroidogenesis in the male black bear Ursus americanus.

    PubMed

    Tsubota, T; Howell-Skalla, L; Nitta, H; Osawa, Y; Mason, J I; Meiers, P G; Nelson, R A; Bahr, J M

    1997-01-01

    American black bears, Ursus americanus, are seasonal breeders with a mating season in late spring to early summer. The objectives of this study were to determine whether there are seasonal changes in spermatogenesis and immunolocalization of testicular steroidogenic enzymes, and to correlate these changes with peripheral steroid concentrations. Three captive mature bears were maintained in open cages during the summer season and provided with chambers for denning during the winter. Testicular biopsies and blood samples were obtained from anaesthetized bears on 12 March, 15 June, 12 October and 15 January. Steroidogenic enzymes were immunolocalized using polyclonal antisera raised against bovine adrenal cholesterol side-chain cleavage cytochrome P450 (P450scc), human placental 3 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3 beta HSD), porcine testicular 17 alpha-hydroxylase cytochrome P450 (P450c17) and human placental aromatase cytochrome P450 (P450arom). Spermatogenesis changed seasonally: spermatogonia and degenerating spermatocytes were observed in October; spermatogonia and primary spermatocytes were present in January; spermatogonia, spermatocytes and round spermatids were present in March; and spermatogonia through spermatozoa were present in June. P450scc and P450c17 were immunolocalized in spermatids and Leydig cells in June, whereas in October these enzymes were present only in Leydig cells. 3 beta HSD was localized in Leydig cells in June and October with more intense staining in June. Localization of P450arom changed seasonally: no immunostaining in October; positive immunostaining in Sertoli cells in January; more extensive immunostaining in Sertoli cells, peritubular-myoid cells and round spermatids in March; and strong immunostaining in Sertoli cells and round and elongating spermatids in June. Serum testosterone and oestradiol concentrations changed seasonally: testosterone and oestrogen were low in October and January, slightly higher in March, and high in

  14. Seasonal and annual movements of radio-collared polar bears ( Ursus maritimus) in northeast Greenland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Born, E. W.; Wiig, Ø.; Thomassen, J.

    1997-01-01

    The distribution and movements of polar bears ( Ursus maritimus) in the Northeast Water (NEW) area (NE Greenland) were studied from 28 May 1993 to 31 May 1995, using satellite telemetry. Between 28 May and 17 June 1993 satellite-linked radio transmitters were attached to eight adult females in the NEW area between approximately 79° and approximately 80°30'N. By 31 May 1995 the mean duration of transmission (excluding one radio that quit on day of attachment) was 688.4 days (SD = 65.1, range: 541-718 days). These seven females generally showed a high degree of fidelity to the area between 78° and 81°N and 10°W and the northeast Greenland coast. The average distance between capture site in 1993 and spring relocation site in 1994 and 1995 was 116.5 km (SD = 81.9, range: 3.8-210.7 km, N = 7) and 85.4 km (SD = 35.4, range: 38.7-121.8 km, N = 5), respectively. The minimum polygon home range estimates averaged 72,263 km 2 (SD = 71,059, range: 5,567-195,648 km 2, N = 7). Relocations were concentrated on the shore-fast ice and on the pack ice over the continental shelf. This local movement pattern may be facilitated by an anticyclonal gyre of the surface water between 78° and 81°N, and a slowing of the south-flowing East Greenland current. A male bear marked in 1993 at the NEW was taken by hunters in Scoresby Sund (approximately 70°N) in February 1995, indicating that some exchange does occur with southern areas of eastern Greenland. Maternity and temporary dens were located on the coast close to the NEW. Apparently the NEW area is suitable polar bear habitat, in that the bears have access to ringed seals on the fast ice, and on pack ice adjacent to the polynya.

  15. Mitochondrial genome phylogeny among Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus subspecies and comprehensive analysis of their control regions.

    PubMed

    Choi, Eun Hwa; Kim, Sang Ki; Ryu, Shi Hyun; Jang, Kuem Hee; Hwang, Ui Wook

    2010-06-01

    The complete mitochondrial genome (16,824 bp) of an Asiatic black bear Ursus thibetanus ussuricus (Mammalia, Carnivora, Ursidae) was newly sequenced and characterized in detail. It is the second mitochondrial genome from this subspecies which has been completely sequenced. The two U. t. ussuricus individuals were compared with each other and then with individuals from the other four U. thibetanus subspecies and the other nine ursid species, focusing especially on the control regions in the 14 mitochondrial genomes. Within these control regions, tandem repeats of basically 10 bp (5'-ACGCACGTGT-3' or its derivatives) were found in Domain II. Plausible secondary structures of the repeat region were compared between the North and South Korean individuals of U. t. ussuricus. According to the maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference trees inferred from the nucleotide sequences of 13 protein-coding and two rRNA genes, the ursine members within the monophyletic ursid clade can be divided into at least three groups: A, B, and C. According to this analysis, U. thibetanus subspecies were found with Ursus americanus and Ursus malayanus within Group A, showing the following relationships with nodal bootstrap values above 91% and Bayesian posterior probabilities of 1.00: ([(U. t. thibetanus, U. t. formosanus), U. t. spp.], U. t. ussuricus), U. t. mupinensis. In addition, we present a hypothetical scenario of the evolution of the major repeat motifs in the control region. PMID:20795781

  16. The effects of hibernation and captivity on glucose metabolism and thyroid hormones in American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    McCain, Stephanie; Ramsay, Ed; Kirk, Claudia

    2013-06-01

    American black bears (Ursus americanus) have been shown to become transiently insulin resistant and hypothyroid during winter, but no studies have investigated these changes in long-term captive bears or in bears which remain awake year-round. Wild, captive hibernating, and captive nonhibernating bears were evaluated at times corresponding to three of their major physiologic stages: fall (hyperphagic stage), winter (hibernation stage), and summer (normal activity stage). Combined insulin and glucose tolerance tests and thyroid hormone profiles were performed on all bears during each stage. All three groups of bears had evidence of insulin resistance during the winter, as compared to the summer or fall, based on glucose tolerance curves. Analysis of thyroid hormone concentration varied and distinct patterns or similarities were not apparent. While obesity in captive American black bears is multifactorial, the finding that, regardless of their ability to hibernate, captive bears retain similar physiology to their wild counterparts indicates that captive bears' complex physiologic changes need to be addressed in their management. PMID:23805551

  17. Occurrence and structure of epipharyngeal pouches in bears (Ursidae)

    PubMed Central

    WEISSENGRUBER, G. E.; FORSTENPOINTNER, G.; KÜBBER-HEISS, A.; RIEDELBERGER, K.; SCHWAMMER, H.; GANZBERGER, K.

    2001-01-01

    The infrequent mention of epipharyngeal pouches occurring in some species of bears indicates the scarcity of morphological and functional knowledge about these structures. In order to provide precise morphological data on the structure of these remarkable formations and to verify their taxonomic utility, the pharyngeal regions of 1 spectacled bear and 3 brown bears were examined. All these individuals possessed epipharyngeal pouches, which are tubular, blind-ending outpouchings of the caudodorsal pharyngeal wall equipped with respiratory epithelium and a thick layer of elastic fibres. While the spectacled bear and Ursus arctos syriacus possessed a single pouch on the caudodorsal wall of the nasopharynx, in Ursus arctos and Ursus arctos beringianus 2 unequally sized pouches were present. Two additional sacs of smaller size, representing outpouchings of the lateral pharyngeal wall, occurred in the spectacled bear. These findings prove epipharyngeal pouches to be constant and unique morphological features of the family Ursidae, the anatomical features suggesting involvement in the respiratory system most probably in important aspects of ursid phonation. This is the first description of epipharyngeal pouches in the spectacled bear. PMID:11322723

  18. Temporal trend of mercury in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard using teeth as a biomonitoring tissue.

    PubMed

    Aubail, Aurore; Dietz, Rune; Rigét, Frank; Sonne, Christian; Wiig, Øystein; Caurant, Florence

    2012-01-01

    We examined the use of mercury (Hg) and nitrogen and carbon stable isotopes in teeth of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard as biotracers of temporal changes in Hg pollution exposure between 1964 and 2003. Teeth were regarded as a good matrix of the Hg exposure, and in total 87 teeth of polar bears were analysed. Dental Hg levels ranged from 0.6 to 72.3 ng g(-1) dry weight and increased with age during the first 10 years of life. A decreasing time trend in Hg concentrations was observed over the recent four decades while no temporal changes were found in the stable isotope ratios of nitrogen (δ(15)N) and carbon (δ(13)C). This suggests that the decrease of Hg concentrations over time was more likely due to a lower environmental Hg exposure in this region rather than a shift in the feeding habits of Svalbard polar bears. PMID:22113146

  19. Geographical distribution of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the Norwegian and Russian Arctic

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Lie, E.; Bernhoft, A.; Riget, F.; Belikov, Stanislav; Boltunov, Andrei N.; Derocher, A.E.; Garner, G.W.; Wiig, O.; Skaare, J.U.

    2003-01-01

    Geographical variation of organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) was studied in blood samples from 90 adult female polar bear (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, Kara Sea, East-Siberian Sea and Chukchi Sea. In all regions, oxychlordane was the dominant OCP. Regional differences in mean levels of HCB, oxychlordane, trans-nonachlor, ??-HCH, ??-HCH and p,p???-DDE were found. The highest levels of oxychlordane, trans-nonachlor and DDE were found in polar bears from Franz Josef Land and Kara Sea. HCB level was lowest in polar bears from Svalbard. Polar bears from Chukchi Sea had the highest level of ??- and ??-HCH. The lowest ??-HCH concentration was found in bears from Kara Sea. In all the bears, ???HCHs was dominated by ??-HCH. The geographical variation in OCP levels and pattern may suggest regional differences in pollution sources and different feeding habits in the different regions. Polar bears from the Western Russian Arctic were exposed to higher levels of chlordanes and p,p???-DDE than polar bears from locations westwards and eastwards from this region. This may imply the presence of a significant pollution source in the Russian Arctic area. The study suggests that the western Russian Arctic is the most contaminated region of the Arctic and warrants further research. ?? 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

  20. Influence of carbon and lipid sources on variation of mercury and other trace elements in polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Routti, Heli; Letcher, Robert J; Born, Erik W; Branigan, Marsha; Dietz, Rune; Evans, Thomas J; McKinney, Melissa A; Peacock, Elizabeth; Sonne, Christian

    2012-12-01

    In the present study, the authors investigated the influence of carbon and lipid sources on regional differences in liver trace element (As, Cd, Cu, total Hg, Mn, Pb, Rb, Se, and Zn) concentrations measured in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) (n = 121) from 10 Alaskan, Canadian Arctic, and East Greenland subpopulations. Carbon and lipid sources were assessed using δ(13) C in muscle tissue and fatty acid (FA) profiles in subcutaneous adipose tissue as chemical tracers. A negative relationship between total Hg and δ(13) C suggested that polar bears feeding in areas with higher riverine inputs of terrestrial carbon accumulate more Hg than bears feeding in areas with lower freshwater input. Mercury concentrations were also positively related to the FA 20:1n-9, which is biosynthesized in large amounts in Calanus copepods. This result raises the hypothesis that Calanus glacialis are an important link in the uptake of Hg in the marine food web and ultimately in polar bears. Unadjusted total Hg, Se, and As concentrations showed greater geographical variation among polar bear subpopulations compared with concentrations adjusted for carbon and lipid sources. The Hg concentrations adjusted for carbon and lipid sources in Bering-Chukchi Sea polar bear liver tissue remained the lowest among subpopulations. Based on these findings, the authors suggest that carbon and lipid sources for polar bears should be taken into account when one is assessing spatial and temporal trends of long-range transported trace elements. PMID:22987581

  1. Genetic variation, relatedness, and effective population size of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cronin, M.A.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Talbot, S.L.; Sage, G.K.; Amstrup, K.S.

    2009-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are unique among bears in that they are adapted to the Arctic sea ice environment. Genetic data are useful for understanding their evolution and can contribute to management. We assessed parentage and relatedness of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska, with genetic data and field observations of age, sex, and mother-offspring and sibling relationships. Genotypes at 14 microsatellite DNA loci for 226 bears indicate that genetic variation is comparable to other populations of polar bears with mean number of alleles per locus of 7.9 and observed and expected heterozygosity of 0.71. The genetic data verified 60 field-identified mother-offspring pairs and identified 10 additional mother-cub pairs and 48 father-offspring pairs. The entire sample of related and unrelated bears had a mean pairwise relatedness index (rxy) of approximately zero, parent-offspring and siblings had rxy of approximately 0.5, and 5.2% of the samples had rxy values within the range expected for parent-offspring. Effective population size (Ne = 277) and the ratio of Ne to total population size (Ne/N = 0.182) were estimated from the numbers of reproducing males and females. Ne estimates with genetic methods gave variable results. Our results verify and expand field data on reproduction by females and provide new data on reproduction by males and estimates of relatedness and Ne in a polar bear population. ?? The American Genetic Association. 2009. All rights reserved.

  2. A Review of Infectious Agents in Polar Bears (Ursus maritimus) and Their Long-Term Ecological Relevance.

    PubMed

    Fagre, Anna C; Patyk, Kelly A; Nol, Pauline; Atwood, Todd; Hueffer, Karsten; Duncan, Colleen

    2015-09-01

    Disease was a listing criterion for the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) as threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 2008; it is therefore important to evaluate the current state of knowledge and identify any information gaps pertaining to diseases in polar bears. We conducted a systematic literature review focused on infectious agents and associated health impacts identified in polar bears. Overall, the majority of reports in free-ranging bears concerned serosurveys or fecal examinations with little to no information on associated health effects. In contrast, most reports documenting illness or pathology referenced captive animals and diseases caused by etiologic agents not representative of exposure opportunities in wild bears. As such, most of the available infectious disease literature has limited utility as a basis for development of future health assessment and management plans. Given that ecological change is a considerable risk facing polar bear populations, future work should focus on cumulative effects of multiple stressors that could impact polar bear population dynamics. PMID:25791679

  3. Investigating the mechanism for maintaining eucalcemia despite immobility and anuria in the hibernating American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Seger, Rita L; Cross, Randal A; Rosen, Clifford J; Causey, Robert C; Gundberg, Caren M; Carpenter, Thomas O; Chen, Tai C; Halteman, William A; Holick, Michael F; Jakubas, Walter J; Keisler, Duane H; Seger, Richard M; Servello, Frederick A

    2011-12-01

    Ursine hibernation uniquely combines prolonged skeletal unloading, anuria, pregnancy, lactation, protein recycling, and lipolysis. This study presents a radiographic and biochemical picture of bone metabolism in free-ranging, female American black bears (Ursus americanus) that were active (spring bears and autumn bears) or hibernating (hibernating bears). Hibernating bears included lactating and non-lactating individuals. We measured serum calcium, albumin, inorganic phosphate, creatinine, bone specific alkaline phosphatase (BSALP), CTX, parathyroid hormone, insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-l), leptin, 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D], 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)(2)D] and sclerostin from 35 to 50 tranquilized hibernating bears and 14 to 35 tranquilized spring bears. We compared metacarpal cortical indices (MCI), measured by digital X-ray radiogrammetry, from 60 hunter-killed autumn bears and 79 tranquilized, hibernating bears. MCI was greater in autumn than winter in younger bears, but showed no seasonal difference in older bears. During hibernation eucalcemia was maintained, BSALP was suppressed, and CTX was in the range expected for anuria. During hibernation 1,25(OH)(2)D was produced despite anuria. 1,25(OH)(2)D and IGF-I were less in hibernating than spring bears. In a quarter of hibernating bears, sclerostin was elevated. Leptin was greater in hibernating than spring bears. In hibernating bears, leptin correlated positively with BSALP in non-lactating bears and with CTX in lactating bears. Taken together the biochemical and radiographic findings indicate that during hibernation, bone turnover was persistent, balanced, and suppressed; bone resorption was lower than expected for an unloaded skeleton; and there was no unloading-induced bone loss. The skeleton appears to perceive that it was loaded when it was actually unloaded during hibernation. However, at the level of sclerostin, the skeleton recognized that it was unloaded. During hibernation leptin

  4. Characterization of blood lipoproteins and validation of cholesterol and triacylglycerol assays for free-ranging polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Whiteman, John P; Frank, Nicholas; Greller, Katie A; Harlow, Henry J; Ben-David, Merav

    2013-05-01

    Blood triacylglycerol (TG) and lipoproteins are important variables for evaluating nutritional status of wildlife, but measurements are often expensive and difficult. Performance of a small, portable blood analyzer intended for human medical diagnostics was evaluated in measuring these variables in plasma and serum from free-ranging polar bears (Ursus maritimus), which are experiencing nutritional stress related to sea ice loss. The analyzer accurately tracked changes in concentration of total cholesterol (Ctotal), cholesterol associated with high-density lipoprotein (CHDL), and TG during a validation protocol of diluting samples and spiking them with exogenous cholesterol and glycerol. Values of Ctotal and TG agreed well with values obtained by other methods (ultracentrifugation followed by colorimetric assays); agreement was variable for values of cholesterol associated with specific lipoproteins. Similar to a study of captive polar bears, ultracentrifugation methods revealed greater TG in very low-density lipoproteins than in low-density lipoprotein, which is unusual and merits additional study. PMID:23632660

  5. ISOLATION AND GENETIC CHARACTERIZATION OF TOXOPLASMA GONDII FROM RACCOONS (PROCYON LOTOR), CATS (FELIS DOMESTICUS), STRIPED SKUNK (MEPHITIS MEPHITIS), BLACK BEAR (URSUS AMERICANUS), AND COUGAR (PUMA CONCOLOR) FROM CANADA

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Viable Toxoplasma gondii was isolated by bioassay in mice from tissues of 2 feral cats ( Felis domesticus), 2 raccoons (Procyon lotor), a skunk (Mephitis mephitis) trapped in remote locations in Manitoba, Canada, and a black bear (Ursus americanus ) from Kuujjuaq, northern Quebec, Canada. Geno...

  6. Prevalence and spatio-temporal variation of an alopecia syndrome in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea.

    PubMed

    Atwood, Todd; Peacock, Elizabeth; Burek-Huntington, Kathy; Shearn-Bochsler, Valerie; Bodenstein, Barbara; Beckmen, Kimberlee; Durner, George

    2015-01-01

    Alopecia (hair loss) has been observed in several marine mammal species and has potential energetic consequences for sustaining a normal core body temperature, especially for Arctic marine mammals routinely exposed to harsh environmental conditions. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) rely on a thick layer of adipose tissue and a dense pelage to ameliorate convective heat loss while moving between sea ice and open water. From 1998 to 2012, we observed an alopecia syndrome in polar bears from the southern Beaufort Sea of Alaska that presented as bilaterally asymmetrical loss of guard hairs and thinning of the undercoat around the head, neck, and shoulders, which, in severe cases, was accompanied by exudation and crusted skin lesions. Alopecia was observed in 49 (3.45%) of the bears sampled during 1,421 captures, and the apparent prevalence varied by years with peaks occurring in 1999 (16%) and 2012 (28%). The probability that a bear had alopecia was greatest for subadults and for bears captured in the Prudhoe Bay region, and alopecic individuals had a lower body condition score than unaffected individuals. The cause of the syndrome remains unknown and future work should focus on identifying the causative agent and potential effects on population vital rates. PMID:25375943

  7. Long-distance swimming by polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea during years of extensive open water

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    2014-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus Phipps, 1774) depend on sea ice for catching marine mammal prey. Recent sea-ice declines have been linked to reductions in body condition, survival, and population size. Reduced foraging opportunity is hypothesized to be the primary cause of sea-ice-linked declines, but the costs of travel through a deteriorated sea-ice environment also may be a factor. We used movement data from 52 adult female polar bears wearing Global Positioning System (GPS) collars, including some with dependent young, to document long-distance swimming (>50 km) by polar bears in the southern Beaufort and Chukchi seas. During 6 years (2004-2009), we identified 50 long-distance swims by 20 bears. Swim duration and distance ranged from 0.7 to 9.7 days (mean = 3.4 days) and 53.7 to 687.1 km (mean = 154.2 km), respectively. Frequency of swimming appeared to increase over the course of the study. We show that adult female polar bears and their cubs are capable of swimming long distances during periods when extensive areas of open water are present. However, long-distance swimming appears to have higher energetic demands than moving over sea ice. Our observations suggest long-distance swimming is a behavioral response to declining summer sea-ice conditions.

  8. Catalogue of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternal den locations in the Beaufort Sea and neighboring regions, Alaska, 1910-2010

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Durner, George M.; Fischbach, Anthony S.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Douglas, David C.

    2010-01-01

    This report presents data on the approximate locations and methods of discovery of 392 polar bear (Ursus maritimus) maternal dens found in the Beaufort Sea and neighboring regions between 1910 and 2010 that are archived by the U.S. Geological Survey, Alaska Science Center, Anchorage, Alaska. A description of data collection methods, biases associated with collection method, primary time periods, and spatial resolution are provided. Polar bears in the Beaufort Sea and nearby regions den on both the sea ice and on land. Standardized VHF surveys and satellite radio telemetry data provide a general understanding of where polar bears have denned in this region over the past 3 decades. Den observations made during other research activities and anecdotal reports from other government agencies, coastal residents, and industry personnel also are reported. Data on past polar bear maternal den locations are provided to inform the public and to provide information for natural resource agencies in planning activities to avoid or minimize interference with polar bear maternity dens.

  9. Prevalence and spatio-temporal variation of an alopecia syndrome in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the southern Beaufort Sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Atwood, Todd C.; Peacock, Elizabeth; Burek, K.A.; Shearn-Bochsler, Valerie I.; Bodenstein, Barbara L.; Beckmen, Kimberlee B.; Durner, George M.

    2015-01-01

    Alopecia (hair loss) has been observed in several marine mammal species and has potential energetic consequences for sustaining a normal core body temperature, especially for Arctic marine mammals routinely exposed to harsh environmental conditions. Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) rely on a thick layer of adipose tissue and a dense pelage to ameliorate convective heat loss while moving between sea ice and open water. From 1998 to 2012, we observed an alopecia syndrome in polar bears from the southern Beaufort Sea of Alaska that presented as bilaterally asymmetrical loss of guard hairs and thinning of the undercoat around the head, neck, and shoulders, which, in severe cases, was accompanied by exudation and crusted skin lesions. Alopecia was observed in 49 (3.45%) of the bears sampled during 1,421 captures, and the apparent prevalence varied by years with peaks occurring in 1999 (16%) and 2012 (28%). The probability that a bear had alopecia was greatest for subadults and for bears captured in the Prudhoe Bay region, and alopecic individuals had a lower body condition score than unaffected individuals. The cause of the syndrome remains unknown and future work should focus on identifying the causative agent and potential effects on population vital rates.

  10. Microsatellite DNA and mitochondrial DNA variation in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Beaufort and Chukchi seas, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cronin, M.A.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Scribner, K.T.

    2006-01-01

    Radiotelemetry data have shown that polar bears (Ursus maritimus Phipps, 1774) occur in separate subpopulations in the Chukchi Sea and the southern Beaufort Sea. However, segregation is not absolute, and there is overlap of ranges of animals in each subpopulation. We used genetic variation at eight microsatellite DNA loci and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) to further assess the degree of spatial structure of polar bears from the Chukchi and southern Beaufort seas. Microsatellite allele frequencies and mtDNA haplotype frequencies of bears from the southern Beaufort and Chukchi seas did not differ significantly. Lack of differentiation at both maternally inherited mtDNA and bi-parentally inherited microsatellite loci suggests that gene flow between the two areas is mediated by both sexes. The genetic data indicate that polar bears in the southern Beaufort and Chukchi seas compose one interbreeding population. However, there is considerable fidelity to ranges in each area, particularly by adult females. The combined genetic and movement data suggest that polar bears could be managed as Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea subpopulations of a combined southern Beaufort Sea and Chukchi Sea population. ?? 2006 NRC.

  11. Movements of radio-instrumented grizzly bears within the Yellowstone area

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Judd, Steven L.; Knight, Richard R.

    1980-01-01

    Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) movement patterns were studied with the aid of 18 radio-instrumented grizzly bears in 1975 and 1976. Five bears gave minimal information because of death, transmitter failure, or loss of transmitters. Seasonal home range information is presented for 13 bears. Two bears, trapped inside Yellowstone National Park, included areas outside of the park in their home ranges. Twelve bears trapped outside included parts of the park in their home ranges. Three females with young gave no indication of having smaller home ranges than other individuals. Movement patterns prior to denning and dates of denning varied among individual bears.

  12. Use of dissociative anesthetics for the immobilization of captive bears: blood gas, hematology and biochemistry values.

    PubMed

    Bush, M; Custer, R S; Smith, E E

    1980-10-01

    Nineteen bears, representing five species (Helarctos malayanus, Ursus americanus, Ursus arctos, Tremarctos ornatus, Melursus ursinus) were immobilized a total of 52 times using either phencyclidine-promazine or tiletamine-zolazepam. Blood gas, hematology, and serum biochemistry values were determined during the immobilizations. Immobilizations conducted with tiletamine-zolazepam were characterized by rapid induction and recovery times, good muscle relaxation, and relative freedom from convulsions. Bears immobilized with phencyclidine-promazine had longer induction and recovery times and showed convulsive activity in 29% of the trials with that combination. PMID:7463600

  13. The interrelationship of chromosome banding patterns in the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), hybrid bear (Ursus middendorfi X Thalarctos maritimus), and other carnivores.

    PubMed

    Wurster-Hill, D H; Bush, M

    1980-01-01

    The banded chromosomes of the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and a hybrid bear (Ursus middendorfi X Thalarctos maritimus) have been studied and compared to those of other carnivores. The giant panda shares only a few apparently homologous chromosome arms with the bear (Ursidae) and equally few with the lesser panda, Ailurus fulgens (Procyonidae). Chromosomal evidence suggests appropriate placement of the giant panda in a family separate from the Uridae and the Procyonidae. PMID:7398370

  14. Negative density-dependent dispersal in the American black bear (Ursus americanus) revealed by noninvasive sampling and genotyping

    PubMed Central

    Roy, Justin; Yannic, Glenn; Côté, Steeve D; Bernatchez, Louis

    2012-01-01

    Although the dispersal of animals is influenced by a variety of factors, few studies have used a condition-dependent approach to assess it. The mechanisms underlying dispersal are thus poorly known in many species, especially in large mammals. We used 10 microsatellite loci to examine population density effects on sex-specific dispersal behavior in the American black bear, Ursus americanus. We tested whether dispersal increases with population density in both sexes. Fine-scale genetic structure was investigated in each of four sampling areas using Mantel tests and spatial autocorrelation analyses. Our results revealed male-biased dispersal pattern in low-density areas. As population density increased, females appeared to exhibit philopatry at smaller scales. Fine-scale genetic structure for males at higher densities may indicate reduced dispersal distances and delayed dispersal by subadults. PMID:22822432

  15. Genetic variation, relatedness, and effective population size of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska.

    PubMed

    Cronin, Matthew A; Amstrup, Steven C; Talbot, Sandra L; Sage, George K; Amstrup, Kristin S

    2009-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are unique among bears in that they are adapted to the Arctic sea ice environment. Genetic data are useful for understanding their evolution and can contribute to management. We assessed parentage and relatedness of polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea, Alaska, with genetic data and field observations of age, sex, and mother-offspring and sibling relationships. Genotypes at 14 microsatellite DNA loci for 226 bears indicate that genetic variation is comparable to other populations of polar bears with mean number of alleles per locus of 7.9 and observed and expected heterozygosity of 0.71. The genetic data verified 60 field-identified mother-offspring pairs and identified 10 additional mother-cub pairs and 48 father-offspring pairs. The entire sample of related and unrelated bears had a mean pairwise relatedness index (r(xy)) of approximately zero, parent-offspring and siblings had r(xy) of approximately 0.5, and 5.2% of the samples had r(xy) values within the range expected for parent-offspring. Effective population size (N(e) = 277) and the ratio of N(e) to total population size (N(e)/N = 0.182) were estimated from the numbers of reproducing males and females. N(e) estimates with genetic methods gave variable results. Our results verify and expand field data on reproduction by females and provide new data on reproduction by males and estimates of relatedness and N(e) in a polar bear population. PMID:19633212

  16. Three decades (1983-2010) of contaminant trends in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Part 1: legacy organochlorine contaminants.

    PubMed

    Dietz, Rune; Rigét, Frank F; Sonne, Christian; Born, Erik W; Bechshøft, Thea; McKinney, Melissa A; Letcher, Robert J

    2013-09-01

    Legacy organochlorine contaminants were determined in adipose tissues from 294 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) sampled in East Greenland in 23 of the 28years between 1983 and 2010. Of 19 major legacy contaminants and congeners (ΣPCB, 4 PCB congeners (CB153, 180, 170/190), ΣDDT, p,p'-DDE, p,p' -DDD and p,p'-DDT, α- and β-hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH), HCB, octachlorostyrene, dieldrin, oxychlordane, cis- and trans-chlordane, cis- and trans-nonachlor, heptachlor epoxide and BB-153), 18 showed statistically significant average yearly declines of -4.4% (range: -2.0 to -10.8%/year) among subadult polar bears (i.e. females<5years, males<6years). For example, the ∑PCB concentrations declined 2.7 fold from 22730ng/g lw (95% C.I.: 12470-32990ng/g lw) in 1983-1986 to 8473ng/g lw (95% C.I.: 6369-9776ng/g lw) in 2006-2010. Similar but fewer statistically significant trends were found for adult females and adult males likely due to smaller sample size and years. Despite declines as a result of international regulations, relatively high levels of these historic pollutants persist in East Greenland polar bear tissues. PMID:23078749

  17. Three decades (1983-2010) of contaminant trends in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus). Part 2: brominated flame retardants.

    PubMed

    Dietz, Rune; Rigét, Frank F; Sonne, Christian; Born, Erik W; Bechshøft, Thea; McKinney, Melissa A; Drimmie, Robert J; Muir, Derek C G; Letcher, Robert J

    2013-09-01

    Brominated flame retardants were determined in adipose tissues from 294 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) sampled in East Greenland in 23 of the 28years between 1983 and 2010. Significant linear increases were found for sum polybrominated diphenyl ether (ΣPBDE), BDE100, BDE153, and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD). Average increases of 5.0% per year (range: 2.9-7.6%/year) were found for the subadult polar bears. BDE47 and BDE99 concentrations did not show a significant linear trend over time, but rather a significant non-linear trend peaking between 2000 and 2004. The average ΣPBDE concentrations increased 2.3 fold from 25.0ng/g lw (95% C.I.: 15.3-34.7ng/g lw) in 1983-1986 to 58.5ng/g lw (95% C.I.: 43.6-73.4ng/g lw) in 2006-2010. Similar but fewer statistically significant trends were found for adult females and adult males likely due to smaller sample size and years. Analyses of δ(15)N and δ(13)C stable isotopes in hair revealed no clear linear temporal trends in trophic level or carbon source, respectively, and non-linear trends differed among sex and age groups. These increasing concentrations of organobromine contaminants contribute to complex organohalogen mixture, already causing health effects to the East Greenland polar bears. PMID:23137556

  18. Magnetic resonance imaging diagnosis of intervertebral disc disease and myelomalacia in an American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Knafo, S Emmanuelle; Divers, Stephen J; Rech, Raquel; Platt, Simon R

    2012-06-01

    A 23-yr-old black bear (Ursus americanus) was examined because of paralysis of unknown duration. The precise onset of clinical signs was unknown as a result of seasonal torpor. The bear was immobilized and transported to a university veterinary teaching hospital for further evaluation and treatment. Radiography revealed increased mineral opacity and ventral bridging across vertebral segments T8-11. Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated dorsal and ventral compression of the spinal cord at T8-9. Given the bear's advanced age, the unknown duration of spinal cord compression, unknown presence of deep pain perception, and thus an unknown prognosis for surgical success, euthanasia was elected. Postmortem examination revealed severe spondylosis deformans from T7 to L3 and dorsal extradural extruded disc material in the area of T8-9. Histopathology demonstrated the dorsal horns of the spinal cord at T9 were replaced by foamy macrophages extending into the dorsal and lateral funiculi of the white matter compatible with focal, severe, chronic myelomalacia. This is the first report of intervertebral disc disease and myelomalacia diagnosed using MRI in a large carnivore. PMID:22779249

  19. Identification and phylogenetic analysis of Dirofilaria ursi (Nematoda: Filarioidea) from Wisconsin black bears (Ursus americanus) and its Wolbachia endosymbiont.

    PubMed

    Michalski, Michelle L; Bain, Odile; Fischer, Kerstin; Fischer, Peter U; Kumar, Sanjay; Foster, Jeremy M

    2010-04-01

    Dirofilaria ursi is a filarial nematode of American black bears (Ursus americanus Pallas, 1780) that is vectored by black flies (Simuliidae) in many parts of the United States. In northwestern Wisconsin, the prevalence of microfilaremic bears during the fall hunting season was 21% (n = 47). Unsheathed blood microfilariae from Wisconsin bears possess characters consistent with the original description of D. ursi, as do adult worms observed histologically and grossly. Immunohistochemistry was used to identify the Wolbachia endosymbiont in the hypodermis and lateral cords of an adult female D. ursi. Amplification of wsp, gatB, coxA, fbpA, and ftsZ bacterial sequences from parasite DNA confirmed the presence of Wolbachia, and molecular phylogenetic analysis of the Wolbachia ftsZ gene groups the endosymbiont with Wolbachia from D. immitis and D. repens. Phylogenetic analysis of D. ursi 5s rDNA sequence confirms the morphological observations grouping this parasite as a member of Dirofilaria, and within the Dirofilaria - Onchocerca clade of filarial nematodes. This is the first report of Wolbachia characterization and molecular phylogeny information for D. ursi. PMID:19916630

  20. Design of a 9K illumina BeadChip for polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from RAD and transcriptome sequencing.

    PubMed

    Malenfant, René M; Coltman, David W; Davis, Corey S

    2015-05-01

    Single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) offer numerous advantages over anonymous markers such as microsatellites, including improved estimation of population parameters, finer-scale resolution of population structure and more precise genomic dissection of quantitative traits. However, many SNPs are needed to equal the resolution of a single microsatellite, and reliable large-scale genotyping of SNPs remains a challenge in nonmodel species. Here, we document the creation of a 9K Illumina Infinium BeadChip for polar bears (Ursus maritimus), which will be used to investigate: (i) the fine-scale population structure among Canadian polar bears and (ii) the genomic architecture of phenotypic traits in the Western Hudson Bay subpopulation. To this end, we used restriction-site associated DNA (RAD) sequencing from 38 bears across their circumpolar range, as well as blood/fat transcriptome sequencing of 10 individuals from Western Hudson Bay. Six-thousand RAD SNPs and 3000 transcriptomic SNPs were selected for the chip, based primarily on genomic spacing and gene function respectively. Of the 9000 SNPs ordered from Illumina, 8042 were successfully printed, and - after genotyping 1450 polar bears - 5441 of these SNPs were found to be well clustered and polymorphic. Using this array, we show rapid linkage disequilibrium decay among polar bears, we demonstrate that in a subsample of 78 individuals, our SNPs detect known genetic structure more clearly than 24 microsatellites genotyped for the same individuals and that these results are not driven by the SNP ascertainment scheme. Here, we present one of the first large-scale genotyping resources designed for a threatened species. PMID:25187336

  1. A complete mitochondrial genome sequence of Asian black bear Sichuan subspecies (Ursus thibetanus mupinensis)

    PubMed Central

    Hou, Wan-ru; Chen, Yu; Wu, Xia; Hu, Jin-chu; Peng, Zheng-song; Yang, Jung; Tang, Zong-xiang; Zhou, Cai-Quan; Li, Yu-ming; Yang, Shi-kui; Du, Yu-jie; Kong, Ling-lu; Ren, Zheng-long; Zhang, Huai-yu; Shuai, Su-rong

    2007-01-01

    We obtained the complete mitochondrial genome of U.thibetanus mupinensis by DNA sequencing based on the PCR fragments of 18 primers we designed. The results indicate that the mtDNA is 16 868 bp in size, encodes 13 protein genes, 22 tRNA genes, and 2 rRNA genes, with an overall H-strand base composition of 31.2% A, 25.4% C, 15.5% G and 27.9% T. The sequence of the control region (CR) located between tRNA-Pro and tRNA-Phe is 1422 bp in size, consists of 8.43% of the whole genome, GC content is 51.9% and has a 6bp tandem repeat and two 10bp tandem repeats identified by using the Tandem Repeats Finder. U. thibetanus mupinensis mitochondrial genome shares high similarity with those of three other Ursidae: U. americanus (91.46%), U. arctos (89.25%) and U. maritimus (87.66%). PMID:17205108

  2. Musculoskeletal system of the neck of the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) and the Malayan bear (Helarctos malayanus).

    PubMed

    Endo, H; Kakegawa, Y; Taru, H; Sasaki, M; Hayashi, Y; Yamamoto, M; Arishima, K

    2001-01-01

    The gross anatomical study was undertaken in the musculoskeletal system of the neck of the polar bear, and the findings were compared with those of the Malayan bear. The Musculus splenius and the M. trapezius were well-developed in the polar bear. The long neck of the polar bear consisted mainly of the M. splenius with the M. biventer cervicis and the M. complexus lying tightly underneath. The cervical vertebrae possessed huge ventral tubercle in the ventral part of the transverse process in the polar bear. These morphological characteristics suggest that the polar bear may rotate and bend the skull and the long cervical vertebrae. We postulate that the polar bear has evolved the high-mobility long neck to adapt for swimming. Unlike the polar bear, the Malayan bear has not specialized in the neck structure. PMID:11206987

  3. Isotopic evidence for omnivory among European cave bears: Late Pleistocene Ursus spelaeus from the Peştera cu Oase, Romania

    PubMed Central

    Richards, Michael P.; Pacher, Martina; Stiller, Mathias; Quilès, Jérôme; Hofreiter, Michael; Constantin, Silviu; Zilhão, João; Trinkaus, Erik

    2008-01-01

    Previous bone collagen carbon and nitrogen isotopic studies of Late Pleistocene European cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) have shown that these bears frequently had low nitrogen isotope values, similar to those of herbivores and indicating either unusual physiology related to hibernation or a herbivorous diet. Isotopic analysis of animal bone from the Peştera cu Oase (Cave with Bones), Romania, shows that most of its cave bears had higher nitrogen isotope values than the associated herbivores and were, therefore, omnivorous. The Oase bears are securely identified as cave bears by both their morphology and DNA sequences. Although many cave bear populations may have behaved like herbivores, the Oase isotopic data demonstrate that cave bears were capable of altering their diets to become omnivores or even carnivores. These data therefore broaden the dietary profile of U. spelaeus and raise questions about the nature of the carnivore guild in Pleistocene Europe. PMID:18187577

  4. Sex, Diet, and the Social Environment: Factors Influencing Hair Cortisol Concentration in Free-Ranging Black Bears (Ursus americanus)

    PubMed Central

    Lafferty, Diana J. R.; Laudenslager, Mark L.; Mowat, Garth; Heard, Doug; Belant, Jerrold L.

    2015-01-01

    Increasingly, measures of glucocorticoid levels (e.g., cortisol), key components of the neuroendocrine stress axis, are being used to measure past hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity to index psychological and physiological stress exhibited by wildlife for assessing individual and population-level well-being. However, many intrinsic and extrinsic factors affect HPA activity in animals. Using American black bears (Ursus americanus; n = 116) as an ecological model and hair cortisol concentration (HCC) as an integrative measure of past HPA activity, we evaluated the influence of diet, sex and the social environment on black bear HCC in a free-ranging population that spanned adjoining ecoregions with differing densities of potential conspecific and heterospecific competitors. HCC varied by sex, with female HCC ranging from 0.6 to 10.7 pg/mg (median = 4.5 ± 1.2 mean absolute deviation [MAD]) and male HCC ranging from 0.5 to 35.1 pg/mg (median = 6.2 ± 2.6 MAD). We also observed a three-way interaction among sex, δ14C and ecoregion, which may indicate that some differences in HCC between female and male black bears results from variability in the nutritional needs of larger-bodied males relative to smaller-bodied females, slight differences in food resources use between ecoregions as well as sex-based differences regarding the social environment. Once we understand what drives sex-specific differences in HCC, HCC may aid our understanding of the physiological responses by bears and other wildlife to diverse environmental challenges. PMID:26529405

  5. Sex, Diet, and the Social Environment: Factors Influencing Hair Cortisol Concentration in Free-Ranging Black Bears (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Lafferty, Diana J R; Laudenslager, Mark L; Mowat, Garth; Heard, Doug; Belant, Jerrold L

    2015-01-01

    Increasingly, measures of glucocorticoid levels (e.g., cortisol), key components of the neuroendocrine stress axis, are being used to measure past hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity to index psychological and physiological stress exhibited by wildlife for assessing individual and population-level well-being. However, many intrinsic and extrinsic factors affect HPA activity in animals. Using American black bears (Ursus americanus; n = 116) as an ecological model and hair cortisol concentration (HCC) as an integrative measure of past HPA activity, we evaluated the influence of diet, sex and the social environment on black bear HCC in a free-ranging population that spanned adjoining ecoregions with differing densities of potential conspecific and heterospecific competitors. HCC varied by sex, with female HCC ranging from 0.6 to 10.7 pg/mg (median = 4.5 ± 1.2 mean absolute deviation [MAD]) and male HCC ranging from 0.5 to 35.1 pg/mg (median = 6.2 ± 2.6 MAD). We also observed a three-way interaction among sex, δ14C and ecoregion, which may indicate that some differences in HCC between female and male black bears results from variability in the nutritional needs of larger-bodied males relative to smaller-bodied females, slight differences in food resources use between ecoregions as well as sex-based differences regarding the social environment. Once we understand what drives sex-specific differences in HCC, HCC may aid our understanding of the physiological responses by bears and other wildlife to diverse environmental challenges. PMID:26529405

  6. Wound healing during hibernation by black bears (Ursus americanus) in the wild: elicitation of reduced scar formation.

    PubMed

    Iaizzo, Paul A; Laske, Timothy G; Harlow, Henry J; McClay, Carolyn B; Garshelis, David L

    2012-03-01

    Even mildly hypothermic body or limb temperatures can retard healing processes in mammals. Despite this, we observed that hibernating American black bears (Ursus americanus Pallas, 1780) elicit profound abilities in mounting inflammatory responses to infection and/or foreign bodies. In addition, they resolve injuries during hibernation while maintaining mildly hypothermic states (30-35 °C) and without eating, drinking, urinating or defecating. We describe experimental studies on free-ranging bears that document their abilities to completely resolve cutaneous cuts and punctures incurred during or prior to hibernation. We induced small, full-thickness cutaneous wounds (biopsies or incisions) during early denning, and re-biopsied sites 2-3 months later (near the end of denning). Routine histological methods were used to characterize these skin samples. All biopsied sites with respect to secondary intention (open circular biopsies) and primary intention (sutured sites) healed, with evidence of initial eschar (scab) formation, completeness of healed epidermis and dermal layers, dyskeratosis (inclusion cysts), and abilities to produce hair follicles. These healing abilities of hibernating black bears are a clear survival advantage to animals injured before or during denning. Bears are known to have elevated levels of hibernation induction trigger (delta-opioid receptor agonist) and ursodeoxycholic acid (major bile acid within plasma, mostly conjugated with taurine) during hibernation, which may relate to these wound-healing abilities. Further research as to the underlying mechanisms of wound healing during hibernation could have applications in human medicine. Unique approaches may be found to improve healing for malnourished, hypothermic, diabetic and elderly patients or to reduce scarring associated with burns and traumatic injuries. PMID:22405448

  7. Hominid exploitation of the environment and cave bear populations. The case of Ursus spelaeus Rosenmüller-Heinroth in Amutxate cave (Aralar, Navarra-Spain).

    PubMed

    Torres, Trinidad; Ortiz, José E; Cobo, Rafael; de Hoz, Pedro; García-Redondo, Ana; Grün, Rainer

    2007-01-01

    Cave bears (Ursus deningeri and U. spelaeus) and hominids (Homo heidelbergensis, H. neanderthalensis, and H. sapiens) were potential competitors for environmental resources (subterranean and open air). Here, we examined the age at death of cave bear (Ursus spelaeus Rosenmüller-Heinroth) specimens from Amutxate cave in order to shed light on the effect of resource sharing between cave bears and hominids. After studying dental wear of the deciduous and permanent dentitions, the ontogenetic development of mandibles, and incremental layers of cement (annuli), we defined five age groups differentiated by marked development and size gaps. Our findings indicate that after hibernating, bears abandoned the den, thereby leaving the subterranean environment (caves) free for temporary hominid occupation-this would explain the subtle traces of hominid presence in many dens. However, a simple calculation based on age at death of subadult and adult cave bear specimens in Amutxate cave, extrapolated to the whole cave area, showed that the area surrounding this cave hosted bears for at least 9,000 years. This length of habitation, quite similar to the time-span derived from amino acid racemization and electron spin resonance, indicates that bear populations in the Amutxate cave constituted a serious constraint for hominid exploitation of the environment. PMID:16996576

  8. Longitudinal fecal hormone analysis for monitoring reproductive activity in the female polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Stoops, M A; MacKinnon, K M; Roth, T L

    2012-12-01

    The objective was to identify suitable enzyme immunoassays to monitor gonadal and placental function in the female polar bear. Immunoreactive progesterone, progesterone metabolite (PdG), estrogen, and androgen metabolite (T) concentrations were measured in fecal samples collected over 24 mo from captive female bears (N = 20). Whereas fecal extracts produced displacement curves parallel to the standard curve for each respective steroid, T and PdG more accurately reflected reproductive events. Concentrations of fecal T increased (P < 0.05) during the breeding season, and brief spikes were associated with estrus and mating. A postovulatory increase in PdG was not always detected, but sustained baseline T after mating appeared consistent with ovulation. Parturient bears excreted higher PdG concentrations (P < 0.05) during expected time of embryo implantation in Fall, and a late gestational rise in fecal T occurred 30 days prepartum. Many nonparturient bears also had a PdG rise in the Fall, suggesting they experienced either pregnancy loss or a pseudopregnancy. Differentiating pregnant and pseudopregnant states was not achieved using fecal PdG alone, but when combined with fecal T, comprehensive diagnoses could be made. Nonparturient bears demonstrated elevated (P < 0.05) fecal T during summer months, whereas parturient bears did not. In summary, noninvasive hormone monitoring techniques were established for the female polar bear. Although this study was directed at facilitating management and breeding efforts of captive polar bears, the methods could be applied to studies of reproductive function in wild populations. PMID:23040062

  9. Chromatographic (TLC) differentiation of grizzly bear and black bear scats

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Picton, Harold D.; Kendall, Katherine C.

    1994-01-01

    While past work concluded that thin-layer chromatography (TLC) was inadequate for the separation of grizzly (Ursus arctos horribilis) and black bear (U. americanus) scats, our study found differences adequate for species separation. A key was constructed using 19 of 40 data points recorded on each(N)=356 profiles of 178) know-species scat. Accuracy was best for late summer scats (94%). Methods for specimen preparation, analysis, and reading the TLC profiles are discussed. Factors involved in scat variation were tested.

  10. Monitoring grizzly bear population trends

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Eberhardt, L.L.; Knight, R.R.; Blanchard, B.M.

    1986-01-01

    A simple different equation model was developed to provide additional perspective on observed mortality and trend data on Yellowstone grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis). Records of mortalities of adult females from 1959 to 1985 were utilized, in conjunction with data on females with cubs. The overall downward trend of observed numbers of females with cubs generally agrees with the model calculations but does not adequately reflect mortality from 1970 to 1974. The model may be useful in developing a composite index of population trend.

  11. Helicobacter spp. from captive bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops spp.) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Oxley, Andrew P A; Argo, Jeffrey A; McKay, David B

    2005-11-01

    The gastric fluid of six bottlenose dolphins and the faeces of four polar bears from the same oceanarium were examined for the presence of Helicobacter. As detected by PCR, all dolphins and 8/12 samples collected from polar bears were positive for Helicobacter. Novel sequence types were identified in samples collected from these animals of which several were unique to either the dolphins or the polar bears. At least one sequence type was, however, detected in both animal taxa. In addition, a sequence type from a dolphin shared a 98.2-100% identity to sequences from other Helicobacter species from harp seals, sea otters and sea lions. This study reports on the occurrence of novel Helicobacter sequence types in polar bears and dolphins and demonstrates the broad-host range of some species within these animals. PMID:16266854

  12. Ovulation induction and artificial insemination of a captive polar bear (Ursus maritimus) using fresh semen.

    PubMed

    Curry, Erin; Wyatt, Jeff; Sorel, Lawrence J; MacKinnon, Katherine M; Roth, Terri L

    2014-09-01

    In 2008, polar bears were listed as a species threatened with extinction by the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Unfortunately, reproductive success has been poor despite breeding recommendations for almost every reproductively viable bear by the Species Survival Plan. Assisted reproductive technologies could complement breeding efforts by overcoming the challenges of behavioral incompatibilities and deficiencies, facilitating genetic management and increasing cub production. The goal of this study was to artificially inseminate a female polar bear after inducing ovarian activity and ovulation with exogenous hormones (equine chorionic gonadotropin and porcine luteinizing hormone). Fresh semen collected from an adult male via electroejaculation/urethral catheterization was used for the insemination. Fecal steroid monitoring indicated that the female ovulated following the exogenous hormone treatment. Progestin concentrations increased in late summer, at the time implantation was expected to occur; however, no cubs were produced. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report of ovulation induction and artificial insemination in a polar bear. PMID:25314835

  13. Methyl sulfone PCB and DDE metabolites in the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) food chain

    SciTech Connect

    Letcher, R.J.; Norstrom, R.J.; Muir, D.C.G.

    1995-12-31

    An important Arctic marine food chain is polar bear, ringed seal (Phoca hispida) and Arctic cod (Boreogadus saida). The Arctic is relatively uncontaminated by chlorinated hydrocarbon contaminants (CHCs). However, high levels of CHCs are bioaccumulated through the marine food web. Methyl sulfone (MeSO{sub 2})-PCB and -DDE metabolites are major CHCs in polar bear, although the proportion of MeSO{sub 2}-PCBs derived from PCB metabolism and/or MeSO{sub 2}-PCB bioaccumulation from the diet is unknown. For this reason, the structure and concentration of MeSO{sup 2}-PCB and -DDE metabolites, PCBs and DDE were determined in whole body Arctic cod, the liver, adipose, lung and muscle of ringed seal and ten tissues of polar bear from the Resolute Bay area of the Canadian Arctic. Preliminary analysis of the ratios of MeSO{sub 2}-PCBs in bear fat and liver to their parent PCBs in seal blubber suggested that CB-49 and CB-87 result in a higher proportion of metabolites in bear than the other PCB congeners, assuming that the MeSO{sup 2}-PCBs are not themselves accumulated from the diet. Bio-availability of the precursor PCBs for subsequent metabolism may also be a factor. The absence in bears of MeSO{sub 2}-metabolites of other metabolizable PCBs in seal may indicate that some MeSO{sub 2}-PCBs are not formed or that they are formed and further metabolized. The MeSO{sub 2}-PCB and -DDE levels and congener patterns among seal and bear tissues and the difference in tissue distribution between species will also be compared. In polar bear, the s-MeSO{sub 2}-PCB to S-PCB and s-MeSO{sub 2}-DDE to DDE ratios were highest in liver, indicating preferred storage.

  14. New challenges for grizzly bear management in Yellowstone National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    van Manen, Frank T.; Gunther, Kerry A.

    2016-01-01

    A key factor contributing to the success of grizzly bear Ursus arctos conservation in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem has been the existence of a large protected area, Yellowstone National Park. We provide an overview of recovery efforts, how demographic parameters changed as the population increased, and how the bear management program in Yellowstone National Park has evolved to address new management challenges over time. Finally, using the management experiences in Yellowstone National Park, we present comparisons and perspectives regarding brown bear management in Shiretoko National Park.

  15. Exposure to mixtures of organohalogen contaminants and associative interactions with thyroid hormones in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Villanger, Gro D; Jenssen, Bjørn M; Fjeldberg, Rita R; Letcher, Robert J; Muir, Derek C G; Kirkegaard, Maja; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune

    2011-05-01

    We investigated the multivariate relationships between adipose tissue residue levels of 48 individual organohalogen contaminants (OHCs) and circulating thyroid hormone (TH) levels in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from East Greenland (1999-2001, n=62), using projection to latent structure (PLS) regression for four groupings of polar bears; subadults (SubA), adult females with cubs (AdF_N), adult females without cubs (AdF_S) and adult males (AdM). In the resulting significant PLS models for SubA, AdF_N and AdF_S, some OHCs were especially important in explaining variations in circulating TH levels: polybrominated diphenylether (PBDE)-99, PBDE-100, PBDE-153, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)-52, PCB-118, cis-nonachlor, trans-nonachlor, trichlorobenzene (TCB) and pentachlorobenzene (QCB), and both negative and positive relationships with THs were found. In addition, the models revealed that DDTs had a positive influence on total 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine (TT3) in AdF_S, and that a group of 17 higher chlorinated ortho-PCBs had a positive influence on total 3,5,3',5'-tetraiodothyronine (thyroxine, TT4) in AdF_N. TH levels in AdM seemed less influenced by OHCs because of non-significant PLS models. TH levels were also influenced by biological factors such as age, sex, body size, lipid content of adipose tissue and sampling date. When controlling for biological variables, the major relationships from the PLS models for SubA, AdF_N and AdF_S were found significant in partial correlations. The most important OHCs that influenced TH levels in the significant PLS models may potentially act through similar mechanisms on the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid (HPT) axis, suggesting that both combined effects by dose and response addition and perhaps synergistic potentiation may be a possibility in these polar bears. Statistical associations are not evidence per se of biological cause-effect relationships. Still, the results of the present study indicate that OHCs may affect circulating

  16. Brain region distribution and patterns of bioaccumulative perfluoroalkyl carboxylates and sulfonates in east greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Greaves, Alana K; Letcher, Robert J; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune

    2013-03-01

    The present study investigated the comparative accumulation of perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) in eight brain regions of polar bears (Ursus maritimus, n = 19) collected in 2006 from Scoresby Sound, East Greenland. The PFAAs studied were perfluoroalkyl carboxylates (PFCAs, C(6) -C(15) chain lengths) and sulfonates (C(4) , C(6) , C(8) , and C(10) chain lengths) as well as selected precursors including perfluorooctane sulfonamide. On a wet-weight basis, blood-brain barrier transport of PFAAs occurred for all brain regions, although inner regions of the brain closer to incoming blood flow (pons/medulla, thalamus, and hypothalamus) contained consistently higher PFAA concentrations compared to outer brain regions (cerebellum, striatum, and frontal, occipital, and temporal cortices). For pons/medulla, thalamus, and hypothalamus, the most concentrated PFAAs were perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), ranging from 47 to 58 ng/g wet weight, and perfluorotridecanoic acid, ranging from 43 to 49 ng/g wet weight. However, PFOS and the longer-chain PFCAs (C(10) -C(15) ) were significantly (p < 0.002) positively correlated with lipid content for all brain regions. Lipid-normalized PFOS and PFCA (C(10) -C(15) ) concentrations were not significantly (p > 0.05) different among brain regions. The burden of the sum of PFCAs, perfluoroalkyl sulfonates, and perfluorooctane sulfonamide in the brain (average mass, 392 g) was estimated to be 46 µg. The present study demonstrates that both PFCAs and perfluoroalkyl sulfonates cross the blood-brain barrier in polar bears and that wet-weight concentrations are brain region-specific. PMID:23280712

  17. Mercury speciation in brain tissue of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Canadian Arctic.

    PubMed

    Krey, Anke; Kwan, Michael; Chan, Hing Man

    2012-04-01

    Methylmercury (MeHg) is a neurotoxicant that has been found at elevated concentrations in the Arctic ecosystem. Little is known about its internal dose in wildlife such as polar bears. We measured concentrations of mercury (Hg) in three different brain regions (cerebellum, frontal lobe and brain stem) of 24 polar bears collected from the Nunavik, Canada between 2000 and 2003. Speciation of Hg was measured by High Performance Liquid Chromatography coupled to Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy (HPLC-ICP-MS). Concentrations of mean total Hg in brain tissue were up to 625 times lower (0.28 ± 0.07 mg kg(-1) dry weight (dw) in frontal lobe, 0.23 ± 0.07 mg kg(-1) dw in cerebellum and 0.12 ± 0.0 3mg kg(-1) dw in brain stem) than the mean total Hg concentration previously reported in polar bear liver collected from Eastern Baffin Island. Methylmercury (MeHg) accounted for 100% of the Hg found in all three brain regions analyzed. These results suggest that polar bear might reduce the toxic effects of Hg by limiting the uptake into the brain and/or decrease the rate of demethylation so that Hg can be excreted from the brain more easily. The toxicokinetics and the blood-brain-barrier mechanisms of polar bears are still unknown and further research is required. PMID:22406289

  18. Xenoestrogenic and dioxin-like activity in blood of East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Erdmann, Simon E; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; Bechshøft, Thea Ø; Vorkamp, Katrin; Letcher, Robert J; Long, Manhai; Bonefeld-Jørgensen, Eva C

    2013-07-01

    The aims of the project were to (i) extract the lipophilic persistent organic pollutants (POPs) from the blood of 99 East Greenland polar bears and assess the combined mixture effect on the estrogen receptor (ER) and the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) mediated transactivity; (ii) To evaluate whether the receptor transactivities were associated with selected POP markers, and (iii) compare the receptor transactivities in polar bears with earlier studies on Greenlandic Inuit. Lipophilic POPs were extracted using a combination of solid-phase extraction (SPE) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). ER mediated transactivity was determined using the ER luciferase reporter MVLN cell assay. The extracts were tested alone (XER) and together with 17β-estradiol (E2) as a physiological mimic (XERcomp). Dioxins and dioxin-like (DL) compounds were extracted by a combination of SPE and the Supelco Dioxin Prep System®. AhR mediated dioxin-like transactivity was determined using the AhR luciferase reporter Hepa 1.12cR cell assay. Agonistic ER transactivity was elicited by 19% of the samples, and a further increased E2 induced ER response was found for 52%, whereas 17% antagonized the E2 induced ER response. Positive correlations were found in subadult bears between XER and several POP biomarkers. XER and XERcomp correlated positively to each other. A total of 91% of the polar bear blood extracts elicited agonistic AhR transactivity. The AhR-TCDD equivalent (AhR-TEQ) median levels were higher among adult bears compared to subadult bears, but not significantly. PMID:23648332

  19. Evaluation of hepatic biotransformation of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in the polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Krieger, Lisa K; Szeitz, András; Bandiera, Stelvio M

    2016-03-01

    Polar bears are at the top of the Arctic marine food chain and are subject to exposure and bioaccumulation of environmental chemicals of concern such as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which were widely used as flame retardants. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the in vitro oxidative metabolism of 2,2',4,4'-tetrabrominated diphenyl ether (BDE-47) and 2,2',4,4',5-pentabrominated diphenyl ether (BDE-99) by polar bear liver microsomes. The identification and quantification of the hydroxy-brominated diphenyl ethers formed were assessed using an ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry-based method. Incubation of BDE-47 with archived individual liver microsomes, prepared from fifteen polar bears from northern Canada, produced a total of eleven hydroxylated metabolites, eight of which were identified using authentic standards. The major metabolites were 4'-hydroxy-2,2',4,5'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether and 5'-hydroxy-2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether. Incubation of BDE-99 with polar bear liver microsomes produced a total of eleven hydroxylated metabolites, seven of which were identified using authentic standards. The major metabolites were 2,4,5-tribromophenol and 4-hydroxy-2,2',3,4',5-pentabromodiphenyl ether. Among the CYP specific antibodies tested, anti-rat CYP2B was found to be the most active in inhibiting the formation of hydroxylated metabolites of both BDE-47 and BDE-99, indicating that CYP2B was the major CYP enzyme involved in the oxidative biotransformation of these two congeners. Our study shows that polar bears are capable of forming multiple hydroxylated metabolites of BDE-47 and BDE-99 in vitro and demonstrates the role of CYP2B in the biotransformation and possibly in the toxicity of BDE-47 and BDE-99 in polar bears. PMID:26745384

  20. Social and nonsocial category discriminations in a chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) and American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Vonk, Jennifer; Johnson-Ulrich, Zoe

    2014-09-01

    One captive adult chimpanzee and 3 adult American black bears were presented with a series of natural category discrimination tasks on a touch-screen computer. This is the first explicit comparison of bear and primate abilities using identical tasks, and the first test of a social concept in a carnivore. The discriminations involved a social relationship category (mother/offspring) and a nonsocial category involving food items. The social category discrimination could be made using knowledge of the overarching mother/offspring concept, whereas the nonsocial category discriminations could be made only by using perceptual rules, such as "choose images that show larger and smaller items of the same type." The bears failed to show above-chance transfer on either the social or nonsocial discriminations, indicating that they did not use either the perceptual rule or knowledge of the overarching concept of mother/offspring to guide their choices in these tasks. However, at least 1 bear remembered previously reinforced stimuli when these stimuli were recombined, later. The chimpanzee showed transfer on a control task and did not consistently apply a perceptual rule to solve the nonsocial task, so it is possible that he eventually acquired the social concept. Further comparisons between species on identical tasks assessing social knowledge will help illuminate the selective pressures responsible for a range of social cognitive skills. PMID:24903598

  1. Characterization of a pancreatic islet cell tumor in a polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Fortin, Jessica S; Benoit-Biancamano, Marie-Odile

    2014-01-01

    Herein, we report a 25-year-old male polar bear suffering from a pancreatic islet cell tumor. The aim of this report is to present a case of this rare tumor in a captive polar bear. The implication of potential risk factors such as high carbohydrate diet or the presence of amyloid fibril deposits was assessed. Necropsy examination revealed several other changes, including nodules observed in the liver, spleen, pancreas, intestine, and thyroid glands that were submitted for histopathologic analysis. Interestingly, the multiple neoplastic nodules were unrelated and included a pancreatic islet cell tumor. Immunohistochemistry of the pancreas confirmed the presence of insulin and islet amyloid polypeptide (IAPP) within the pancreatic islet cells. The IAPP gene was extracted from the paraffin-embedded liver tissue and sequenced. IAPP cDNA from the polar bear exhibits some differences as compared to the sequence published for several other species. Different factors responsible for neoplasms in bears such as diet, infectious agents, and industrial chemical exposure are reviewed. This case report raised several issues that further studies may address by evaluating the prevalence of cancers in captive or wild animals. PMID:25273481

  2. Assessment of the amount of polar bears ( Ursus maritimus) on the basis of perennial vessel counts

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matishov, G. G.; Chelintsev, N. G.; Goryaev, Yu. I.; Makarevich, P. R.; Ishkulov, D. G.

    2014-10-01

    This article presents a method of assessment of the amount of polar bears on the basis of data on vessel counts. The results of 32 vessel transect counts in the southern part of the Kara Sea are used as the primary data. They are processed in an original program using separate extrapolation by sectors and summarizing of data of several different counts. In recent years, the calculated amount of bears in the studied region has varied from 3300 to 3100 individuals (3200, on average). The relative statistical error of estimations smoothly decreases from 8 to 7%. The confidence interval of the estimation at statistical error of 7% and probability level of 95% is 2700-3500 individuals.

  3. Sperm ultrastructure, morphometry, and abnormal morphology in American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Brito, L F C; Sertich, P L; Stull, G B; Rives, W; Knobbe, M

    2010-11-01

    The objective of this study was to describe sperm ultrastructure, morphometry, and abnormal morphology in American black bears. Electroejaculation was successful in 53.8% (7/13) of the attempts, but urine contamination was common. Epididymal sperm samples were also obtained from five bears. Sperm had a paddle-like head shape and the ultrastructure was similar to that of most other mammals. The most striking particularity of black bear sperm ultrastructure was a tightening of the nucleus in the equatorial region. Although the differences were not significant in all bears, the overall decrease in sperm nucleus dimensions during transport from the caput epididymis to the cauda suggested increasing compaction of the nucleus during maturation. For ejaculated sperm, nucleus length, width, and base width were 4.9, 3.7, and 1.8 μm, respectively, whereas sperm head length, width, and base width were 6.6, 4.8, and 2.3 μm, and midpiece, tail (including midpiece), and total sperm lengths were 9.8, 68.8, and 75.3 μm. Evaluation of sperm cytoplasmic droplets in the epididymis revealed that proximal droplets start migrating toward a distal position in the caput epididymis and that the process was mostly completed by the time sperm reached the cauda epididymis. The proportion of morphologically normal sperm in the ejaculate was 35.6%; the most prevalent sperm defects were distal cytoplasmic droplets and bent/coiled tails. The morphology of abnormal sperm and the underlying ultrastructural defects were similar to that in other large domestic animals thus suggesting similar underlying pathogenesis of specific sperm defects and similar effects on fertility. PMID:20708230

  4. Remote identification of maternal polar bear (Ursus maritimus) denning habitat on the Colville River Delta, Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blank, Justin J.

    High resolution digital aerial photographs (1 foot pixel size) of the Colville River Delta, Alaska were examined in 3D, with the use of a digital photogrammetric workstation. Topographic features meeting the criteria required for adequate snow accumulation, and subsequent construction of terrestrial polar bear maternal dens, were identified and digitized into an ArcGIS line shapefile. Effectiveness, efficiency, and accuracy were improved when compared to previous polar bear denning habitat efforts which utilized contact photo prints and a pocket stereoscope in other geographic areas of northern Alaska. Accuracy of photograph interpretation was systematically evaluated visually from the air with the use of a helicopter and physically on the ground. Results show that the mapping efforts were successful in identifying den habitat 91.3% of the time. Knowledge denning habitat can improve and inform decision making by managers and regulators when considering travel and development in the study area. An understanding of polar bear denning habitat extent and location will be a crucial tool for planning activities within the study area in a way that minimizes conflicts with maternal dens.

  5. Temporal monitoring of liver and kidney lesions in contaminated East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) during 1999-2010.

    PubMed

    Sonne, Christian; Letcher, Robert J; Leifsson, Pall S; Rigét, Frank F; Bechshøft, Thea Ø; Bossi, Rossana; Asmund, Gert; Dietz, Rune

    2012-11-01

    Organohalogen contaminants bioaccumulate to high concentrations in tissues of polar bears (Ursus maritimus). The exposure levels are in the order to be toxic to inner organs like liver and kidney. We therefore investigated the temporal development of lesions in liver (n=115) and kidney (n=122) samples from East Greenland polar bears taken over the 12 year period from 1999 to 2010. Seven liver and seven kidney lesions were observed of which six were age-related. Controlling for this, the analyses showed that hepatic steatosis and renal cell infiltrations, glomerular sclerosis and tubular hyperplasia decreased over the investigated time period (all p<0.05). Similarly, hypertrophy of hepatic Ito cells, renal glomerular capillary wall thickening and interstitial fibrosis increased over the study period (all p<0.05). Regarding contaminant, concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers in adipose tissue were negatively associated with hepatic mononuclear cell infiltrations (p=0.05) and a similar trend was found for Hg (p=0.09). Hexachlorobenzene was positively associated with portal cell infiltrations and hepatic lipid granulomas, while polychlorinated biphenyls were negatively associated with the prevalence of steatosis (both p<0.05) and a similar trend was found for hexachlorocyclohexanes (p=0.08). Mercury was positively correlated with the frequencies of hypertrophic Ito cells (p=0.002) and a similar trend was found for perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (p=0.07). In renal tissue, hexachlorocyclohexanes were positively associated with medullar hyaline casts (p=0.03) and a similar trend was found for cell infiltrations (p=0.08). There was a trend of trans-nonachlor being positively associated with glomerular sclerosis (p=0.06) while dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethanes were negatively associated with tubular hyperplasia (p=0.02). These results suggest that specific liver and renal lesions have decreased or increased over time and that long-range transported organohalogen

  6. Geophagy by yellowstone grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, D.J.; Green, G.I.; Swalley, R.

    1999-01-01

    We documented 12 sites in the Yellowstone ecosystem where grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) had purposefully consumed soil (an activity known as geophagy). We also documented soil in numerous grizzly bear feces. Geophagy primarily occurred at sites barren of vegetation where surficial geology had been modified by geothermal activity. There was no evidence of ungulate use at most sites. Purposeful consumption of soil by bears peaked first from March to May and again from August to October, synchronous with peaks in consumption of ungulate meat and mushrooms. Geophageous soils were distinguished from ungulate mineral licks and soils in general by exceptionally high concentrations of potassium (K) and high concentrations of magnesium (Mg) and sulphur (S). Our results do not support the hypotheses that bears were consuming soil to detoxify secondary compounds in grazed foliage, as postulated for primates, or to supplement dietary sodium, as known for ungulates. Our results suggest that grizzly bears could have been consuming soil as an anti-diarrheal.

  7. Phylogeographic Analyses of American Black Bears (Ursus americanus) Suggest Four Glacial Refugia and Complex Patterns of Postglacial Admixture.

    PubMed

    Puckett, Emily E; Etter, Paul D; Johnson, Eric A; Eggert, Lori S

    2015-09-01

    Studies of species with continental distributions continue to identify intraspecific lineages despite continuous habitat. Lineages may form due to isolation by distance, adaptation, divergence across barriers, or genetic drift following range expansion. We investigated lineage diversification and admixture within American black bears (Ursus americanus) across their range using 22 k single nucleotide polymorphisms and mitochondrial DNA sequences. We identified three subcontinental nuclear clusters which we further divided into nine geographic regions: Alaskan (Alaska-East), eastern (Central Interior Highlands, Great Lakes, Northeast, Southeast), and western (Alaska-West, West, Pacific Coast, Southwest). We estimated that the western cluster diverged 67 ka, before eastern and Alaskan divergence 31 ka; these divergence dates contrasted with those from the mitochondrial genome where clades A and B diverged 1.07 Ma, and clades A-east and A-west diverged 169 ka. We combined estimates of divergence timing with hindcast species distribution models to infer glacial refugia for the species in Beringia, Pacific Northwest, Southwest, and Southeast. Our results show a complex arrangement of admixture due to expansion out of multiple refugia. The delineation of the genomic population clusters was inconsistent with the ranges for 16 previously described subspecies. Ranges for U. a. pugnax and U. a. cinnamomum were concordant with admixed clusters, calling into question how to order taxa below the species level. Additionally, our finding that U. a. floridanus has not diverged from U. a. americanus also suggests that morphology and genetics should be reanalyzed to assess taxonomic designations relevant to the conservation management of the species. PMID:25989983

  8. Enhanced biological processes associated with alopecia in polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A Keith; Stott, Jeffrey; Waters, Shannon; Atwood, Todd

    2015-10-01

    Populations of wildlife species worldwide experience incidents of mass morbidity and mortality. Primary or secondary drivers of these events may escape classical detection methods for identifying microbial insults, toxin exposure, or additional stressors. In 2012, 28% of polar bears sampled in a study in the southern Beaufort Sea region of Alaska had varying degrees of alopecia that was concomitant with reduced body condition. Concurrently, elevated numbers of sick or dead ringed seals were detected in the southern Beaufort, Chukchi, and Bering seas in 2012, resulting in the declaration of an unusual mortality event (UME) by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The primary and possible ancillary causative stressors of these events are unknown, and related physiological changes within individual animals have been undetectable using classical diagnostic methods. Here we present an emerging technology as a potentially guiding investigative approach aimed at elucidating the circumstances responsible for the susceptibility of certain polar bears to observed conditions. Using transcriptomic analysis we identified enhanced biological processes including immune response, viral defense, and response to stress in polar bears with alopecia. Our results support an alternative mechanism of investigation into the causative agents that, when used proactively, could serve as an early indicator for populations and species at risk. We suggest that current or classical methods for investigation into events of unusual morbidity and mortality can be costly, sometimes unfocused, and often inconclusive. Advances in technology allow for implementation of a holistic system of surveillance and investigation that could provide early warning of health concerns in wildlife species important to humans. PMID:26005754

  9. Enhanced biological processes associated with alopecia in polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bowen, Lizabeth; Miles, A. Keith; Stott, Jeffrey L.; Waters, Shannon C.; Atwood, Todd C.

    2015-01-01

    Populations of wildlife species worldwide experience incidents of mass morbidity and mortality. Primary or secondary drivers of these events may escape classical detection methods for identifying microbial insults, toxin exposure, or additional stressors. In 2012, 28% of polar bears sampled in a study in the southern Beaufort Sea region of Alaska had varying degrees of alopecia that was concomitant with reduced body condition. Concurrently, elevated numbers of sick or dead ringed seals were detected in the southern Beaufort, Chukchi, and Bering seas in 2012, resulting in the declaration of an unusual mortality event (UME) by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The primary and possible ancillary causative stressors of these events are unknown, and related physiological changes within individual animals have been undetectable using classical diagnostic methods. Here we present an emerging technology as a potentially guiding investigative approach aimed at elucidating the circumstances responsible for the susceptibility of certain polar bears to observed conditions. Using transcriptomic analysis we identified enhanced biological processes including immune response, viral defense, and response to stress in polar bears with alopecia. Our results support an alternative mechanism of investigation into the causative agents that, when used proactively, could serve as an early indicator for populations and species at risk. We suggest that current or classical methods for investigation into events of unusual morbidity and mortality can be costly, sometimes unfocused, and often inconclusive. Advances in technology allow for implementation of a holistic system of surveillance and investigation that could provide early warning of health concerns in wildlife species important to humans.

  10. On the palaeobiology of the extinct cave bear Ursus spelaeus ROSENMÜLLER. Insights from stable isotope analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grandal-D'Anglade, Aurora; Pérez-Rama, Marta; Fernández-Mosquera, Daniel

    2010-05-01

    Isotopic signatures (δ13C, δ15N) of bone collagen are used more and more to obtain the paleobiological data of fossil species. By means of these signatures, for example, the diet type of an extint species may be inferred. Also, the climate in which this species developed may greatly influence on the isotopic signature of its bone collagen. This influence is firstly produced in the initial material of the trophic chain but also may produce variations due to physiological changes caused by climatic changes in the species involved in this trophic chain. The cave bear (Ursus spelaeus ROSENMÜLLER) is a species of broad distribution in the European Pleistocene sites that has been studied from the isotopic point of view, trying to establish its diet type. For the moment, the results vary: though in most cases the isotopic values indicate a preferably herbivore diet type, differences exist between sites of different geographic zones and chronologies. Taking into account that climate influences on the cave bear's physiology through the physiological mechanism of hibernation, it is expected that in bears that lived in different climatic phases, the isotopic signatures will be also different. During hibernation a recycling of nitrogenised compounds is produced for protein synthesis, including bone collagen, so it is expected that the isotopic signature, at least of Nitrogen, will be altered with respect to the synthesized collagen when the bear is active and feeds normally. However, it is difficult to establish up to what extent the isotopic signatures due to hibernation or diet are overlapped. To study the physiological effect of hibernation on isotopic signatures we have selected bone remains of cave bears from populations whose chronologies correspond to different climatic moments, and in different ontogenetic stages, coming from Galician caves (NW of the Iberian Peninsula). Adult individuals show different isotopic signatures depending on their chronology. Juvenile

  11. Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis in the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Knut

    PubMed Central

    Prüss, H.; Leubner, J.; Wenke, N. K.; Czirják, G. Á.; Szentiks, C. A.; Greenwood, A. D.

    2015-01-01

    Knut the polar bear of the Berlin Zoological Garden drowned in 2011 following seizures and was diagnosed as having suffered encephalitis of unknown etiology after exhaustive pathogen screening. Using the diagnostic criteria applied to human patients, we demonstrate that Knut’s encephalitis is almost identical to anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis which is a severe autoimmune disease representing the most common non-infectious encephalitis in humans. High concentrations of antibodies specific against the NR1 subunit of the NMDA receptor were detected in Knut’s cerebrospinal fluid. Histological examination demonstrated very similar patterns of plasma cell infiltration and minimal neuronal loss in affected brain areas. We conclude that Knut suffered anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis making his the first reported non-human case of this treatable disease. The results suggest that anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis may be a disease of broad relevance to mammals that until now has remained undiagnosed. PMID:26313569

  12. Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis in the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Knut.

    PubMed

    Prüss, H; Leubner, J; Wenke, N K; Czirják, G Á; Szentiks, C A; Greenwood, A D

    2015-01-01

    Knut the polar bear of the Berlin Zoological Garden drowned in 2011 following seizures and was diagnosed as having suffered encephalitis of unknown etiology after exhaustive pathogen screening. Using the diagnostic criteria applied to human patients, we demonstrate that Knut's encephalitis is almost identical to anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis which is a severe autoimmune disease representing the most common non-infectious encephalitis in humans. High concentrations of antibodies specific against the NR1 subunit of the NMDA receptor were detected in Knut's cerebrospinal fluid. Histological examination demonstrated very similar patterns of plasma cell infiltration and minimal neuronal loss in affected brain areas. We conclude that Knut suffered anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis making his the first reported non-human case of this treatable disease. The results suggest that anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis may be a disease of broad relevance to mammals that until now has remained undiagnosed. PMID:26313569

  13. Myrmecophagy by Yellowstone grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, D.J.

    2001-01-01

    I used data collected during a study of radio-marked grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in the Yellowstone region from 1977 to 1992 to investigate myrmecophagy by this population. Although generally not an important source of energy for the bears (averaging 8 mm long) nested in logs over small ants (6 mm long) nested under stones. Optimal conditions for consumption of ants occurred on the warmest sites with ample substrate suitable for ant nests. For ants in mounds, this occurred at low elevations at non-forested sites. For ants in logs, this occurred at low elevations or on southerly aspects where there was abundant, large-diameter, well-decomposed woody debris under an open forest canopy. Grizzly bears selected moderately decomposed logs 4a??5 dm in diameter at midpoint. Ants will likely become a more important food for Yellowstone's grizzly bears as currently important foods decline, owing to disease and warming of the regional climate.

  14. Temporal, spatial, and environmental influences on the demographics of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schwartz, Charles C.; Haroldson, Mark A.; White, Gary C.; Harris, Richard B.; Cherry, Steve; Keating, Kim A.; Moody, Dave; Servheen, Christopher

    2006-01-01

    During the past 2 decades, the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) has increased in numbers and expanded in range. Understanding temporal, environmental, and spatial variables responsible for this change is useful in evaluating what likely influenced grizzly bear demographics in the GYE and where future management efforts might benefit conservation and management. We used recent data from radio-marked bears to estimate reproduction (1983–2002) and survival (1983–2001); these we combined into models to evaluate demographic vigor (lambda [λ]). We explored the influence of an array of individual, temporal, and spatial covariates on demographic vigor.

  15. Analyses of fecal and hair glucocorticoids to evaluate short- and long-term stress and recovery of Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) removed from bile farms in China.

    PubMed

    Malcolm, K D; McShea, W J; Van Deelen, T R; Bacon, H J; Liu, F; Putman, S; Zhu, X; Brown, J L

    2013-05-01

    Demand for traditional Chinese medicines has given rise to the practice of maintaining Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) in captivity to harvest bile. We evaluated hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) activity in Asiatic black bears on a bile farm in China by measuring cortisol in hair. We also monitored hair and fecal glucocorticoid metabolites as bears acclimated to improved husbandry at the Animals Asia Foundation China Bear Rescue Center (CBRC) after removal from other bile farms. Fecal samples were collected twice weekly for ~1 year, and hair was obtained from bears upon arrival at the CBRC and again ≥163 days later. Paired hair samples showed declines in cortisol concentrations of 12-88% in 38 of 45 (84%, p<0.001) bears after arrival and acclimation at the rehabilitation facility. Concentrations of cortisol in hair from bears on the bile farm were similar to initial concentrations upon arrival at the CBRC but were higher than those collected after bears had been at the CBRC for ≥163 days. Fecal glucocorticoid concentrations varied across months and were highest in April and declined through December, possibly reflecting seasonal patterns, responses to the arrival and socialization of new bears at the CBRC, and/or annual metabolic change. Data from segmental analysis of hair supports the first of these explanations. Our findings indicate that bears produced elevated concentrations of glucocorticoids on bile farms, and that activity of the HPA axis declined following relocation. Thus, hair cortisol analyses are particularly well suited to long-term, retrospective assessments of glucocorticoids in ursids. By contrast, fecal measures were not clearly associated with rehabilitation, but rather reflected more subtle endocrine changes, possibly related to seasonality. PMID:23416358

  16. Black bear (Ursus americanus Pallas) feeding damage across timber harvest edges in northern California coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens[D. Don] Endl.) forests, USA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Russell, W.H.; Carnell, K.; McBride, J.R.

    2001-01-01

    Feeding damage to trees by black bears (Ursus americanus Pallas) was recorded in proximity to timber harvest edges in harvested and old-growth stands of coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens [D. Don] Endl.) in northern California, USA. Bears exhibited distinct preference in their feeding patterns related to stand structure and composition and to distance from the timber-harvest edge. Most damage was recorded within regenerating stands. Regression analysis indicated that density of damaged trees was negatively correlated with distance from timber harvest edges within old-growth stands. A significant negative correlation was also found between the density of trees damaged by bears and habitat diversity (H') as measured by the Shannon diversity index. In addition, bears exhibited preference for pole-size trees (dbh = 10-50 cm) over all other size classes, and coast redwood over other species. In general, damage by bears appeared to act as a natural thinning agent in even-aged stands. No damage was recorded in old-growth stands except in close proximity to the timber-harvest edge where subcanopy recruitment was high.

  17. Adaptation of the hindlimbs for climbing in bears.

    PubMed

    Sasaki, Motoki; Endo, Hideki; Wiig, Oystein; Derocher, Andrew E; Tsubota, Toshio; Taru, Hajime; Yamamoto, Masako; Arishima, Kazuyoshi; Hayashi, Yoshihiro; Kitamura, Nobuo; Yamada, Junzo

    2005-04-01

    The hindlimbs of the Malayan sun bear (Helarctos malayanus), the polar bear (Ursus maritimus), the brown bear (Ursus arctos) and the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) have been anatomically and osteometrically studied. The Musculus tibialis cranialis of the Malayan sun bear and the giant panda possessed a well-developed rich fleshy portion until the distal end of the tibia. In the polar bear and the brown bear, however, the fleshy portion of the M. tibialis cranialis was not developed until the distal end of the tibia. The tendon of the M. tibialis cranialis inserting on the proximal end of the Ossa metatarsalia was shorter in the Malayan sun bear and the giant panda than in the polar bear and the brown bear. In the Malayan sun bear and the giant panda, moreover, the M. popliteus was attached more distally to the tibia than in the polar bear and the brown bear. The stable dorsiflexion and supination of the foot and the efficient pronation of the crus are important for skillful tree climbing. The present study suggests that the Malayan sun bear and the giant panda have hindlimbs especially adapted to tree climbing by the well-developed fleshy portion of the M. tibialis cranialis reaching the distal end of the tibia, its short tendon, and the M. popliteus inserting near the distal end of the tibia. PMID:15900701

  18. Pitfalls in comparing modern hair and fossil bone collagen C and N isotopic data to reconstruct ancient diets: a case study with cave bears (Ursus spelaeus).

    PubMed

    Bocherens, Hervé; Grandal-d'Anglade, Aurora; Hobson, Keith A

    2014-01-01

    Stable isotope analyses provide one of the few means to evaluate diet of extinct taxa. However, interpreting isotope data from bone collagen of extinct animals based on isotopic patterns in different tissues of modern animal proxies is precarious. For example, three corrections are needed before making comparisons of recent hair and ancient bone collagen: calibration of carbon-13 variations in atmospheric CO2, different isotopic discrimination between diet-hair keratin and diet-bone collagen, and time averaging of bone collagen versus short-term record in hair keratin. Recently, Robu et al. [Isotopic evidence for dietary flexibility among European Late Pleistocene cave bears (Ursus spelaeus). Can J Zool. 2013;91:227-234] published an article comparing extant carbon (δ(13)C) and nitrogen (δ(15)N) stable isotopic data of European cave bear bone collagen with those of Yellowstone Park grizzly bear hair in order to test the prevailing assumption of a largely vegetarian diet among cave bears. The authors concluded that cave bears were carnivores. This work is unfortunately unfounded as the authors failed to consider the necessary corrections listed above. When these corrections are applied to the Romanian cave bears, these individuals can be then interpreted without involving consumption of high trophic-level food, and environmental changes are probably the reason for the unusual isotopic composition of these cave bears in comparison with other European cave bears, rather than a change of diet. We caution researchers to pay careful attention to these factors when interpreting feeding ecology of extinct fauna using stable isotope techniques. PMID:24588112

  19. Population trend of the Yellowstone grizzly bear as estimated from reproductive and survival rates

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Eberhardt, L. L.; Blanchard, B. M.; Knight, R. R.

    1993-01-01

    The trend of the Yellowstone grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) population was estimated using reproductive rates calculated from 22 individual females and survival rates from 400 female bear-years. The point estimate of the rate of increase was 4.6%, with 95% confidence limits of 0 and 9%. Caution in interpreting this result is advised because of possible biases in the population parameter estimates. The main prospects for improving present knowledge of the population trend appear to be further study of possible biases in the parameter estimates, and the continued use of radiotelemetry to increase the number of samples on which the estimates are based.

  20. Application of large-scale parentage analysis for investigating natal dispersal in highly vagile vertebrates: a case study of American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Moore, Jennifer A; Draheim, Hope M; Etter, Dwayne; Winterstein, Scott; Scribner, Kim T

    2014-01-01

    Understanding the factors that affect dispersal is a fundamental question in ecology and conservation biology, particularly as populations are faced with increasing anthropogenic impacts. Here we collected georeferenced genetic samples (n = 2,540) from three generations of black bears (Ursus americanus) harvested in a large (47,739 km2), geographically isolated population and used parentage analysis to identify mother-offspring dyads (n = 337). We quantified the effects of sex, age, habitat type and suitability, and local harvest density at the natal and settlement sites on the probability of natal dispersal, and on dispersal distances. Dispersal was male-biased (76% of males dispersed) but a small proportion (21%) of females also dispersed, and female dispersal distances (mean ± SE  =  48.9±7.7 km) were comparable to male dispersal distances (59.0±3.2 km). Dispersal probabilities and dispersal distances were greatest for bears in areas with high habitat suitability and low harvest density. The inverse relationship between dispersal and harvest density in black bears suggests that 1) intensive harvest promotes restricted dispersal, or 2) high black bear population density decreases the propensity to disperse. Multigenerational genetic data collected over large landscape scales can be a powerful means of characterizing dispersal patterns and causal associations with demographic and landscape features in wild populations of elusive and wide-ranging species. PMID:24621593

  1. Prevalence of Trichinella spp. in black bears, grizzly bears, and wolves in the Dehcho Region, Northwest Territories, Canada, including the first report of T. nativa in a grizzly bear from Canada.

    PubMed

    Larter, Nicholas C; Forbes, Lorry B; Elkin, Brett T; Allaire, Danny G

    2011-07-01

    Samples of muscle from 120 black bears (Ursus americanus), 11 grizzly bears (Ursus arctos), and 27 wolves (Canis lupus) collected in the Dehcho Region of the Northwest Territories from 2001 to 2010 were examined for the presence of Trichinella spp. larvae using a pepsin-HCl digestion assay. Trichinella spp. larvae were found in eight of 11 (73%) grizzly bears, 14 of 27 (52%) wolves, and seven of 120 (5.8%) black bears. The average age of positive grizzly bears, black bears, and wolves was 13.5, 9.9, and approximately 4 yr, respectively. Larvae from 11 wolves, six black bears, and seven grizzly bears were genotyped. Six wolves were infected with T. nativa and five with Trichinella T6, four black bears were infected with T. nativa and two with Trichinella T6, and all seven grizzly bears were infected with Trichinella T6 and one of them had a coinfection with T. nativa. This is the first report of T. nativa in a grizzly bear from Canada. Bears have been linked to trichinellosis outbreaks in humans in Canada, and black bears are a subsistence food source for residents of the Dehcho region. In order to assess food safety risk it is important to monitor the prevalence of Trichinella spp. in both species of bear and their cohabiting mammalian food sources. PMID:21719845

  2. East Greenland and Barents Sea polar bears (Ursus maritimus): adaptive variation between two populations using skull morphometrics as an indicator of environmental and genetic differences.

    PubMed

    Pertoldi, Cino; Sonne, Christian; Wiig, Øystein; Baagøe, Hans J; Loeschcke, Volker; Bechshøft, Thea Østergaard

    2012-06-01

    A morphometric study was conducted on four skull traits of 37 male and 18 female adult East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) collected 1892-1968, and on 54 male and 44 female adult Barents Sea polar bears collected 1950-1969. The aim was to compare differences in size and shape of the bear skulls using a multivariate approach, characterizing the variation between the two populations using morphometric traits as an indicator of environmental and genetic differences. Mixture analysis testing for geographic differentiation within each population revealed three clusters for Barents Sea males and three clusters for Barents Sea females. East Greenland consisted of one female and one male cluster. A principal component analysis (PCA) conducted on the clusters defined by the mixture analysis, showed that East Greenland and Barents Sea polar bear populations overlapped to a large degree, especially with regards to females. Multivariate analyses of variance (MANOVA) showed no significant differences in morphometric means between the two populations, but differences were detected between clusters from each respective geographic locality. To estimate the importance of genetics and environment in the morphometric differences between the bears, a PCA was performed on the covariance matrix derived from the skull measurements. Skull trait size (PC1) explained approx. 80% of the morphometric variation, whereas shape (PC2) defined approx. 15%, indicating some genetic differentiation. Hence, both environmental and genetic factors seem to have contributed to the observed skull differences between the two populations. Overall, results indicate that many Barents Sea polar bears are morphometrically similar to the East Greenland ones, suggesting an exchange of individuals between the two populations. Furthermore, a subpopulation structure in the Barents Sea population was also indicated from the present analyses, which should be considered with regards to future management

  3. Current status of brown bears in the Manasalu Conservation Area, Nepal

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Aryal, Achyut; Sathyakumar, S.; Schwartz, Charles C.

    2010-01-01

    Although brown bears (Ursus arctos) are rare in the Himalayan region, populations have been documented in alpine habitats of Pakistan and India. Brown bears were once known to exist in both Nepal and Bhutan, but current information on their numbers and distributions was lacking. We document the presence of brown bears in the Manasalu Conservation Area (MCA) in Nepal using field surveys and interviews with local people. We were able to confirm the existence of a remnant population based on finding bear scat and locations where bears excavated for Himalayan marmots (Marmota himalayana). Based on interviews with local people, it appeared that the presence of brown bears in the area is relatively recent and likely a result of immigration of bears from the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Interviews with local herders also indicated that livestock losses from brown bear predation amounted to approximately 318,000 Nepali rupees (US $4,240) from February 2006 through July 2008.

  4. Geographic pattern of serum antibody prevalence for Brucella spp. in caribou, grizzly bears, and wolves from Alaska, 1975-1998.

    PubMed

    Zarnke, Randall L; Ver Hoef, Jay M; DeLong, Robert A

    2006-07-01

    Blood samples were collected from 2,635 caribou (Rangifer tarandus), 1,238 grizzly bears (Ursus arctos), and 930 wolves (Canis lupus) from throughout mainland Alaska during 1975-98. Sera were tested for evidence of exposure to Brucella spp. Serum antibody prevalences were highest in the northwestern region of the state. In any specific area, antibody prevalences for caribou and wolves were of a similar magnitude, whereas antibody prevalence for bears in these same areas were two to three times higher. PMID:17092888

  5. Biological consequences of relocating grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Blanchard, Bonnie M.; Knight, Richard R.

    1995-01-01

    Relocating grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) from human/bear conflict situations has been a standard management procedure. Using data from Yellowstone National Park, we present components of situations that may affect the outcome of a relocation. Survival rates of transported bears were lower (lx = 0.83) (P = 0.001) than those not transported (lx = 0.89). Survival was largely affected by whether the bear returned to the capture site (P = 0.029). Return rate was most affected by distance transported (P = 0.012) and age-sex group (P = 0.014). Return rates decreased at distances -75 km, and subadult females returned least (P = 0.050) often. Because of low survival and high return rates, transporting grizzly bears should be considered a final action to eliminate a conflict situation. However, transporting females must be considered a viable management technique because transports of some individuals have resulted in contributions to the population through successful reproduction.

  6. Diet and Co-ecology of Pleistocene Short-Faced Bears and Brown Bears in Eastern Beringia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Matheus, Paul E.

    1995-11-01

    Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of fossil bone collagen reveals that Pleistocene short-faced bears ( Arctodus simus) of Beringia were highly carnivorous, while contemporaneous brown bears ( Ursus arctos) had highly variable diets that included varying amounts of terrestrial vegetation, salmon, and small amounts of terrestrial meat. A reconsideration of the short-faced bear's highly derived morphology indicates that they foraged as scavengers of widely dispersed large mammal carcasses and were simultaneously designed both for highly efficient locomotion and for intimidating other large carnivores. This allowed Arctodus to forage economically over a large home range and seek out, procure, and defend carcasses from other large carnivores. The isotope data and this reconstruction of Arctodus' foraging behavior refute the hypothesis that competition from brown bears was a significant factor in the extinction of short-faced bears.

  7. Modeling multi-scale resource selection for bear rub trees in northwestern Montana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Morgan Henderson, Matthew J.; Hebblewhite, Mark; Mitchell, Michael S.; Stetz, Jeffrey B.; Kendall, Katherine C.; Carlson, Ross T.

    2015-01-01

    Both black (Ursus americanus) and grizzly bears (U. arctos) are known to rub on trees and other objects, producing a network of repeatedly used and identifiable rub sites. In 2012, we used a resource selection function to evaluate hypothesized relationships between locations of 887 bear rubs in northwestern Montana, USA, and elevation, slope angle, density of open roads and distance from areas of heightened plant-productivity likely containing forage for bears. Slope and density of open roads were negatively correlated with rub presence. No other covariates were supported as explanatory variables. We also hypothesized that bear rubs would be more strongly associated with closed roads and developed trails than with game trails. The frequencies of bear rubs on 30 paired segments of developed tracks and game trails were not different. Our results suggest bear rubs may be associated with bear travel routes, and support their use as “random” sampling devices for non-invasive spatial capture–recapture population monitoring.

  8. Isolation and Genetic Characterization of Toxoplasma gondii from Black Bears (Ursus americanus), Bobcats (Lynx rufus), and Feral Cats (Felis catus) from Pennsylvania.

    PubMed

    Dubey, Jitender P; Verma, Shiv K; Calero-Bernal, Rafael; Cassinelli, Ana B; Kwok, Oliver C H; Van Why, Kyle; Su, Chunlei; Humphreys, Jan G

    2015-01-01

    Toxoplasma gondii infects virtually all warm-blooded hosts worldwide. Recently, attention has been focused on the genetic diversity of the parasite to explain its pathogenicity in different hosts. It has been hypothesized that interaction between feral and domestic cycles of T. gondii may increase unusual genotypes in domestic cats and facilitate transmission of potentially more pathogenic genotypes to humans, domestic animals, and wildlife. In the present study, we tested black bear (Ursus americanus), bobcat (Lynx rufus), and feral cat (Felis catus) from the state of Pennsylvania for T. gondii infection. Antibodies to T. gondii were found in 32 (84.2%) of 38 bears, both bobcats, and 2 of 3 feral cats tested by the modified agglutination test (cut off titer 1:25). Hearts from seropositive animals were bioassayed in mice, and viable T. gondii was isolated from 3 of 32 bears, 2 of 2 bobcats, and 2 of 3 feral cats. DNA isolated from culture-derived tachyzoites of these isolates was characterized using multilocus PCR-RFLP markers. Three genotypes were revealed, including ToxoDB PCR-RFLP genotype #1 or #3 (Type II, 1 isolate), #5 (Type 12, 3 isolates), and #216 (3 isolates), adding to the evidence of genetic diversity of T. gondii in wildlife in Pennsylvania. Pathogenicity of 3 T. gondii isolates (all #216, 1 from bear, and 2 from feral cat) was determined in outbred Swiss Webster mice; all three were virulent causing 100% mortality. Results indicated that highly mouse pathogenic strains of T. gondii are circulating in wildlife, and these strains may pose risk to infect human through consuming of game meat. PMID:25393429

  9. Immunoquantitation and microsomal monooxygenase activities of hepatic cytochromes P4501A and P4502B and chlorinated hydrocarbon contaminant levels in polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Letcher, R J; Norstrom, R J; Lin, S; Ramsay, M A; Bandiera, S M

    1996-04-01

    Contamination of the Arctic ecosystem by anthropogenic compounds has resulted in exposure of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) to lipophilic chlorinated hydrocarbon contaminants (CHCs) accumulated through the marine food web. Liver samples were collected from 16 adult male polar bears in the Canadian arctic and subjected to chemical analysis for CHCs and metabolites, determination of alkoxyresorufin O-dealkylase activities, and immunoquantitation of cytochrome P450 (CYP) protein levels. We report on the relationships between the hepatic microsomal levels of immunoreactive CYP1A and CYP2B isozymes, catalytic activities, and hepatic CHC and metabolite concentrations in polar bear. We specifically explored the influence of several CHCs on the induction of hepatic CYP in polar bear and the potential use of immunoassay quantitation as a bioindicator of CHC exposure. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) classed as CYP1A and mixed CYP1A/CYP2B inducers accounted for about 25% of the total PCB residues present (18,680 +/- 5053 ng/g lipid). CYP1A protein content correlated strongly with hepatic levels of PCBs, PCDDs (0.032 +/- 0.018 ng/g lipid, and PCDFs (0.011 +/- 0.007 ng/g lipid) and their corresponding toxic equivalents (TEQ, 0.377 +/- 0.182 ng/g lipid). Mono-ortho-CB-156, CB-157, and CB-105 were the predominant TEQ contributors. Correlations between CYP2B protein content and CHC residue levels in polar bear liver suggested that ortho-chlorine-substituted PCBs and chlordanes were the major contributors to CYP2B induction. CYP1A and CYP2B contents were therefore good indicators of CHC exposure in polar bear liver. Ethoxyresorufin, pentoxyresorufin, and benzyloxyresorufin O-dealkylase activities increased with increasing CYP1A protein content up to protein levels of approximately 5 pmol/mg, suggesting that all three activities were primarily CYP1A-mediated. These results were substantiated by antibody inhibition experiments. In summary, immunoquantitated CYP1A and CYP2B isozymes are

  10. Alaskan brown bears, humans, and habituation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, Thomas; Herrero, Stephen; DeBruyn, Terry D.

    2005-01-01

    We present a new paradigm for understanding habituation and the role it plays in brown bear (Ursus arctos) populations and interactions with humans in Alaska. We assert that 3 forms of habituation occur in Alaska: bear-to-bear, bear-to-human, and human-to-bear. We present data that supports our theory that bear density is an important factor influencing a bear’s overt reaction distance (ORD); that as bear density increases, overt reaction distance decreases, as does the likelihood of bear– human interactions. We maintain that the effects of bear-to-bear habituation are largely responsible for not only shaping bear aggregations but also for creating the relatively safe environment for bear viewing experienced at areas where there are high densities of brown bears. By promoting a better understanding of the forces that shape bear social interactions within populations and with humans that mingle with them, we can better manage human activities and minimize bear–human conflict.

  11. Extensive sampling of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in the Northwest Passage (Canadian Arctic Archipelago) reveals population differentiation across multiple spatial and temporal scales.

    PubMed

    Campagna, Leonardo; Van Coeverden de Groot, Peter J; Saunders, Brenda L; Atkinson, Stephen N; Weber, Diana S; Dyck, Markus G; Boag, Peter T; Lougheed, Stephen C

    2013-09-01

    As global warming accelerates the melting of Arctic sea ice, polar bears (Ursus maritimus) must adapt to a rapidly changing landscape. This process will necessarily alter the species distribution together with population dynamics and structure. Detailed knowledge of these changes is crucial to delineating conservation priorities. Here, we sampled 361 polar bears from across the center of the Canadian Arctic Archipelago spanning the Gulf of Boothia (GB) and M'Clintock Channel (MC). We use DNA microsatellites and mitochondrial control region sequences to quantify genetic differentiation, estimate gene flow, and infer population history. Two populations, roughly coincident with GB and MC, are significantly differentiated at both nuclear (F ST = 0.01) and mitochondrial (ΦST = 0.47; F ST = 0.29) loci, allowing Bayesian clustering analyses to assign individuals to either group. Our data imply that the causes of the mitochondrial and nuclear genetic patterns differ. Analysis of mtDNA reveals the matrilineal structure dates at least to the Holocene, and is common to individuals throughout the species' range. These mtDNA differences probably reflect both genetic drift and historical colonization dynamics. In contrast, the differentiation inferred from microsatellites is only on the scale of hundreds of years, possibly reflecting contemporary impediments to gene flow. Taken together, our data suggest that gene flow is insufficient to homogenize the GB and MC populations and support the designation of GB and MC as separate polar bear conservation units. Our study also provide a striking example of how nuclear DNA and mtDNA capture different aspects of a species demographic history. PMID:24102001

  12. Assessment of neurotoxic effects of mercury in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), ringed seals (Pusa hispida), and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Canadian Arctic.

    PubMed

    Krey, Anke; Ostertag, Sonja K; Chan, Hing Man

    2015-03-15

    Marine mammals are indicator species of the Arctic ecosystem and an integral component of the traditional Inuit diet. The potential neurotoxic effects of increased mercury (Hg) in beluga whales (Delphinapterus leucas), ringed seals (Pusa hispida), and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are not clear. We assessed the risk of Hg-associated neurotoxicity to these species by comparing their brain Hg concentrations with threshold concentrations for toxic endpoints detected in laboratory animals and field observations: clinical symptoms (>6.75 mg/kg wet weight (ww)), neuropathological signs (>4 mg/kg ww), neurochemical changes (>0.4 mg/kg ww), and neurobehavioral changes (>0.1mg/kg ww). The total Hg (THg) concentrations in the cerebellum and frontal lobe of ringed seals and polar bears were <0.5mg/kg ww, whereas the average concentration in beluga whale brain was >3mg/kg ww. Our results suggest that brain THg levels in polar bears are below levels that induce neurobehavioral effects as reported in the literature, while THg concentrations in ringed seals are within the range that elicit neurobehavioral effects and individual ringed seals exceed the threshold for neurochemical changes. The relatively high THg concentration in beluga whales exceeds all of the neurotoxicity thresholds assessed. High brain selenium (Se):Hg molar ratios were observed in all three species, suggesting that Se could protect the animals from Hg-associated neurotoxicity. This assessment was limited by several factors that influence neurotoxic effects in animals, including: animal species; form of Hg in the brain; and interactions with modifiers of Hg-associated toxicity, such as Se. Comparing brain Hg concentrations in wildlife with concentrations of appropriate laboratory studies can be used as a tool for risk characterization of the neurotoxic effects of Hg in Arctic marine mammals. PMID:24958011

  13. Predatory behavior of grizzly bears feeding on elk calves in Yellowstone National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    French, Steven P.; French, Marilynn G.

    1990-01-01

    Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) were observed preying on elk calves (Cervus elaphus) on 60 occasions in Yellowstone National Park, with 29 confirmed kills. Some bears were deliberate predators and effectively preyed on elk calves for short periods each spring, killing up to 1 calf daily. Primary hunting techniques were searching and chasing although some bears used a variety of techniques during a single hunt. They hunted both day and night and preyed on calves in the open and in the woods. Excess killing occurred when circumstances permitted. One bear caught 5 calves in a 15-minute interval. Elk used a variety of antipredator defenses and occasionally attacked predacious bears. The current level of this feeding behavior appears to be greater than previously reported. This is probably related to the increased availability of calves providing a greater opportunity for learning, and the adaptation of a more predatory behavior by some grizzly bears in Yellowstone.

  14. Bear feeding activity at alpine insect aggregation sites in the Yellowstone ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, David J.; Gillin, Colin M.; Benson, Scott A.; Knight, Richard R.

    1991-01-01

    Bears (Ursidae) were observed from fixed-wing aircraft on or near alpine talus in the Shoshone National Forest between 15 June and 15 September in 1981–1989. Bears fed on insect aggregations at 6 known and 12 suspected alpine talus sites, disproportionately more at elevations > 3350 m, on slopes > 30°, and on south- and west-facing aspects. While at these sites, bears almost exclusively ate invertebrates, typically army cutworm moths (Euxoa auxiliaris). Subadult grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) appeared to be underrepresented at the sites, and proportionate representation of adult females with young appeared to decrease between 15 June and 15 September. Overall, observations of bears at these sites increased between 1981 and 1989. We suggest that alpine insect aggregations are an important food source for bears in the Shoshone National Forest, especially in the absence of high-quality foraging alternatives in July and August of most years.

  15. Environmental contaminants activate human and polar bear (Ursus maritimus) pregnane X receptors (PXR, NR1I2) differently

    SciTech Connect

    Lille-Langøy, Roger; Goldstone, Jared V.; Rusten, Marte; Milnes, Matthew R.; Male, Rune; Stegeman, John J.; Blumberg, Bruce; Goksøyr, Anders

    2015-04-01

    Background: Many persistent organic pollutants (POPs) accumulate readily in polar bears because of their position as apex predators in Arctic food webs. The pregnane X receptor (PXR, formally NR1I2, here proposed to be named promiscuous xenobiotic receptor) is a xenobiotic sensor that is directly involved in metabolizing pathways of a wide range of environmental contaminants. Objectives: In the present study, we comparably assess the ability of 51 selected pharmaceuticals, pesticides and emerging contaminants to activate PXRs from polar bears and humans using an in vitro luciferase reporter gene assay. Results: We found that polar bear PXR is activated by a wide range of our test compounds (68%) but has a slightly more narrow ligand specificity than human PXR that was activated by 86% of the 51 test compounds. The majority of the agonists identified (70%) produces a stronger induction of the reporter gene via human PXR than via polar bear PXR, however with some notable and environmentally relevant exceptions. Conclusions: Due to the observed differences in activation of polar bear and human PXRs, exposure of each species to environmental agents is likely to induce biotransformation differently in the two species. Bioinformatics analyses and structural modeling studies suggest that amino acids that are not part of the ligand-binding domain and do not interact with the ligand can modulate receptor activation. - Highlights: • Comparative study of ligand activation of human and polar bear PXRs. • Polar bear PXR is a promiscuous ligand-activated nuclear receptor but less so than human PXR. • Environmental contaminants activate human and polar bear PXRs differently. • Expression and ligand promiscuity indicate that PXR is a xenosensor in polar bears.

  16. The role of Pleistocene glaciations in shaping the evolution of polar and brown bears. Evidence from a critical review of mitochondrial and nuclear genome analyses.

    PubMed

    Hassanin, Alexandre

    2015-07-01

    In this report, I review recent molecular studies dealing with the origin and evolution of polar bears (Ursus maritimus), with special emphasis on their relationships with brown bears (U. arctos). On the basis of mitochondrial and nuclear data, different hypotheses have been proposed, including rapid morphological differentiation of U. maritimus, genetic introgression from U. arctos into U. maritimus, or inversely from U. maritimus into U. arctos, involving either male- or female-mediated gene flow. In the light of available molecular and eco-ethological data, I suggest, firstly, that all divergences among major clades of large bears can be linked to glacial periods, secondly, that polar bears diverged from brown bears before 530 thousand years ago (ka), during one of the three glacial marine isotope stages (MIS) 14, 15.2 or 16, and, thirdly, that genetic introgression had occurred from female polar bears into brown bear populations during at least two glacial periods, at 340 ± 10 ka (MIS 10) in western Europe, and at 155 ± 5 ka (MIS 6) on the ABC islands of southeastern Alaska, and probably also in Beringia and Ireland based on ancient DNA sequences. PMID:26026577

  17. Movements of Yellowstone grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Blanchard, Bonnie M.; Knight, Richard R.

    1991-01-01

    Ninety-seven grizzly bears Ursus arctos horribilis were radio-located 6299 times during 1975–1987. Annual range sizes differed by sex, age, reproductive status and amount of precipitation. Females exhibited greater fidelity to seasonal and annual ranges than males. Weaned female offspring generally remained in the vicinity of the maternal range, while weaned males often made substantial movements to unexplored country. Average total home range size was 884 km2 for females and 3757 km2 for males. Males consistently exhibited greater indices of movement and range sizes than females. All cohorts had larger mean ranges during this study than during the period 1959–1969 when the population had access to open garbage dumps. Movements and elevational distribution of all cohorts were related to availability of whitebark pine Pinus albicaulis seeds. We hypothesized that females with cubs-of-the-year and yearlings were displaced from most productive habitats during seasons and years of limited food availability.

  18. Influence of drift and admixture on population structure of American black bears (Ursus americanus) in the Central Interior Highlands, USA, 50 years after translocation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Puckett, Emily E.; Kristensen, Thea V.; Wilton, Clay M.; Lyda, Sara B.; Noyce, Karen V.; Holahan, Paula M.; Leslie,, David M., Jr.; Beringer, J.; Belant, Jerrold L.; White, D., Jr.; Eggert, L.S.

    2014-01-01

    Bottlenecks, founder events, and genetic drift often result in decreased genetic diversity and increased population differentiation. These events may follow abundance declines due to natural or anthropogenic perturbations, where translocations may be an effective conservation strategy to increase population size. American black bears (Ursus americanus) were nearly extirpated from the Central Interior Highlands, USA by 1920. In an effort to restore bears, 254 individuals were translocated from Minnesota, USA, and Manitoba, Canada, into the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains from 1958 to 1968. Using 15 microsatellites and mitochondrial haplotypes, we observed contemporary genetic diversity and differentiation between the source and supplemented populations. We inferred four genetic clusters: Source, Ouachitas, Ozarks, and a cluster in Missouri where no individuals were translocated. Coalescent models using approximate Bayesian computation identified an admixture model as having the highest posterior probability (0.942) over models where the translocation was unsuccessful or acted as a founder event. Nuclear genetic diversity was highest in the source (AR = 9.11) and significantly lower in the translocated populations (AR = 7.07-7.34; P = 0.004). The Missouri cluster had the lowest genetic diversity (AR = 5.48) and served as a natural experiment showing the utility of translocations to increase genetic diversity following demographic bottlenecks. Differentiation was greater between the two admixed populations than either compared to the source, suggesting that genetic drift acted strongly over the eight generations since the translocation. The Ouachitas and Missouri were previously hypothesized to be remnant lineages. We observed a pretranslocation remnant signature in Missouri but not in the Ouachitas.

  19. Influence of drift and admixture on population structure of American black bears (Ursus americanus) in the Central Interior Highlands, USA, 50 years after translocation.

    PubMed

    Puckett, Emily E; Kristensen, Thea V; Wilton, Clay M; Lyda, Sara B; Noyce, Karen V; Holahan, Paula M; Leslie, David M; Beringer, Jeff; Belant, Jerrold L; White, Don; Eggert, Lori S

    2014-05-01

    Bottlenecks, founder events, and genetic drift often result in decreased genetic diversity and increased population differentiation. These events may follow abundance declines due to natural or anthropogenic perturbations, where translocations may be an effective conservation strategy to increase population size. American black bears (Ursus americanus) were nearly extirpated from the Central Interior Highlands, USA by 1920. In an effort to restore bears, 254 individuals were translocated from Minnesota, USA, and Manitoba, Canada, into the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains from 1958 to 1968. Using 15 microsatellites and mitochondrial haplotypes, we observed contemporary genetic diversity and differentiation between the source and supplemented populations. We inferred four genetic clusters: Source, Ouachitas, Ozarks, and a cluster in Missouri where no individuals were translocated. Coalescent models using approximate Bayesian computation identified an admixture model as having the highest posterior probability (0.942) over models where the translocation was unsuccessful or acted as a founder event. Nuclear genetic diversity was highest in the source (AR = 9.11) and significantly lower in the translocated populations (AR = 7.07-7.34; P = 0.004). The Missouri cluster had the lowest genetic diversity (AR = 5.48) and served as a natural experiment showing the utility of translocations to increase genetic diversity following demographic bottlenecks. Differentiation was greater between the two admixed populations than either compared to the source, suggesting that genetic drift acted strongly over the eight generations since the translocation. The Ouachitas and Missouri were previously hypothesized to be remnant lineages. We observed a pretranslocation remnant signature in Missouri but not in the Ouachitas. PMID:24712442

  20. Thyroid hormones and deiodinase activity in plasma and tissues in relation to high levels of organohalogen contaminants in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Gabrielsen, Kristin Møller; Krokstad, Julie Stene; Villanger, Gro Dehli; Blair, David A D; Obregon, Maria-Jesus; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Letcher, Robert J; Jenssen, Bjørn Munro

    2015-01-01

    Previous studies have shown relationships between organohalogen contaminants (OHCs) and circulating levels of thyroid hormones (THs) in arctic wildlife. However, there is a lack of knowledge concerning the possible functional effects of OHCs on TH status in target tissues for TH-dependent activity. The relationships between circulating (plasma) levels of OHCs and various TH variables in plasma as well as in liver, muscle and kidney tissues from East Greenland sub-adult polar bears (Ursus maritimus) sampled in 2011 (n=7) were therefore investigated. The TH variables included 3.3',5.5'-tetraiodothyronine or thyroxine (T4), 3.3',5-triiodothyronine (T3) and type 1 (D1) and type 2 (D2) deiodinase activities. Principal component analysis (PCA) combined with correlation analyses demonstrated negative relationships between individual polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and their hydroxylated (OH-) metabolites and T4 in both plasma and muscle. There were both positive and negative relationships between individual OHCs and D1 and D2 activities in muscle, liver and kidney tissues. In general, PCBs, OH-PCBs and polybrominated dipehenyl ethers (PBDEs) were positively correlated to D1 and D2 activities, whereas organochlorine pesticides and byproducts (OCPs) were negatively associated with D1 and D2 activities. These results support the hypothesis that OHCs can affect TH status and action in the target tissues of polar bears. TH levels and deiodinase activities in target tissues can be sensitive endpoints for exposure of TH-disrupting compounds in arctic wildlife, and thus, tissue-specific responses in target organs should be further considered when assessing TH disruption in wildlife studies. PMID:25460663

  1. Environmental contaminants activate human and polar bear (Ursus maritimus) pregnane X receptors (PXR, NR1I2) differently

    PubMed Central

    Roger, Lille-Langøy; V, Goldstone Jared; Marte, Rusten; R, Milnes Matthew; Rune, Male; J, Stegeman John; Bruce, Blumberg; Anders, Goksøyr

    2015-01-01

    BACKGROUND Many persistent organic pollutants (POPs) accumulate readily in polar bears because of their position as apex predators in Arctic food webs. The pregnane X receptor (PXR, formally NR1I2, here proposed to be named promiscuous xenobiotic receptor) is a xenobiotic sensor that is directly involved in metabolizing pathways of a wide range of environmental contaminants. OBJECTIVES In the present study, we comparably assess the ability of 51 selected pharmaceuticals, pesticides and emerging contaminants to activate PXRs from polar bears and humans using an in vitro luciferase reporter gene assay. RESULTS We found that polar bear PXR is activated by a wide range of our test compounds (68%) but has a slightly more narrow ligand specificity than human PXR that was activated by 86% of the 51 test compounds. The majority of the agonists identified (70%) produces a stronger induction of the reporter gene via human PXR than via polar bear PXR, however with some notable and environmentally relevant exceptions. CONCLUSIONS Due to the observed differences in activation of polar bear and human PXRs, exposure of each species to environmental agents is likely to induce biotransformation differently in the two species. Bioinformatics analyses and structural modelling studies suggests that amino acids that are not part of the ligand-binding domain and do not interact with the ligand can modulate receptor activation. PMID:25680588

  2. A novel method for analysing key corticosteroids in polar bear (Ursus maritimus) hair using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Weisser, Johan J; Hansen, Martin; Björklund, Erland; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Styrishave, Bjarne

    2016-04-01

    This paper presents the development and evaluation of a methodology for extraction, clean-up and analysis of three key corticosteroids (aldosterone, cortisol and corticosterone) in polar bear hair. Such a methodology can be used to monitor stress biomarkers in polar bears and may provide as a useful tool for long-term and retrospective information. We developed a combined pressurized liquid extraction (PLE)-solid phase extraction (SPE) procedure for corticosteroid extraction and clean-up followed by high pressure liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) analysis. This procedure allows for the simultaneous determination of multiple steroids, which is in contrast to previous polar bear studies based on ELISA techniques. Absolute method recoveries were 81%, 75% and 60% for cortisol, corticosterone and aldosterone, respectively. We applied the developed method on a hair sample pooled from four East Greenland polar bears. Herein cortisol and corticosterone were successfully determined in levels of 0.32±0.02ng/g hair and 0.13±0.02ng/g hair, respectively. Aldosterone was below limit of detection (LOD<0.17ng/g). The cortisol hair concentration found in these East Greenland polar bears was consistent with cortisol levels previously determined in the Southern Hudson Bay and James Bay in Canada using ELISA kits. PMID:26945133

  3. Whitebark pine, grizzly bears, and red squirrels

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, D.J.; Kendall, K.C.; Reinhart, D.P.

    2001-01-01

    Appropriately enough, much of this book is devoted to discussing management challenges and techniques. However, the impetus for action—the desire to save whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis)—necessarily arises from the extent to which we cherish it for its beauty and its connections with other things that we value. Whitebark pine is at the hub of a fascinating web of relationships. It is the stuff of great stories (cf. Quammen 1994). One of the more interesting of these stories pertains to the dependence of certain grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) populations on its seeds, and the role that red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) play as an agent of transfer between tree and bear.

  4. Issues of choice and control in the behaviour of a pair of captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Ross, Stephen R

    2006-07-01

    Stereotyped behaviour occurs in a wide variety of captive animals including ursids. The provision of animal control over aspects of their environment by providing choices is a critical element for improving welfare. The behaviour of two sibling polar bears at a metropolitan zoo was examined to investigate the effect of providing access to their indoor, off-exhibit holding space. Both bears demonstrated behavioural changes when given the choice to access their indoor dens including decreased stereotyped behaviours and increased social play. These results, although based on just two bears, provide additional support for the assertion that choice and control are closely tied to issues of well-being for captive animals. PMID:16687218

  5. Non-invasive detection of candidate pregnancy protein biomarkers in the feces of captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Curry, E; Stoops, M A; Roth, T L

    2012-07-15

    Currently, there is no method of accurately and non-invasively diagnosing pregnancy in polar bears. Specific proteins may exhibit altered profiles in the feces of pregnant bears, but predicting appropriate candidate proteins to investigate is speculative at best. The objective of this study was to identify potential pregnancy biomarker proteins based on their increased abundance in the feces of pregnant polar bears compared to pseudopregnant females (controls) using two-dimensional in-gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) and mass spectrometry (MS). Three 2D-DIGE gels were performed to evaluate fecal protein profiles from controls (n=3) and pregnant polar bears (n=3). There were 2224.67±52.39 (mean±SEM) spots resolved per gel. Of these, only five proteins were elevated in the pregnant group (P<0.05), and seven additional spots tended to be higher (0.0599.9% confidence interval. The 11 spots represented seven distinct proteins, five of which were significantly more abundant in the pregnant group: IgGFc-binding protein, filamin-C, carboxypeptidase B, transthyretin, and immunoglobulin heavy chain variable region. To our knowledge, this was the first study that employed 2D-DIGE to identify differentially expressed proteins in fecal samples to characterize a physiological condition other than those related to gastrointestinal disorders. These promising results provided a strong foundation for ensuing efforts to develop a non-invasive pregnancy assay for use in both captive and wild polar bears. PMID:22538002

  6. Physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modelling of immune, reproductive and carcinogenic effects from contaminant exposure in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) across the Arctic.

    PubMed

    Dietz, Rune; Gustavson, Kim; Sonne, Christian; Desforges, Jean-Pierre; Rigét, Frank F; Pavlova, Viola; McKinney, Melissa A; Letcher, Robert J

    2015-07-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) consume large quantities of seal blubber and other high trophic marine mammals and consequently have some of the highest tissue concentrations of organohalogen contaminants (OHCs) among Arctic biota. In the present paper we carried out a risk quotient (RQ) evaluation on OHC-exposed polar bears harvested from 1999 to 2008 and from 11 circumpolar subpopulations spanning from Alaska to Svalbard in order to evaluate the risk of OHC-mediated reproductive effects (embryotoxicity, teratogenicity), immunotoxicity and carcinogenicity (genotoxicity). This RQ evaluation was based on the Critical Body Residue (CBR) concept and a Physiologically-Based Pharmacokinetic Modelling (PBPK) approach using OHC concentrations measured in polar bear adipose or liver tissue. The range of OHC concentrations within polar bear populations were as follows for adipose, sum polychlorinated biphenyls ∑PCBs (1797-10,537 ng/g lw), sum methylsulphone-PCB ∑MeSO2-PCBs (110-672 ng/g lw), sum chlordanes ∑CHLs (765-3477 ng/g lw), α-hexachlorocyclohexane α-HCH (8.5-91.3 ng/g lw), β-hexachlorocyclohexane β-HCH (65.5-542 ng/g lw), sum chlorbenzenes ∑ClBzs (145-304 ng/g lw), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane ∑DDTs (31.5-206 ng/g lw), dieldrin (69-249 ng/g lw), polybrominated diphenyl ethers ∑PBDEs (4.6-78.4 ng/g lw). For liver, the perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) concentrations ranged from 231-2792 ng/g ww. The total additive RQ from all OHCs ranged from 4.3 in Alaska to 28.6 in East Greenland bears for effects on reproduction, immune health and carcinogenicity, highlighting the important result that the toxic effect threshold (i.e. RQ>1) was exceeded for all polar bear populations assessed. PCBs were the main contributors for all three effect categories, contributing from 70.6% to 94.3% of the total risk and a RQ between 3.8-22.5. ∑MeSO2-PCBs were the second highest effect contributor for reproductive and immunological effects (0.17

  7. [A molecular phylogeny of Shennongjia white bear based on mitochondrial cytochrome b gene sequence].

    PubMed

    Wang, Hui-Juan; Zhang, Zhi-Min; Liu, Zhong-Lai; Xiong, Guo-Mei

    2006-10-01

    The phylogenetic relationship of Shennongjia white bear has been an open question. Total DNA was extracted and sequenced from hair and feces of Shennongjia white bear. Based on the partial Cyt b gene sequence obtained from the samples, the authors aligned them using the Clustal W software program. The MEGA software was used to analyze the divergences and base substitutions of the partial Cyt b gene among the 11 species: Shennongjia white bear, Selenarctos thibetanus, Euarctos americanus, Helarctos malayanus, Ursus arctos, Thalarctos maritimus, Melursus ursinus, Procyon lotor, Ailuropoda melanoleuca, Ailurus fulgens and Tremarctos ornatus. The phylogenetic trees constructed by multiple methods (NJ and MP) supported nearly the same topology. Our molecular results show that the sequence divergence between Shennongjia white bear and Asiatic black bear (Selenarctos thibetanus) is lower than that between other species. PMID:17035181

  8. Can polar bears use terrestrial foods to offset lost ice-based hunting opportunities?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rode, Karyn D.; Robbins, Charles T.; Nelson, Lynne; Amstrup, Steven C.

    2015-01-01

    Increased land use by polar bears (Ursus maritimus) due to climate-change-induced reduction of their sea-ice habitat illustrates the impact of climate change on species distributions and the difficulty of conserving a large, highly specialized carnivore in the face of this global threat. Some authors have suggested that terrestrial food consumption by polar bears will help them withstand sea-ice loss as they are forced to spend increasing amounts of time on land. Here, we evaluate the nutritional needs of polar bears as well as the physiological and environmental constraints that shape their use of terrestrial ecosystems. Only small numbers of polar bears have been documented consuming terrestrial foods even in modest quantities. Over much of the polar bear's range, limited terrestrial food availability supports only low densities of much smaller, resident brown bears (Ursus arctos), which use low-quality resources more efficiently and may compete with polar bears in these areas. Where consumption of terrestrial foods has been documented, polar bear body condition and survival rates have declined even as land use has increased. Thus far, observed consumption of terrestrial food by polar bears has been insufficient to offset lost ice-based hunting opportunities but can have ecological consequences for other species. Warming-induced loss of sea ice remains the primary threat faced by polar bears.

  9. Characteristics of frozen-thawed spermatozoa cryopreserved with different concentrations of glycerol in captive Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    PubMed

    Okano, Tsukasa; Nakamura, Sachiko; Komatsu, Takeshi; Murase, Tetsuma; Miyazawa, Kiyoshi; Asano, Makoto; Tsubota, Toshio

    2006-10-01

    Seven mature Japanese black bears were used as semen donors, and a total of 7 semen samples collected from the animals by the electroejaculation method were cryopreserved in liquid nitrogen. Egg yolk-TRIS-citrate-glucose extender was used, and the effects of different final concentrations of glycerol, at 4-12% (v/v), on frozen-thawed spermatozoa were examined. No significant difference was observed in percent motility or percent abnormal morphology of frozen-thawed spermatozoa among the different glycerol concentrations. Percent viability and percent intact acrosomes of spermatozoa cryopreserved with 4 and 6% glycerol were significantly higher than those with 10 and 12% glycerol. These results suggest that a suitable glycerol concentration for freezing Japanese black bear semen within the range tested would be 4-6%. PMID:17085891

  10. Sarcocystis arctosi, n. sp. (Apicomplexans: Sarcocystidae) from the brown bear (Ursus arctos), and its genetic similarity to schizonts of Sarcocystis canis-like parasite associated with fatal hepatitis in polar bears

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Although all species of Sarcocystis are presumed to cycle between carnivorous definitive hosts and their prey, complete life-cycles have been definitively established for only a few. Instead, most such species are known only by the sarcocysts that form in intermediate hosts, which may be discrimina...

  11. Denning of grizzly bears in the Yellowstone National Park area

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Judd, Steven L.; Knight, Richard R.; Blanchard, Bonnie M.

    1986-01-01

    Radiotelemetry was used to locate 101 grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) dens from 1975 to 1980; 35 dens were examined on the ground. Pregnant females denned in late October, and most other bears denned by mid-November. Duration of denning average 113, 132, and 170 days for males, females, and females with new cubs, respectively. Males emerged from mid-February to late March, followed by single females and females with yearlings and 2-year-olds. Females with new cubs emerged from early mid-April. Den sites were associated with moderate tree cover (26%-75% canopy cover) on 30°-60° slopes. Dens occurred on all aspects, although northerly exposures were most common. Grizzly bears usually dug new dens but occasionally used natural cavities or a den from a previous year. Males usually dug larger dens than females with young. Eight excavated and 2 natural dens of the 35 examined dens were used for more than 1 year.

  12. Bear reintroduction: Lessons and challenges

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Clark, Joseph D.; Huber, Djuro; Servheen, Christopher

    2002-01-01

    Reintroduction is defined as an attempt to establish a species in an area that was once part of its historical range, but from which it has been extirpated or become extinct. Historically, one of the most successful programs was the reintroduction of 254 American black bears (Ursus americanus) from Minnesota to the Interior Highlands of Arkansas in the 1960s; that population has grown to >2,500 today. More recent efforts have involved fewer but better monitored animals and have sometimes employed techniques to improve site fidelity and survival. In Pennsylvania, for example, pregnant female American black bears were successfully translocated from winter dens, the premise being that the adult females would be less likely to return because of the presence of young cubs. That winter-release technique was compared to summer trapping and release in Tennessee; winter releases resulted in greater survival and reduced post-release movements. Homing has not been a problem for small numbers of brown bears (Ursus arctos) reintroduced to the Cabinet-Yaak ecosystem in Montana and Idaho and to the mountains of Austria and France. Reintroduction success appears to be correlated with translocation distance and is greater for subadults and females. As with any small population, reintroduced bear populations are susceptible to environmental variation and stochastic demographic and genetic processes. Although managers have focused on these biological barriers, sociopolitical impediments to bear reintroduction are more difficult to overcome. Poor public acceptance and understanding of bears are the main reasons some reintroduction programs have been derailed. Consequently, the public should be involved in the reintroduction process from the outset; overcoming negative public perceptions about bear reintroduction will be our greatest challenge.

  13. Inoculation of female American black bears (Ursus americanus) with partially purified porcine zona pellucidae limits cub production.

    PubMed

    Lane, V M; Liu, I K M; Casey, K; vanLeeuwen, E M G; Flanagan, D R; Murata, K; Munro, C

    2007-01-01

    The present 2-year study investigated the feasibility of using porcine zona pellucidae (pZP) as antigen for immunocontraception in American black bears. Sows, 3-6 years of age, were administered either two doses of 250 microg pZP with Freund's adjuvant (n = 10) or adjuvant alone (n = 5), one in April and one in May, and were kept away from the boars until June. Serum samples were collected before injections and before denning (November). The presence of sows with cubs at side was observed during premature emergence from denning. First-year results indicated that anti-pZP antibody titres in vaccinated sows were 2.5-9.0-fold (range) higher compared with non-vaccinated sows and that the vaccinated sows were threefold less likely to become pregnant (P = 0.167). Control and vaccinated bears produced 1.6 and 0.2 cubs per sow, respectively (P = 0.06). The second-year study investigated the feasibility of using pZP sequestered in a controlled-release pellet and a water-soluble adjuvant (QS-21) to avoid regulatory problems associated with Freund's adjuvant. Sows in the treatment group (n = 22) were administered a single dose of an emulsion of 250 microg pZP and 150 microg QS-21 plus a pellet containing 70-90 microg pZP for delayed release as booster dose. Control sows (n = 5) received the QS-21 adjuvant in pellet alone. Serum samples were collected before inoculations (April) and before denning (November). Seven cubs were born to the five control sows, but none was born to the 22 vaccinated sows (P < 0.001). Anti-pZP antibody mean absorbance ratios in control sows remained at background levels, whereas vaccinated sows had ratios fourfold higher than controls. Two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and immunohistochemical localisation confirmed immunoreactivity of sera from inoculated bears. We conclude that cub production in the American black bear can be effectively limited with either two injections of 250 microg pZP or a single inoculation of partially

  14. Contrasting activity patterns of sympatric and allopatric black and grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schwartz, C.C.; Cain, S.L.; Podruzny, S.; Cherry, S.; Frattaroli, L.

    2010-01-01

    The distribution of grizzly (Ursus arctos) and American black bears (U. americanus) overlaps in western North America. Few studies have detailed activity patterns where the species are sympatric and no studies contrasted patterns where populations are both sympatric and allopatric. We contrasted activity patterns for sympatric black and grizzly bears and for black bears allopatric to grizzly bears, how human influences altered patterns, and rates of grizzlyblack bear predation. Activity patterns differed between black bear populations, with those sympatric to grizzly bears more day-active. Activity patterns of black bears allopatric with grizzly bears were similar to those of female grizzly bears; both were crepuscular and day-active. Male grizzly bears were crepuscular and night-active. Both species were more night-active and less day-active when ???1 km from roads or developments. In our sympatric study area, 2 of 4 black bear mortalities were due to grizzly bear predation. Our results suggested patterns of activity that allowed for intra- and inter-species avoidance. National park management often results in convergence of locally high human densities in quality bear habitat. Our data provide additional understanding into how bears alter their activity patterns in response to other bears and humans and should help park managers minimize undesirable bearhuman encounters when considering needs for temporal and spatial management of humans and human developments in bear habitats. ?? 2010 The Wildlife Society.

  15. Ancient DNA analyses reveal high mitochondrial DNA sequence diversity and parallel morphological evolution of late pleistocene cave bears.

    PubMed

    Hofreiter, Michael; Capelli, Cristian; Krings, Matthias; Waits, Lisette; Conard, Nicholas; Münzel, Susanne; Rabeder, Gernot; Nagel, Doris; Paunovic, Maja; Jambrĕsić, Gordana; Meyer, Sonja; Weiss, Gunter; Pääbo, Svante

    2002-08-01

    Cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) existed in Europe and western Asia until the end of the last glaciation some 10,000 years ago. To investigate the genetic diversity, population history, and relationship among different cave bear populations, we have determined mitochondrial DNA sequences from 12 cave bears that range in age from about 26,500 to at least 49,000 years and originate from nine caves. The samples include one individual from the type specimen population, as well as two small-sized high-Alpine bears. The results show that about 49,000 years ago, the mtDNA diversity among cave bears was about 1.8-fold lower than the current species-wide diversity of brown bears (Ursus arctos). However, the current brown bear mtDNA gene pool consists of three clades, and cave bear mtDNA diversity is similar to the diversity observed within each of these clades. The results also show that geographically separated populations of the high-Alpine cave bear form were polyphyletic with respect to their mtDNA. This suggests that small size may have been an ancestral trait in cave bears and that large size evolved at least twice independently. PMID:12140236

  16. Females roam while males patrol: divergence in breeding season movements of pack-ice polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Laidre, Kristin L; Born, Erik W; Gurarie, Eliezer; Wiig, Øystein; Dietz, Rune; Stern, Harry

    2013-02-01

    Intraspecific differences in movement behaviour reflect different tactics used by individuals or sexes to favour strategies that maximize fitness. We report movement data collected from n = 23 adult male polar bears with novel ear-attached transmitters in two separate pack ice subpopulations over five breeding seasons. We compared movements with n = 26 concurrently tagged adult females, and analysed velocities, movement tortuosity, range sizes and habitat selection with respect to sex, reproductive status and body mass. There were no differences in 4-day displacements or sea ice habitat selection for sex or population. By contrast, adult females in all years and both populations had significantly more linear movements and significantly larger breeding range sizes than males. We hypothesized that differences were related to encounter rates, and used observed movement metrics to parametrize a simulation model of male-male and male-female encounter. The simulation showed that the more tortuous movement of males leads to significantly longer times to male-male encounter, while having little impact on male-female encounter. By contrast, linear movements of females are consistent with a prioritized search for sparsely distributed prey. These results suggest a possible mechanism for explaining the smaller breeding range sizes of some solitary male carnivores compared to females. PMID:23222446

  17. Females roam while males patrol: divergence in breeding season movements of pack-ice polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

    PubMed Central

    Laidre, Kristin L.; Born, Erik W.; Gurarie, Eliezer; Wiig, Øystein; Dietz, Rune; Stern, Harry

    2013-01-01

    Intraspecific differences in movement behaviour reflect different tactics used by individuals or sexes to favour strategies that maximize fitness. We report movement data collected from n = 23 adult male polar bears with novel ear-attached transmitters in two separate pack ice subpopulations over five breeding seasons. We compared movements with n = 26 concurrently tagged adult females, and analysed velocities, movement tortuosity, range sizes and habitat selection with respect to sex, reproductive status and body mass. There were no differences in 4-day displacements or sea ice habitat selection for sex or population. By contrast, adult females in all years and both populations had significantly more linear movements and significantly larger breeding range sizes than males. We hypothesized that differences were related to encounter rates, and used observed movement metrics to parametrize a simulation model of male–male and male–female encounter. The simulation showed that the more tortuous movement of males leads to significantly longer times to male–male encounter, while having little impact on male–female encounter. By contrast, linear movements of females are consistent with a prioritized search for sparsely distributed prey. These results suggest a possible mechanism for explaining the smaller breeding range sizes of some solitary male carnivores compared to females. PMID:23222446

  18. Grizzly bear use of army cutworm moths in the Yellowstone Ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    French, Steven P.; French, Marilynn G.; Knight, Richard R.

    1994-01-01

    The ecology of alpine aggregations of army cutworm moths (Euxoa auxiliaris) and the feeding behavior of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) at these areas were studied in the Yellowstone ecosystem from 1988 to 1991. Army cutworm moths migrate to mountain regions each summer to feed at night on the nectar of alpine and subalpine flowers, and during the day they seek shelter under various rock formations. Grizzly bears were observed feeding almost exclusively on moths up to 3 months each summer at the 10 moth-aggregation areas we identified. Fifty-one different grizzly bears were observed feeding at 4 of these areas during a single day in August 1991. Army cutworm moths are a preferred source of nutrition for many grizzly bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem and represent a high quality food that is available during hyperphagia.

  19. Identification of functional corridors with movement characteristics of brown bears on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Graves, T.A.; Farley, S.; Goldstein, M.I.; Servheen, C.

    2007-01-01

    We identified primary habitat and functional corridors across a landscape using Global Positioning System (GPS) collar locations of brown bears (Ursus arctos). After deriving density, speed, and angular deviation of movement, we classified landscape function for a group of animals with a cluster analysis. We described areas with high amounts of sinuous movement as primary habitat patches and areas with high amounts of very directional, fast movement as highly functional bear corridors. The time between bear locations and scale of analysis influenced the number and size of corridors identified. Bear locations should be collected at intervals ???6 h to correctly identify travel corridors. Our corridor identification technique will help managers move beyond the theoretical discussion of corridors and linkage zones to active management of landscape features that will preserve connectivity. ?? 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.

  20. Climate and reproduction of grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Picton, Harold D.

    1978-01-01

    Controversy surrounds the conflicts between the requirements of human safety and the preservation of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in western North America. It has been difficult to separate the effect of factors such as the closure of garbage dumps from that of the climate. It has also proved difficult to relate climatic data to changes in the populations of large mammals. I report here a correlation of climatic change with fluctuations in the sizes of litters of grizzly bears born in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, during 1958–1976. The decrease in litter sizes observed since the closure of garbage dumps seems to be largely a consequence of unfavourable weather during the periods of the final fattening of the mother, winter sleep, birth, lactation and early spring foraging. This study represents one of the few times that the effects of climate have been demonstrated for large omnivorous or carnivorous mammals.

  1. Potential energetic effects of mountain climbers on foraging grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    White, D., Jr.; Kendall, K.C.; Picton, H.D.

    1999-01-01

    Most studies of the effects of human disturbance on grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) have not quantified the energetic effects of such interactions. In this study, we characterized activity budgets of adult grizzly bears as they foraged on aggregations of adult army cutworm moths (Euxoa auxiliaris) in the alpine of Glacier National Park, Montana, during 1992, 1994, and 1995. We compared the activity budgets of climber-disturbed bears to those of undisturbed bears to estimate the energetic impact of climber disturbance. When bears detected climbers, they subsequently spent 53% less time foraging on moths, 52% more time moving within the foraging area, and 23% more time behaving aggressively, compared to when they were not disturbed. We estimated that grizzly bears could consume approximately 40,000 moths/day or 1,700 moths/hour. At 0.44 kcal/moth, disruption of moth feeding cost bears approximately 12 kcal/minute in addition to the energy expended in evasive maneuvers and defensive behaviors. To reduce both climber interruption of bear foraging and the potential for aggressive bear-human encounters, we recommend routing climbers around moth sites used by bears or limiting access to these sites during bear-use periods.

  2. Effects of exotic species on Yellowstone's grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reinhart, D.P.; Haroldson, Mark A.; Mattson, D.J.; Gunther, Kerry A.

    2001-01-01

    Humans have affected grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) by direct mortality, competition for space and resources, and introduction of exotic species. Exotic organisms that have affected grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Area include common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), nonnative clovers (Trifolium spp.), domesticated livestock, bovine brucellosis (Brucella abortus), lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), and white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola). Some bears consume substantial amounts of dandelion and clover. However, these exotic foods provide little digested energy compared to higher-quality bear foods. Domestic livestock are of greater energetic value, but use of this food by bears often leads to conflicts with humans and subsequent increases in bear mortality. Lake trout, blister rust, and brucellosis diminish grizzly bears foods. Lake trout prey on native cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii) in Yellowstone Lake; white pine blister rust has the potential to destroy native whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) stands; and management response to bovine brucellosis, a disease found in the Yellowstone bison (Bison bison) and elk (Cervus elaphus), could reduce populations of these 2 species. Exotic species will likely cause more harm than good for Yellowstone grizzly bears. Managers have few options to mitigate or contain the impacts of exotics on Yellowstones grizzly bears. Moreover, their potential negative impacts have only begun to unfold. Exotic species may lead to the loss of substantial highquality grizzly bear foods, including much of the bison, trout, and pine seeds that Yellowstone grizzly bears currently depend upon.

  3. Genetic connectivity for two bear species at wildlife crossing structures in Banff National Park

    PubMed Central

    Sawaya, Michael A.; Kalinowski, Steven T.; Clevenger, Anthony P.

    2014-01-01

    Roads can fragment and isolate wildlife populations, which will eventually decrease genetic diversity within populations. Wildlife crossing structures may counteract these impacts, but most crossings are relatively new, and there is little evidence that they facilitate gene flow. We conducted a three-year research project in Banff National Park, Alberta, to evaluate the effectiveness of wildlife crossings to provide genetic connectivity. Our main objective was to determine how the Trans-Canada Highway and crossing structures along it affect gene flow in grizzly (Ursus arctos) and black bears (Ursus americanus). We compared genetic data generated from wildlife crossings with data collected from greater bear populations. We detected a genetic discontinuity at the highway in grizzly bears but not in black bears. We assigned grizzly bears that used crossings to populations north and south of the highway, providing evidence of bidirectional gene flow and genetic admixture. Parentage tests showed that 47% of black bears and 27% of grizzly bears that used crossings successfully bred, including multiple males and females of both species. Differentiating between dispersal and gene flow is difficult, but we documented gene flow by showing migration, reproduction and genetic admixture. We conclude that wildlife crossings allow sufficient gene flow to prevent genetic isolation. PMID:24552834

  4. Genetic connectivity for two bear species at wildlife crossing structures in Banff National Park.

    PubMed

    Sawaya, Michael A; Kalinowski, Steven T; Clevenger, Anthony P

    2014-04-01

    Roads can fragment and isolate wildlife populations, which will eventually decrease genetic diversity within populations. Wildlife crossing structures may counteract these impacts, but most crossings are relatively new, and there is little evidence that they facilitate gene flow. We conducted a three-year research project in Banff National Park, Alberta, to evaluate the effectiveness of wildlife crossings to provide genetic connectivity. Our main objective was to determine how the Trans-Canada Highway and crossing structures along it affect gene flow in grizzly (Ursus arctos) and black bears (Ursus americanus). We compared genetic data generated from wildlife crossings with data collected from greater bear populations. We detected a genetic discontinuity at the highway in grizzly bears but not in black bears. We assigned grizzly bears that used crossings to populations north and south of the highway, providing evidence of bidirectional gene flow and genetic admixture. Parentage tests showed that 47% of black bears and 27% of grizzly bears that used crossings successfully bred, including multiple males and females of both species. Differentiating between dispersal and gene flow is difficult, but we documented gene flow by showing migration, reproduction and genetic admixture. We conclude that wildlife crossings allow sufficient gene flow to prevent genetic isolation. PMID:24552834

  5. Comparative anatomy of the cardiac foramen ovale in cats (Felidae), dogs (Canidae), bears (Ursidae) and hyaenas (Hyaenidae).

    PubMed

    Macdonald, A A; Johnstone, M

    1995-04-01

    The structure of the foramen ovale from 16 species representing 4 carnivore families, the Felidae, Canidae, Ursidae and Hyaenidae, was studied using the scanning electron microscope. The Felidae were represented by 9 domestic cat fetuses (Felis catus), 2 snow leopard neonates (Uncia uncia), an ocelot neonate (Leopardus pardalis), 2 lion neonates (Panthera leo), a panther neonate (Panthera pardus) and 3 tigers (Neofelis tigris), comprising 2 fetuses and a neonate. The Canidae were represented by a golden jackal neonate (Canis aureus), a newborn wolf (Canis lupus), 8 domestic dog fetuses (Canis familiaris), 3 red fox neonates (Vulpes vulpes) and a dhole neonate (Cuon alpinus). The Ursidae were represented by a brown bear neonate (Ursus arctos), a day-old grizzly bear cub (Ursus arctos horribilis), a polar bear neonate (Ursus maritimus), and 2 additional bear fetuses (species unknown). The Hyaenidae were represented by a striped hyaena neonate (Hyaena hyaena). In each species, the foramen ovale, when viewed from the terminal part of the caudal vena cava, had the appearance of a short tunnel. A thin fold of tissue, the developed remains of the embryonic septum primum, extended from the distal end of the caudal vena cava for a variable distance into the lumen of the left atrium and contributed towards the 'tunnel' appearance in all specimens. It constituted a large proportion of the tube, and its distal end was straight-edged. There was fibrous material underlying the endothelium of the flap, the apparent morphology of which suggested that it comprised cardiac muscle.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS) PMID:7649822

  6. Grizzly bear-human conflicts in the Yellowstone Ecosystem, 1992-2000

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gunther, K.A.; Haroldson, M.A.; Cain, S.L.; Copeland, J.; Frey, K.; Schwartz, C.C.

    2004-01-01

    For many years, the primary strategy for managing grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) that came into conflict with humans in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) was to capture and translocate the offending bears away from conflict sites. Translocation usually only temporarily alleviated the problems and most often did not result in long-term solutions. Wildlife managers needed to be able to predict the causes, types, locations, and trends of conflicts to more efficiently allocate resources for pro-active rather than reactive management actions. To address this need, we recorded all grizzly bear-human conflicts reported in the GYE during 1992-2000. We analyzed trends in conflicts over time (increasing or decreasing), geographic location on macro- (inside or outside of the designated Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone [YGBRZ]) and micro- (geographic location) scales, land ownership (public or private), and relationship to the seasonal availability of bear foods. We recorded 995 grizzly bear-human conflicts in the GYE. Fifty-three percent of the conflicts occurred outside and 47% inside the YGBRZ boundary. Fifty-nine percent of the conflicts occurred on public and 41% on private land. Incidents of bears damaging property and obtaining anthropogenic foods were inversely correlated to the abundance of naturally occurring bear foods. Livestock depredations occurred independent of the availability of bear foods. To further aid in prioritizing management strategies to reduce conflicts, we also analyzed conflicts in relation to subsequent human-caused grizzly bear mortality. There were 74 human-caused grizzly bear mortalities during the study, primarily from killing bears in defense of life and property (43%) and management removal of bears involved in bear-human conflicts (28%). Other sources of human-caused mortality included illegal kills, electrocution by downed power-lines, mistaken identification by American black bear (Ursus americanus) hunters, and vehicle strikes

  7. Dynamics of intertidal foraging by coastal brown bears in Southwestern Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, T.S.; Partridge, S.T.

    2004-01-01

    Shoreline areas provide early season foraging opportunities for coastal bears in Alaska. We investigated use by brown bears (Ursus arctos) of soft-shelled (Mya arenaria) and Pacific razor (Siliqua patula) clams at Katmai National Park, Alaska, USA, to identify the potential importance of these clams to bears. We used direct observations of bear foraging behavior in the summers of 1998, 1999, and 2001 to model the nutritional importance of clamming behavior. We also used previously described models to estimate the relative importance of clamming and vegetative foraging in meeting the maintenance requirements of bears. At the harvest rate that we observed (0.69 ?? 0.46 clams/min), bears achieved higher rates of digestible energy intake than those foraging on vegetation. Although clams are available for only a few hours per day, bears could significantly reduce their total daily foraging time by utilizing clams. Smaller single bears and females with dependent young were the most represented groups of bears using intertidal areas. Large male bears, faced with higher energy requirements, likely are unable to efficiently exploit these intertidal resources. Depending on the relationship between clam size and tissue mass, the relative quality of clams differed by species. Bears foraging on Pacific razor clams required the fewest hours to meet maintenance, followed by bears consuming soft-shelled clams. Our findings highlight the significance of intertidal habitats for coastal bears, especially females.

  8. Use of naturally occurring mercury to determine the importance of cutthroat trout to Yellowstone grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Felicetti, L.A.; Schwartz, C.C.; Rye, R.O.; Gunther, K.A.; Crock, J.G.; Haroldson, M.A.; Waits, L.; Robbins, C.T.

    2004-01-01

    Spawning cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki (Richardson, 1836)) are a potentially important food resource for grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis Ord, 1815) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. We developed a method to estimate the amount of cutthroat trout ingested by grizzly bears living in the Yellowstone Lake area. The method utilized (i) the relatively high, naturally occurring concentration of mercury in Yellowstone Lake cutthroat trout (508 ± 93 ppb) and its virtual absence in all other bear foods (6 ppb), (ii) hair snares to remotely collect hair from bears visiting spawning cutthroat trout streams between 1997 and 2000, (iii) DNA analyses to identify the individual and sex of grizzly bears leaving a hair sample, (iv) feeding trials with captive bears to develop relationships between fish and mercury intake and hair mercury concentrations, and (v) mercury analyses of hair collected from wild bears to estimate the amount of trout consumed by each bear. Male grizzly bears consumed an average of 5 times more trout/kg bear than did female grizzly bears. Estimated cutthroat trout intake per year by the grizzly bear population was only a small fraction of that estimated by previous investigators, and males consumed 92% of all trout ingested by grizzly bears.

  9. Genomic Evidence for Island Population Conversion Resolves Conflicting Theories of Polar Bear Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Cahill, James A.; Green, Richard E.; Fulton, Tara L.; Stiller, Mathias; Jay, Flora; Ovsyanikov, Nikita; Salamzade, Rauf; St. John, John; Stirling, Ian; Slatkin, Montgomery; Shapiro, Beth

    2013-01-01

    Despite extensive genetic analysis, the evolutionary relationship between polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and brown bears (U. arctos) remains unclear. The two most recent comprehensive reports indicate a recent divergence with little subsequent admixture or a much more ancient divergence followed by extensive admixture. At the center of this controversy are the Alaskan ABC Islands brown bears that show evidence of shared ancestry with polar bears. We present an analysis of genome-wide sequence data for seven polar bears, one ABC Islands brown bear, one mainland Alaskan brown bear, and a black bear (U. americanus), plus recently published datasets from other bears. Surprisingly, we find clear evidence for gene flow from polar bears into ABC Islands brown bears but no evidence of gene flow from brown bears into polar bears. Importantly, while polar bears contributed <1% of the autosomal genome of the ABC Islands brown bear, they contributed 6.5% of the X chromosome. The magnitude of sex-biased polar bear ancestry and the clear direction of gene flow suggest a model wherein the enigmatic ABC Island brown bears are the descendants of a polar bear population that was gradually converted into brown bears via male-dominated brown bear admixture. We present a model that reconciles heretofore conflicting genetic observations. We posit that the enigmatic ABC Islands brown bears derive from a population of polar bears likely stranded by the receding ice at the end of the last glacial period. Since then, male brown bear migration onto the island has gradually converted these bears into an admixed population whose phenotype and genotype are principally brown bear, except at mtDNA and X-linked loci. This process of genome erosion and conversion may be a common outcome when climate change or other forces cause a population to become isolated and then overrun by species with which it can hybridize. PMID:23516372

  10. Genomic evidence for island population conversion resolves conflicting theories of polar bear evolution.

    PubMed

    Cahill, James A; Green, Richard E; Fulton, Tara L; Stiller, Mathias; Jay, Flora; Ovsyanikov, Nikita; Salamzade, Rauf; St John, John; Stirling, Ian; Slatkin, Montgomery; Shapiro, Beth

    2013-01-01

    Despite extensive genetic analysis, the evolutionary relationship between polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and brown bears (U. arctos) remains unclear. The two most recent comprehensive reports indicate a recent divergence with little subsequent admixture or a much more ancient divergence followed by extensive admixture. At the center of this controversy are the Alaskan ABC Islands brown bears that show evidence of shared ancestry with polar bears. We present an analysis of genome-wide sequence data for seven polar bears, one ABC Islands brown bear, one mainland Alaskan brown bear, and a black bear (U. americanus), plus recently published datasets from other bears. Surprisingly, we find clear evidence for gene flow from polar bears into ABC Islands brown bears but no evidence of gene flow from brown bears into polar bears. Importantly, while polar bears contributed <1% of the autosomal genome of the ABC Islands brown bear, they contributed 6.5% of the X chromosome. The magnitude of sex-biased polar bear ancestry and the clear direction of gene flow suggest a model wherein the enigmatic ABC Island brown bears are the descendants of a polar bear population that was gradually converted into brown bears via male-dominated brown bear admixture. We present a model that reconciles heretofore conflicting genetic observations. We posit that the enigmatic ABC Islands brown bears derive from a population of polar bears likely stranded by the receding ice at the end of the last glacial period. Since then, male brown bear migration onto the island has gradually converted these bears into an admixed population whose phenotype and genotype are principally brown bear, except at mtDNA and X-linked loci. This process of genome erosion and conversion may be a common outcome when climate change or other forces cause a population to become isolated and then overrun by species with which it can hybridize. PMID:23516372

  11. Grizzly bear density in Glacier National Park, Montana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kendall, K.C.; Stetz, J.B.; Roon, David A.; Waits, L.P.; Boulanger, J.B.; Paetkau, David

    2008-01-01

    We present the first rigorous estimate of grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) population density and distribution in and around Glacier National Park (GNP), Montana, USA. We used genetic analysis to identify individual bears from hair samples collected via 2 concurrent sampling methods: 1) systematically distributed, baited, barbed-wire hair traps and 2) unbaited bear rub trees found along trails. We used Huggins closed mixture models in Program MARK to estimate total population size and developed a method to account for heterogeneity caused by unequal access to rub trees. We corrected our estimate for lack of geographic closure using a new method that utilizes information from radiocollared bears and the distribution of bears captured with DNA sampling. Adjusted for closure, the average number of grizzly bears in our study area was 240.7 (95% CI = 202–303) in 1998 and 240.6 (95% CI = 205–304) in 2000. Average grizzly bear density was 30 bears/1,000 km2, with 2.4 times more bears detected per hair trap inside than outside GNP. We provide baseline information important for managing one of the few remaining populations of grizzlies in the contiguous United States.

  12. Evaluating estimators for numbers of females with cubs-of-the-year in the Yellowstone grizzly bear population

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cherry, S.; White, G.C.; Keating, K.A.; Haroldson, Mark A.; Schwartz, Charles C.

    2007-01-01

    Current management of the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) population in Yellowstone National Park and surrounding areas requires annual estimation of the number of adult female bears with cubs-of-the-year. We examined the performance of nine estimators of population size via simulation. Data were simulated using two methods for different combinations of population size, sample size, and coefficient of variation of individual sighting probabilities. We show that the coefficient of variation does not, by itself, adequately describe the effects of capture heterogeneity, because two different distributions of capture probabilities can have the same coefficient of variation. All estimators produced biased estimates of population size with bias decreasing as effort increased. Based on the simulation results we recommend the Chao estimator for model M h be used to estimate the number of female bears with cubs of the year; however, the estimator of Chao and Shen may also be useful depending on the goals of the research.

  13. From the field: Brown bear habituation to people - Safety, risks, and benefits

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Herrero, S.; Smith, T.; DeBruyn, T.D.; Gunther, K.; Matt, C.A.

    2005-01-01

    Recently, brown bear (Ursus arctos) viewing has increased in coastal Alaska and British Columbia, as well as in interior areas such as Yellowstone National Park. Viewing is most often being done under conditions that offer acceptable safety to both people and bears. We analyze and comment on the underlying processes that lead brown bears to tolerate people at close range. Although habituation is an important process influencing the distance at which bears tolerate people, other variables also modify levels of bear-to-human tolerance. Because bears may react internally with energetic costs before showing an overt reaction to humans, we propose a new term, the Overt Reaction Distance, to emphasize that what we observe is the external reaction of a bear. In this paper we conceptually analyze bear viewing in terms of benefits and risks to people and bears. We conclude that managers and policy-makers must develop site-specific plans that identify the extent to which bear-to-human habituation and tolerance will be permitted. The proposed management needs scientific underpinning. It is our belief that bear viewing, where appropriate, may promote conservation of bear populations, habitats, and ecosystems as it instills respect and concern in those who participate.

  14. Immobilization of Wyoming bears using carfentanil and xylazine.

    PubMed

    Kreeger, Terry J; Bjornlie, Dan; Thompson, Dan; Clapp, Justin; Clark, Colby; Hansen, Cole; Huizenga, Matt; Lockwood, Sam

    2013-07-01

    Seven grizzly (Ursus arctos; four male, three female) and three black (Ursus americanus; two male, one female) bears caught in culvert traps or leg snares were immobilized in northwestern Wyoming with carfentanil and xylazine at doses, respectively, of 0.011 ± 0.001 and 0.12 ± 0.01 mg/kg for grizzly bears and 0.014 ± 0.002 and 0.15 ± 0.04 mg/kg for black bears. These drugs were antagonized with 1 mg/kg naltrexone and 2 mg/kg tolazoline. Induction and recovery times, respectively, were 4.3 ± 0.5 and 7.1 ± 0.8 min for grizzly bears and 5.2 ± 0.4 and 9.1 ± 2.2 min for black bears. Inductions were smooth and uneventful. Recoveries were characterized initially by increased respiration followed by raising of the head, which quickly led to a full recovery, with the bears recognizing and avoiding humans and moving away, maneuvering around obstacles. All bears experienced respiratory depression, which did not significantly improve with supplemental oxygen on the basis of pulse oximetry (P=0.56). Rectal temperatures were normothermic. Carfentanil-xylazine immobilization of bears provided significant advantages over other drug regimens, including small drug volumes, predictable inductions, quick and complete recoveries, and lower costs. On the basis of these data, both grizzly and black bears can be immobilized effectively with 0.01 mg/kg carfentanil and 0.1 mg/kg xylazine. PMID:23778620

  15. Consumption of pondweed rhizomes by Yellowstone grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, D.J.; Podruzny, S.R.; Haroldson, M.A.

    2005-01-01

    Pondweeds (Potamogeton spp.) are common foods of waterfowl throughout the Northern Hemisphere. However, consumption of pondweeds by bears has been noted only once, in Russia. We documented consumption of pondweed rhizomes by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Yellowstone region, 1977-96, during investigations of telemetry locations obtained from 175 radiomarked bears. We documented pondweed excavations at 25 sites and detected pondweed rhizomes in 18 feces. We observed grizzly bears excavating and consuming pondweed on 2 occasions. All excavations occurred in wetlands that were inundated during and after snowmelt, but dry by late August or early September of most years. These wetlands were typified by the presence of inflated sedge (Carex vesicaria) and occurred almost exclusively on plateaus of Pliocene-Pleistocene detrital sediments or volcanic rhyolite flows. Bears excavated wetlands with pondweeds when they were free of standing water, most commonly during October and occasionally during spring prior to the onset of terminal snowmelt. Most excavations were about 4.5 cm deep, 40 cubic decimeter (dm3) in total volume, and targeted the thickened pondweed rhizomes. Starch content of rhizomes collected near grizzly bear excavations averaged 28% (12% SD; n = 6). These results add to the documented diversity of grizzly bear food habits and, because pondweed is distributed circumboreally, also raise the possibility that consumption of pondweed by grizzly bears has been overlooked in other regions.

  16. Continuity of brown bear maternal lineages in northern England through the Last-glacial period

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edwards, Ceiridwen J.; Ho, Simon Y. W.; Barnett, Ross; Coxon, Peter; Bradley, Daniel G.; Lord, Tom C.; O'Connor, Terry

    2014-07-01

    Brown bears recolonised Europe rapidly after the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), but there has been debate about whether bear populations were confined to separate glacial refugia in southern Europe, or if there was continuous gene flow among groups. To look in more detail at recolonisation routes into the British Isles after the LGM, 16 brown bear (Ursus arctos) samples from Lateglacial Yorkshire were analysed for mitochondrial DNA survival. The resulting data were compared with earlier work on Late Pleistocene and Holocene bears from Ireland (Edwards et al., 2011), as well as with both modern and ancient bears from across continental Europe. The results highlight the temporal and spatial continuity of brown bear maternal lineages through the Lateglacial period in northern England. While this region was not a refugial area in the LGM for the Irish Clade 2 brown bears, our data suggest that populations of brown bear in England did act as refugial sources for the later colonisation of Ireland, by Clade 1-i bears, during the Holocene. Our results contribute to a wider understanding of the phylogenetic relationships of brown bears through the Late Quaternary, and lend a valuable perspective on bear migration into peripheral Europe.

  17. Exploitation of pocket gophers and their food caches by grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, D.J.

    2004-01-01

    I investigated the exploitation of pocket gophers (Thomomys talpoides) by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in the Yellowstone region of the United States with the use of data collected during a study of radiomarked bears in 1977-1992. My analysis focused on the importance of pocket gophers as a source of energy and nutrients, effects of weather and site features, and importance of pocket gophers to grizzly bears in the western contiguous United States prior to historical extirpations. Pocket gophers and their food caches were infrequent in grizzly bear feces, although foraging for pocket gophers accounted for about 20-25% of all grizzly bear feeding activity during April and May. Compared with roots individually excavated by bears, pocket gopher food caches were less digestible but more easily dug out. Exploitation of gopher food caches by grizzly bears was highly sensitive to site and weather conditions and peaked during and shortly after snowmelt. This peak coincided with maximum success by bears in finding pocket gopher food caches. Exploitation was most frequent and extensive on gently sloping nonforested sites with abundant spring beauty (Claytonia lanceolata) and yampah (Perdieridia gairdneri). Pocket gophers are rare in forests, and spring beauty and yampah roots are known to be important foods of both grizzly bears and burrowing rodents. Although grizzly bears commonly exploit pocket gophers only in the Yellowstone region, this behavior was probably widespread in mountainous areas of the western contiguous United States prior to extirpations of grizzly bears within the last 150 years.

  18. Bear use of cutthroat trout spawning streams in Yellowstone National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reinhart, D.P.; Mattson, D.J.

    1990-01-01

    Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and black bears (U. americanus) prey on spawning cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki, formerly known as Salmo clarki) in tributary streams of Yellowstone Lake. These tributary streams were surveyed from 1985 to 1987 to determine the presence and level of trout spawning activity and bear use. Indices were developed to enumerate spawner density and levels of bear use. Of 124 known tributaries of Yellowstone Lake, 48% had a spawning run. Of these spawning streams, 93% had associated bear activity, and 61% had associated evidence of bear fishing. Bears were apparently using more spawning streams and fish compared to 10 years earlier. Bear use of cutthroat trout spawning streams appeared to be largely a positive function of volumetric spawner density. We hypothesize that abundance and quality of stream-side vegetation relative to other foraging options influenced bear use. Intra- and interspecific avoidance among bears was suggested by patterns of spawning stream use. Less bear use of spawning streams than expected occurred within 1 km of park developments.

  19. Response of Yellowstone grizzly bears to changes in food resources: A synthesis. Final report to the Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee and Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommittee

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team; van Manen, Frank T.; Cecily M, Costello; Haroldson, Mark A.; Daniel D, Bjornlie; Michael R, Ebinger; Kerry A, Gunther; Mary Frances, Mahalovich; Daniel J, Thompson; Megan D, Higgs; Irvine, Kathryn M.; Kristin, Legg; Daniel, Tyers; Landenburger, Lisa; Steven L, Cain; Frey, Kevin L.; Aber, Bryan C.; Schwartz, Charles C.

    2013-01-01

    The Yellowstone grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) was listed as a threatened species in 1975 (Federal Register 40 FR:31734-31736). Since listing, recovery efforts have focused on increasing population size, improving habitat security, managing bear mortalities, and reducing bear-human conflicts. The Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee (IGBC; partnership of federal and state agencies responsible for grizzly bear recovery in the lower 48 states) and its Yellowstone Ecosystem Subcommitte (YES; federal, state, county, and tribal partners charged with recovery of grizzly bears in the Greater Yelowston Ecosystem [GYE]) tasked the Interagency Grizzly Bear Study Team to provide information and further research relevant to three concerns arising from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals November 2011 decision: 1) the ability of grizzly bears as omnivores to find alternative foods to whitebark pine seeds; 2) literature to support their conclusions; and 3) the non-intuitive biological reality that impacts can occur to individuals without causing the overall population to decline. Specifically, the IGBC and YES requested a comprehensive synthesis of the current state of knowledge regarding whitebark pinbe decline and individual and population-level responses of grizzly bears to changing food resources in the GYE. This research was particularly relevant to grizzly bear conservation given changes in the population trajectory observed during the last decade.

  20. Body and diet composition of sympatric black and grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schwartz, Charles C.; Fortin, Jennifer K.; Teisberg, Justin E.; Haroldson, Mark A.; Servheen, Christopher; Robbins, Charles T.; van Manen, Frank T.

    2013-01-01

    The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) has experienced changes in the distribution and availability of grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) food resources in recent decades. The decline of ungulates, fish, and whitebark pine seeds (Pinus albicaulis) has prompted questions regarding their ability to adapt. We examined body composition and diet of grizzly bears using bioelectrical impedance and stable isotopes to determine if 1) we can detect a change in diet quality associated with the decline in either ungulates or whitebark pine, and 2) the combined decline in ungulates, fish, and pine seeds resulted in a change in grizzly bear carrying capacity in the GYE. We contrasted body fat and mass in grizzly bears with a potential competitor, the American black bear (Ursus americanus), to address these questions. Grizzly bears assimilated more meat into their diet and were in better body condition than black bears throughout the study period, indicating the decline in ungulate resources did not affect grizzly bears more than black bears. We also found no difference in autumn fat levels in grizzly bears in years of good or poor pine seed production, and stable isotope analyses revealed this was primarily a function of switching to meat resources during poor seed-producing years. This dietary plasticity was consistent over the course of our study. We did not detect an overall downward trend in either body mass or the fraction of meat assimilated into the diet by grizzly bears over the past decade, but we did detect a downward trend in percent body fat in adult female grizzly bears after 2006. Whether this decline is an artifact of small sample size or due to the population reaching the ecological carrying capacity of the Yellowstone ecosystem warrants further investigation.

  1. Diet and Macronutrient Optimization in Wild Ursids: A Comparison of Grizzly Bears with Sympatric and Allopatric Black Bears.

    PubMed

    Costello, Cecily M; Cain, Steven L; Pils, Shannon; Frattaroli, Leslie; Haroldson, Mark A; van Manen, Frank T

    2016-01-01

    When fed ad libitum, ursids can maximize mass gain by selecting mixed diets wherein protein provides 17 ± 4% of digestible energy, relative to carbohydrates or lipids. In the wild, this ability is likely constrained by seasonal food availability, limits of intake rate as body size increases, and competition. By visiting locations of 37 individuals during 274 bear-days, we documented foods consumed by grizzly (Ursus arctos) and black bears (Ursus americanus) in Grand Teton National Park during 2004-2006. Based on published nutritional data, we estimated foods and macronutrients as percentages of daily energy intake. Using principal components and cluster analyses, we identified 14 daily diet types. Only 4 diets, accounting for 21% of days, provided protein levels within the optimal range. Nine diets (75% of days) led to over-consumption of protein, and 1 diet (3% of days) led to under-consumption. Highest protein levels were associated with animal matter (i.e., insects, vertebrates), which accounted for 46-47% of daily energy for both species. As predicted: 1) daily diets dominated by high-energy vertebrates were positively associated with grizzly bears and mean percent protein intake was positively associated with body mass; 2) diets dominated by low-protein fruits were positively associated with smaller-bodied black bears; and 3) mean protein was highest during spring, when high-energy plant foods were scarce, however it was also higher than optimal during summer and fall. Contrary to our prediction: 4) allopatric black bears did not exhibit food selection for high-energy foods similar to grizzly bears. Although optimal gain of body mass was typically constrained, bears usually opted for the energetically superior trade-off of consuming high-energy, high-protein foods. Given protein digestion efficiency similar to obligate carnivores, this choice likely supported mass gain, consistent with studies showing monthly increases in percent body fat among bears in this

  2. Diet and macronutrient optimization in wild ursids: A comparison of grizzly bears with sympatric and allopatric black bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Costello, Cecily M; Cain, Steven L; Pils, Shannon R; Frattaroli, Leslie; Haroldson, Mark A.; van Manen, Frank T.

    2016-01-01

    When fed ad libitum, ursids can maximize mass gain by selecting mixed diets wherein protein provides 17 ± 4% of digestible energy, relative to carbohydrates or lipids. In the wild, this ability is likely constrained by seasonal food availability, limits of intake rate as body size increases, and competition. By visiting locations of 37 individuals during 274 bear-days, we documented foods consumed by grizzly (Ursus arctos) and black bears (Ursus americanus) in Grand Teton National Park during 2004–2006. Based on published nutritional data, we estimated foods and macronutrients as percentages of daily energy intake. Using principal components and cluster analyses, we identified 14 daily diet types. Only 4 diets, accounting for 21% of days, provided protein levels within the optimal range. Nine diets (75% of days) led to over-consumption of protein, and 1 diet (3% of days) led to under-consumption. Highest protein levels were associated with animal matter (i.e., insects, vertebrates), which accounted for 46–47% of daily energy for both species. As predicted: 1) daily diets dominated by high-energy vertebrates were positively associated with grizzly bears and mean percent protein intake was positively associated with body mass; 2) diets dominated by low-protein fruits were positively associated with smaller-bodied black bears; and 3) mean protein was highest during spring, when high-energy plant foods were scarce, however it was also higher than optimal during summer and fall. Contrary to our prediction: 4) allopatric black bears did not exhibit food selection for high-energy foods similar to grizzly bears. Although optimal gain of body mass was typically constrained, bears usually opted for the energetically superior trade-off of consuming high-energy, high-protein foods. Given protein digestion efficiency similar to obligate carnivores, this choice likely supported mass gain, consistent with studies showing monthly increases in percent body fat among bears in

  3. Diet and Macronutrient Optimization in Wild Ursids: A Comparison of Grizzly Bears with Sympatric and Allopatric Black Bears

    PubMed Central

    Costello, Cecily M.; Cain, Steven L.; Pils, Shannon; Frattaroli, Leslie; Haroldson, Mark A.; van Manen, Frank T.

    2016-01-01

    When fed ad libitum, ursids can maximize mass gain by selecting mixed diets wherein protein provides 17 ± 4% of digestible energy, relative to carbohydrates or lipids. In the wild, this ability is likely constrained by seasonal food availability, limits of intake rate as body size increases, and competition. By visiting locations of 37 individuals during 274 bear-days, we documented foods consumed by grizzly (Ursus arctos) and black bears (Ursus americanus) in Grand Teton National Park during 2004–2006. Based on published nutritional data, we estimated foods and macronutrients as percentages of daily energy intake. Using principal components and cluster analyses, we identified 14 daily diet types. Only 4 diets, accounting for 21% of days, provided protein levels within the optimal range. Nine diets (75% of days) led to over-consumption of protein, and 1 diet (3% of days) led to under-consumption. Highest protein levels were associated with animal matter (i.e., insects, vertebrates), which accounted for 46–47% of daily energy for both species. As predicted: 1) daily diets dominated by high-energy vertebrates were positively associated with grizzly bears and mean percent protein intake was positively associated with body mass; 2) diets dominated by low-protein fruits were positively associated with smaller-bodied black bears; and 3) mean protein was highest during spring, when high-energy plant foods were scarce, however it was also higher than optimal during summer and fall. Contrary to our prediction: 4) allopatric black bears did not exhibit food selection for high-energy foods similar to grizzly bears. Although optimal gain of body mass was typically constrained, bears usually opted for the energetically superior trade-off of consuming high-energy, high-protein foods. Given protein digestion efficiency similar to obligate carnivores, this choice likely supported mass gain, consistent with studies showing monthly increases in percent body fat among bears in

  4. Grizzly bear corticosteroid binding globulin: Cloning and serum protein expression.

    PubMed

    Chow, Brian A; Hamilton, Jason; Alsop, Derek; Cattet, Marc R L; Stenhouse, Gordon; Vijayan, Mathilakath M

    2010-06-01

    Serum corticosteroid levels are routinely measured as markers of stress in wild animals. However, corticosteroid levels rise rapidly in response to the acute stress of capture and restraint for sampling, limiting its use as an indicator of chronic stress. We hypothesized that serum corticosteroid binding globulin (CBG), the primary transport protein for corticosteroids in circulation, may be a better marker of the stress status prior to capture in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos). To test this, a full-length CBG cDNA was cloned and sequenced from grizzly bear testis and polyclonal antibodies were generated for detection of this protein in bear sera. The deduced nucleotide and protein sequences were 1218 bp and 405 amino acids, respectively. Multiple sequence alignments showed that grizzly bear CBG (gbCBG) was 90% and 83% identical to the dog CBG nucleotide and amino acid sequences, respectively. The affinity purified rabbit gbCBG antiserum detected grizzly bear but not human CBG. There were no sex differences in serum total cortisol concentration, while CBG expression was significantly higher in adult females compared to males. Serum cortisol levels were significantly higher in bears captured by leg-hold snare compared to those captured by remote drug delivery from helicopter. However, serum CBG expression between these two groups did not differ significantly. Overall, serum CBG levels may be a better marker of chronic stress, especially because this protein is not modulated by the stress of capture and restraint in grizzly bears. PMID:20347821

  5. Prospects for Yellowstone grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Knight, R.R.; Eberhardt, L.L.

    1987-01-01

    Recent analyses of data on the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) population of Yellowstone National Park and its environs suggest the likelihood of a continuing decline in numbers if losses of fully adult females are not reduced. The size of the population is not known, and a simple projection model has been used to identify some inconsistencies in the available index data. Population dynamics calculations, based on Lotka's equation or a stochastic model, indicate a continuing decrease in numbers, although continued observations through radio-telemetry are needed to verify these trends. The margin between stabilizing the population and a continued decrease appears to be roughly the loss of 2 fully adult female bears per year. At present, the risk of extirpation of this population over the next 30 years appears to be small. Continued monitoring of survivorship will be needed, particularly because "recovery" of the population may be mainly characterized by a shift in the pattern of mortality, from adults to subadults, and not necessarily a reduction in absolute number of losses.

  6. Appraising status of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population by counting females with cubs-of-the-year

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Knight, Richard R.; Blanchard, Bonnie M.; Eberhardt, L. L.

    1995-01-01

    The grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horriblilis) in the lower United States was declared threatened in 1975 under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 15-31-1544). According to that Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had to prepare a plan to recover populations to levels where the species could be conserved and delisted from its threatened status. The Recovery Plan (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1993) uses counts of distinct females with cubs-of-the-year as a recovery parameter in several grizzly bear ecosystems. The total number of these females is assumed to be the minimum number with cubs born in the current year. To our knowledge, this technique, its methodology, and value as a population indicator have never been adequately explained or discussed. Thus, we describe the methodology and assess its potential for continued use in the Yellowstone ecosystem.

  7. Black and Brown Bear Activity at Selected Coastal Sites in Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, Alaska: A Preliminary Assessment Using Noninvasive Procedures

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Partridge, Steve; Smith, Tom; Lewis, Tania

    2009-01-01

    A number of efforts in recent years have sought to predict bear activity in various habitats to minimize human disturbance and bear/human conflicts. Alaskan coastal areas provide important foraging areas for bears (Ursus americanus and U. arctos), particularly following den emergence when there may be no snow-free foraging alternatives. Additionally, coastal areas provide important food items for bears throughout the year. Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve (GLBA) in southeastern Alaska has extensive coastal habitats, and the National Park Service (NPS) has been long interested in learning more about the use of these coastal habitats by bears because these same habitats receive extensive human use by park visitors, especially kayaking recreationists. This study provides insight regarding the nature and intensity of bear activity at selected coastal sites within GLBA. We achieved a clearer understanding of bear/habitat relationships within GLBA by analyzing bear activity data collected with remote cameras, bear sign mapping, scat collections, and genetic analysis of bear hair. Although we could not quantify actual levels of bear activity at study sites, agreement among measures of activity (for example, sign counts, DNA analysis, and video record) lends support to our qualitative site assessments. This work suggests that habitat evaluation, bear sign mapping, and periodic scat counts can provide a useful index of bear activity for sites of interest.

  8. Polar bears exhibit genome-wide signatures of bioenergetic adaptation to life in the Arctic environment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Welch, Andreanna J.; Bedoya-Reina, Oscar C.; Carretero-Paulet, Lorenzo; Miller, Webb; Rode, Karyn D.; Lindqvist, Charlotte

    2014-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) face extremely cold temperatures and periods of fasting, which might result in more severe energetic challenges than those experienced by their sister species, the brown bear (U. arctos). We have examined the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes of polar and brown bears to investigate if polar bears demonstrate lineage-specific signals of molecular adaptation in genes associated with cellular respiration/energy production. We observed increased evolutionary rates in the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I gene in polar but not brown bears. An amino acid substitution occurred near the interaction site with a nuclear-encoded subunit of the cytochrome c oxidase complex, and was predicted to lead to a functional change, although the significance of this remains unclear. The nuclear genomes of brown and polar bears demonstrate different adaptations related to cellular respiration. Analyses of the genomes of brown bears exhibited substitutions that may alter the function of proteins that regulate glucose uptake, which could be beneficial when feeding on carbohydrate-dominated diets during hyperphagia, followed by fasting during hibernation. In polar bears, genes demonstrating signatures of functional divergence and those potentially under positive selection were enriched in functions related to production of nitric oxide, which can regulate energy production in several different ways. This suggests that polar bears may be able to fine-tune intracellular levels of nitric oxide as an adaptive response to control trade-offs between energy production in the form of ATP versus generation of heat (thermogenesis).

  9. Polar bears exhibit genome-wide signatures of bioenergetic adaptation to life in the arctic environment.

    PubMed

    Welch, Andreanna J; Bedoya-Reina, Oscar C; Carretero-Paulet, Lorenzo; Miller, Webb; Rode, Karyn D; Lindqvist, Charlotte

    2014-02-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) face extremely cold temperatures and periods of fasting, which might result in more severe energetic challenges than those experienced by their sister species, the brown bear (U. arctos). We have examined the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes of polar and brown bears to investigate whether polar bears demonstrate lineage-specific signals of molecular adaptation in genes associated with cellular respiration/energy production. We observed increased evolutionary rates in the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I gene in polar but not brown bears. An amino acid substitution occurred near the interaction site with a nuclear-encoded subunit of the cytochrome c oxidase complex and was predicted to lead to a functional change, although the significance of this remains unclear. The nuclear genomes of brown and polar bears demonstrate different adaptations related to cellular respiration. Analyses of the genomes of brown bears exhibited substitutions that may alter the function of proteins that regulate glucose uptake, which could be beneficial when feeding on carbohydrate-dominated diets during hyperphagia, followed by fasting during hibernation. In polar bears, genes demonstrating signatures of functional divergence and those potentially under positive selection were enriched in functions related to production of nitric oxide (NO), which can regulate energy production in several different ways. This suggests that polar bears may be able to fine-tune intracellular levels of NO as an adaptive response to control trade-offs between energy production in the form of adenosine triphosphate versus generation of heat (thermogenesis). PMID:24504087

  10. Polar Bears Exhibit Genome-Wide Signatures of Bioenergetic Adaptation to Life in the Arctic Environment

    PubMed Central

    Welch, Andreanna J.; Carretero-Paulet, Lorenzo; Miller, Webb; Rode, Karyn D.; Lindqvist, Charlotte

    2014-01-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) face extremely cold temperatures and periods of fasting, which might result in more severe energetic challenges than those experienced by their sister species, the brown bear (U. arctos). We have examined the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes of polar and brown bears to investigate whether polar bears demonstrate lineage-specific signals of molecular adaptation in genes associated with cellular respiration/energy production. We observed increased evolutionary rates in the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I gene in polar but not brown bears. An amino acid substitution occurred near the interaction site with a nuclear-encoded subunit of the cytochrome c oxidase complex and was predicted to lead to a functional change, although the significance of this remains unclear. The nuclear genomes of brown and polar bears demonstrate different adaptations related to cellular respiration. Analyses of the genomes of brown bears exhibited substitutions that may alter the function of proteins that regulate glucose uptake, which could be beneficial when feeding on carbohydrate-dominated diets during hyperphagia, followed by fasting during hibernation. In polar bears, genes demonstrating signatures of functional divergence and those potentially under positive selection were enriched in functions related to production of nitric oxide (NO), which can regulate energy production in several different ways. This suggests that polar bears may be able to fine-tune intracellular levels of NO as an adaptive response to control trade-offs between energy production in the form of adenosine triphosphate versus generation of heat (thermogenesis). PMID:24504087

  11. Bacterial populations and metabolites in the feces of free roaming and captive grizzly bears.

    PubMed

    Schwab, Clarissa; Cristescu, Bogdan; Boyce, Mark S; Stenhouse, Gordon B; Gänzle, Michael

    2009-12-01

    Gut physiology, host phylogeny, and diet determine the composition of the intestinal microbiota. Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) belong to the Order Carnivora, yet feed on an omnivorous diet. The role of intestinal microflora in grizzly bear digestion has not been investigated. Microbiota and microbial activity were analysed from the feces of wild and captive grizzly bears. Bacterial composition was determined using culture-dependent and culture-independent methods. The feces of wild and captive grizzly bears contained log 9.1 +/- 0.5 and log 9.2 +/- 0.3 gene copies x g(-1), respectively. Facultative anaerobes Enterobacteriaceae and enterococci were dominant in wild bear feces. Among the strict anaerobes, the Bacteroides-Prevotella-Porphyromonas group was most prominent. Enterobacteriaceae were predominant in the feces of captive grizzly bears, at log 8.9 +/- 0.5 gene copies x g(-1). Strict anaerobes of the Bacteroides-Prevotella-Porphyromonas group and the Clostridium coccoides cluster were present at log 6.7 +/- 0.9 and log 6.8 +/- 0.8 gene copies x g(-1), respectively. The presence of lactate and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) verified microbial activity. Total SCFA content and composition was affected by diet. SCFA composition in the feces of captive grizzly bears resembled the SCFA composition of prey-consuming wild animals. A consistent data set was obtained that associated fecal microbiota and metabolites with the distinctive gut physiology and diet of grizzly bears. PMID:20029525

  12. Recent observations of intraspecific predation and cannibalism among polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Amstrup, Steven C.; Stirling, I.; Smith, T.S.; Perham, C.; Thiemann, G.W.

    2006-01-01

    Intraspecific killing has been reported among polar bears (Ursus maritimus), brown bears (U. arctos), and black bears (U. americanus). Although cannibalism is one motivation for such killings, the ecological factors mediating such events are poorly understood. Between 24 January and 10 April 2004, we confirmed three instances of intraspecific predation and cannibalism in the Beaufort Sea. One of these, the first of this type ever reported for polar bears, was a parturient female killed at her maternal den. The predating bear was hunting in a known maternal denning area and apparently discovered the den by scent. A second predation event involved an adult female and cub recently emerged from their den, and the third involved a yearling male. During 24 years of research on polar bears in the southern Beaufort Sea region of northern Alaska and 34 years in northwestern Canada, we have not seen other incidents of polar bears stalking, killing, and eating other polar bears. We hypothesize that nutritional stresses related to the longer ice-free seasons that have occurred in the Beaufort Sea in recent years may have led to the cannibalism incidents we observed in 2004. ?? Springer-Verlag 2006.

  13. Spring feeding on ungulate carcasses by grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Green, Gerald I.; Mattson, D.J.; Peek, J.M.

    1997-01-01

    We studied the spring use of ungulate carcasses by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) on ungulate winter ranges in Yellowstone National Park. We observed carcasses and bear tracks on survey routes that were travelled biweekly during spring of 1985-90 in the Firehole-Gibbon winter range and spring of 1987-90 in the Northern winter range. The probability that grizzly bears used a carcass was positively related to elevation and was lower within 400 m of a road, or within 5 km of a major recreational development compared to elsewhere. Carcass use peaked in April, coincident with peak ungulate deaths. Grizzly bears also were more likely to use carcasses in the Firehole-Gibbon compared to Northern Range study area. We attributed the effects of study area and elevation to the fact that grizzly bears den and are first active in the spring at high elevations and to differences in densities of competing scavengers. Probability of grizzly bear use was strongly related to body mass of carcasses on the Northern Range where densities of coyotes (Canis latrans) and black bears (U. americanus) appeared to be much higher than in the Firehole-Gibbon study area. We suggest that additional restrictions on human activity in ungulate winter ranges or movement of carcasses to remote areas could increase grizzly bear use of carrion. Fewer competing scavengers and greater numbers of adult ungulates vulnerable to winter mortality could have the same effect.

  14. Active fans and grizzly bears: Reducing risks for wilderness campers

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sakals, M. E.; Wilford, D. J.; Wellwood, D. W.; MacDougall, S. A.

    2010-03-01

    Active geomorphic fans experience debris flows, debris floods and/or floods (hydrogeomorphic processes) that can be hazards to humans. Grizzly bears ( Ursus arctos) can also be a hazard to humans. This paper presents the results of a cross-disciplinary study that analyzed both hydrogeomorphic and grizzly bear hazards to wilderness campers on geomorphic fans along a popular hiking trail in Kluane National Park and Reserve in southwestern Yukon Territory, Canada. Based on the results, a method is proposed to reduce the risks to campers associated with camping on fans. The method includes both landscape and site scales and is based on easily understood and readily available information regarding weather, vegetation, stream bank conditions, and bear ecology and behaviour. Educating wilderness campers and providing a method of decision-making to reduce risk supports Parks Canada's public safety program; a program based on the principle of user self-sufficiency. Reducing grizzly bear-human conflicts complements the efforts of Parks Canada to ensure a healthy grizzly bear population.

  15. Use of lodgepole pine cover types by Yellowstone grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, D.J.

    1997-01-01

    Lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) forests are a large and dynamic part of grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) habitat in the Yellowstone ecosystem. Research in other areas suggests that grizzly bears select for young open forest stands, especially for grazing and feeding on berries. Management guidelines accordingly recommend timber harvest as a technique for improving habitat in areas potentially dominated by lodgepole pine. In this paper I examine grizzly bear use of lodgepole pine forests in the Yellowstone area, and test several hypotheses with relevance to a new generation of management guidelines. Differences in grizzly bear selection of lodgepole pine cover types (defined on the basis of stand age and structure) were not pronounced. Selection furthermore varied among years, areas, and individuals. Positive selection for any lodgepole pine type was uncommon. Estimates of selection took 5-11 years or 4-12 adult females to stabilize, depending upon the cover type. The variances of selection estimates tended to stabilize after 3-5 sample years, and were more-or-less stable to slightly increasing with progressively increased sample area. There was no conclusive evidence that Yellowstone's grizzlies favored young (<40 yr) stands in general or for their infrequent use of berries. On the other hand, these results corroborated previous observations that grizzlies favored open and/or young stands on wet and fertile sites for grazing. These results also supported the proposition that temporally and spatially robust inferences require extensive, long-duration studies, especially for wide-ranging vertebrates like grizzly bears.

  16. Seasonal regulation of the growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor-I axis in the American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Blumenthal, Stanley; Morgan-Boyd, Rebecca; Nelson, Ralph; Garshelis, David L; Turyk, Mary E; Unterman, Terry

    2011-10-01

    The American black bear maintains lean body mass for months without food during winter denning. We asked whether changes in the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-I (GH-IGF-I) axis may contribute to this remarkable adaptation to starvation. Serum IGF-I levels were measured by radioimmunoassay, and IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) were analyzed by ligand blotting. Initial studies in bears living in the wild showed that IGF-I levels are highest in summer and lowest in early winter denning. Detailed studies in captive bears showed that IGF-I levels decline in autumn when bears are hyperphagic, continue to decline in early denning, and later rise above predenning levels despite continued starvation in the den. IGFBP-2 increased and IGFBP-3 decreased in early denning, and these changes were also reversed in later denning. Treatment with GH (0.1 mg·kg(-1)·day(-1) × 6 days) during early denning increased serum levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 and lowered levels of IGFBP-2, indicating that denning bears remain responsive to GH. GH treatment lowered blood urea nitrogen levels, reflecting effects on protein metabolism. GH also accelerated weight loss and markedly increased serum levels of free fatty acids and β-hydroxybutyrate, resulting in a ketoacidosis (bicarbonate decreased to 15 meq/l), which was reversed when GH was withdrawn. These results demonstrate seasonal regulation of GH/IGF-I axis activity in black bears. Diminished GH activity may promote fat storage in autumn in preparation for denning and prevent excessive mobilization and premature exhaustion of fat stores in early denning, whereas restoration of GH/IGF activity in later denning may prepare the bear for normal activity outside the den. PMID:21730258

  17. Polyhalogenated compounds (PCBs, chlordanes, HCB and BFRs) in four polar bears (Ursus maritimus) that swam malnourished from East Greenland to Iceland.

    PubMed

    Vetter, Walter; Gall, Vanessa; Skírnisson, Karl

    2015-11-15

    Levels of organohalogen compounds (PCBs, chlordane, PBB 153, PBDEs, HCB) were determined in adipose tissue, liver, kidney and muscle of four polar bears which swam and/or drifted to Iceland in extremely malnourished condition. Since the colonization in the 9th century polar bears have been repeatedly observed in Iceland. However, in recent years three of the animals have clearly left their natural habitat in poor condition in May or June, i.e. at the end of the major feeding season. The fourth bear is believed to have drifted with melting ice to North-Eastern Iceland in mid-winter. The concentrations of the POPs were within the range or higher than the typical concentrations measured in polar bears from the East Greenland population. In addition to the targeted compounds, we tentatively detected Dechlorane 602 and its potential hydrodechlorinated Cl11-metabolite in all samples. Moreover, a polychlorinated compound which partly co-eluted with PCB 209 was detected in all liver samples but not in adipose tissue, kidney or muscle. The mass spectrum of the potential metabolite did not allow determining its structure. Polar bears are good swimmers and can reach Iceland from the ice edge of East Greenland within a few days. Potential reasons for the swims are briefly discussed. PMID:26172596

  18. Grizzly bear predation rates on caribou calves in northeastern Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Young, D.D., Jr.; McCabe, T.R.

    1997-01-01

    During June 1993 and 1994, 11 radiocollared and 7 unmarked grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) were monitored visually (observation) from fixed-wing aircraft to document predation on calves of the Porcupine Caribou (Rangifer tarandus) Herd (PCH) in northeastern Alaska. Twenty-six (72%) grizzly bear observations were completed (???60 min) successfully (median duration = 180 min; ??95% CI = 136-181 min; range = 67-189 min) and 10 were discontinued (duration ???24 min) due to disturbance to the bear, or unfavorable weather conditions. Of the 26 successfully completed observations, 15 (58%) included predatory activity (encounter) directed at caribou calves and 8 (31%) included kills. Of 32 encounters, 9 resulted in kills, for a success rate of 28%. The median duration of encounters was 1 minute (??95% CI = 1-2 min; range = 1-6 min; n = 32;), and the median time spent at a kill was 14 minutes (??95% CI = 9-23 min; range = 6-56 min; n = 9). Sows with young (n = 4) killed more frequently (75%; P = 0.0178) than barren sows, boars, and consorting pairs combined (17%; n = 18). Estimated kill rate was highest for sows with young (6.3 kills/bear/day; n = 4), followed by barren sows (4.6 kills/bear/day; n = 5), boars (1.9 kills/bear/day; n = 5), and, finally, consorting pairs (1.0 kills/bear/day; n = 8). Estimated kill rate obtained via conventional radiotracking point surveys (4.8 kills/bear/day) was higher than that obtained via concurrent bear observations (3.1 kills/bear/day). Our research provides baseline estimates of predation rates by grizzly bears on caribou calves that will enhance the capability of wildlife professionals in managing populations of both predators and their prey.

  19. Effects of intratesticular zinc gluconate treatment on testicular dimensions, echodensity, histology, sperm production, and testosterone secretion in American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Brito, Leonardo F C; Sertich, Patricia L; Rives, William; Knobbe, Marc; Del Piero, Fabio; Stull, Gordon B

    2011-05-01

    Eight adult American black bears were used to evaluate the effects of chemical castration by intratesticular zinc gluconate treatment on testicular dimensions, echodensity, histology, sperm production, and testosterone secretion. Treatment did not affect testicular dimensions and did not result in decreased resting or GnRH-stimulated testosterone secretion. Multifocal hyperchoic areas in the testicular parenchyma were observed on ultrasound examination, and white foci were observed on gross pathology examination after zinc gluconate treatment. Histologically, there were normal seminiferous tubules containing either round or elongated spermatids, along with abnormal tubules in all bears after treatment. Vacuolation of the seminiferous epithelium, sloughing of germ cells into the tubules' lumen, presence of multinuclear giant cells, and reduced height of the seminiferous epithelium with missing generations of germ cells were commonly observed. The most severe testicular changes were multifocal and included fibrosis, complete degeneration of the seminiferous epithelium with shrinkage of the tubule, and sperm stasis. Epididymal sperm reserve was 982.74 ± 654.16 × 10(6) sperm (mean ± SEM) and motile sperm were observed in the epididymis of all but one of the bears. In conclusion, although intratesticular zinc gluconate treatment in black bears resulted in testicular degenerative changes detected by ultrasound and histology examinations, sperm production was not completely ablated. We inferred that normal fertility might have been compromised, but treatment unlikely resulted in sterility. PMID:21356548

  20. In vivo and in vitro changes in neurochemical parameters related to mercury concentrations from specific brain regions of polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Krey, Anke; Kwan, Michael; Chan, Hing Man

    2014-11-01

    Mercury (Hg) has been detected in polar bear brain tissue, but its biological effects are not well known. Relationships between Hg concentrations and neurochemical enzyme activities and receptor binding were assessed in the cerebellum, frontal lobes, and occipital lobes of 24 polar bears collected from Nunavik (Northern Quebec), Canada. The concentration-response relationship was further studied with in vitro experiments using pooled brain homogenate of 12 randomly chosen bears. In environmentally exposed brain samples, there was no correlative relationship between Hg concentration and cholinesterase (ChE) activity or muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) binding in any of the 3 brain regions. Monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity in the occipital lobe showed a negative correlative relationship with total Hg concentration. In vitro experiments, however, demonstrated that Hg (mercuric chloride and methylmercury chloride) can inhibit ChE and MAO activities and muscarinic mAChR binding. These results show that Hg can alter neurobiochemical parameters but the current environmental Hg exposure level does have an effect on the neurochemistry of polar bears from northern Canada. PMID:25264143

  1. Persistent organic pollutants in British Columbia grizzly bears: consequence of divergent diets.

    PubMed

    Christensen, Jennie R; MacDuffee, Misty; Macdonald, Robie W; Whiticar, Michael; Ross, Peter S

    2005-09-15

    Nitrogen and carbon stable isotope signatures in growing hair reveal that while some British Columbia grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) rely entirely on terrestrial foods, others switch in late summer to returning Pacific salmon (Oncorynchus spp.). Implications for persistent organic pollutant (POP) concentrations and patterns measured in the two feeding groups of grizzly bears were profound. While the bears consuming a higher proportion of terrestrial vegetation ("interior" grizzlies) exhibited POP patterns dominated bythe more volatile organochlorine (OC) pesticides and the heavier polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs: e.g., BDE-209), the bears consuming salmon were dominated by the more bioaccumulative POPs (e.g., DDT, chlordanes, and BDE-47). The ocean-salmon-bear pathway appeared to preferentially select for those contaminants with intermediate partitioning strength from water into lipid (log Kow approximately 6.5). This pattern reflects an optimum contaminant log Kow range for atmospheric transport, deposition into the marine environment, uptake into marine biota, accumulation through the food web, and retention in the bear tissues. We estimate that salmon deliver 70% of all OC pesticides, up to 85% of the lower brominated PBDE congeners, and 90% of PCBs found in salmon-eating grizzly bears, thereby inextricably linking these terrestrial predators to contaminants from the North Pacific Ocean. PMID:16201616

  2. Selection of microsites by grizzly bears to excavate biscuitroots (Lomatium cous)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, D.J.

    1997-01-01

    Roots of the biscuitroot (Lomatium cous) are a common food of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in drier parts of their southern range. I used random sampling and locations of radiomarked bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem to investigate the importance of mass and starch content of roots, digability of the site, and density of plants relative to selection of sites by grizzly bears to dig biscuitroots. Where biscuitroots were present, most differences between dug and undug sites were related to digability of the site and mass and starch content of roots. Grizzly bears more often dug in sites where average milligrams of starch per kilogram of pull per root (a??energy gain) was high. Density of biscuitroots was not related to selection of sites by grizzly bears. Mass of biscuitroot stems also provided relatively little information about mass of roots. Distribution of biscuitroots was associated with increased cover of rocks and exposure to wind, and with decreased slopes and cover of forbs. Digs by grizzly bears were associated with the presence of biscuitroots, proximity to edge of forest, and increased cover of rocks. Results were consistent with previously observed tendencies of grizzly bears to concentrate their feeding within 50-100 m of cover.

  3. Spatial and temporal trends of selected trace elements in liver tissue from polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Alaska, Canada and Greenland.

    PubMed

    Routti, Heli; Letcher, Robert J; Born, Erik W; Branigan, Marsha; Dietz, Rune; Evans, Thomas J; Fisk, Aaron T; Peacock, Elizabeth; Sonne, Christian

    2011-08-01

    Spatial trends and comparative changes in time of selected trace elements were studied in liver tissue from polar bears from ten different subpopulation locations in Alaska, Canadian Arctic and East Greenland. For nine of the trace elements (As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Mn, Pb, Rb, Se and Zn) spatial trends were investigated in 136 specimens sampled during 2005-2008 from bears from these ten subpopulations. Concentrations of Hg, Se and As were highest in the (northern and southern) Beaufort Sea area and lowest in (western and southern) Hudson Bay area and Chukchi/Bering Sea. In contrast, concentrations of Cd showed an increasing trend from east to west. Minor or no spatial trends were observed for Cu, Mn, Rb and Zn. Spatial trends were in agreement with previous studies, possibly explained by natural phenomena. To assess temporal changes of Cd, Hg, Se and Zn concentrations during the last decades, we compared our results to previously published data. These time comparisons suggested recent Hg increase in East Greenland polar bears. This may be related to Hg emissions and/or climate-induced changes in Hg cycles or changes in the polar bear food web related to global warming. Also, Hg:Se molar ratio has increased in East Greenland polar bears, which suggests there may be an increased risk for Hg(2+)-mediated toxicity. Since the underlying reasons for spatial trends or changes in time of trace elements in the Arctic are still largely unknown, future studies should focus on the role of changing climate and trace metal emissions on geographical and temporal trends of trace elements. PMID:21687839

  4. Spatial and temporal trends of selected trace elements in liver tissue from polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Alaska, Canada and Greenland

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Routti, H.; Letcher, R.J.; Born, E.W.; Branigan, M.; Dietz, R.; Evans, T.J.; Fisk, A.T.; Peacock, E.; Sonne, C.

    2011-01-01

    Spatial trends and comparative changes in time of selected trace elements were studied in liver tissue from polar bears from ten different subpopulation locations in Alaska, Canadian Arctic and East Greenland. For nine of the trace elements (As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Mn, Pb, Rb, Se and Zn) spatial trends were investigated in 136 specimens sampled during 2005-2008 from bears from these ten subpopulations. Concentrations of Hg, Se and As were highest in the (northern and southern) Beaufort Sea area and lowest in (western and southern) Hudson Bay area and Chukchi/Bering Sea. In contrast, concentrations of Cd showed an increasing trend from east to west. Minor or no spatial trends were observed for Cu, Mn, Rb and Zn. Spatial trends were in agreement with previous studies, possibly explained by natural phenomena. To assess temporal changes of Cd, Hg, Se and Zn concentrations during the last decades, we compared our results to previously published data. These time comparisons suggested recent Hg increase in East Greenland polar bears. This may be related to Hg emissions and/or climate-induced changes in Hg cycles or changes in the polar bear food web related to global warming. Also, Hg:Se molar ratio has increased in East Greenland polar bears, which suggests there may be an increased risk for Hg 2+-mediated toxicity. Since the underlying reasons for spatial trends or changes in time of trace elements in the Arctic are still largely unknown, future studies should focus on the role of changing climate and trace metal emissions on geographical and temporal trends of trace elements. ?? 2011 The Royal Society of Chemistry.

  5. Brown bear response to elevated viewing structures at Brooks River, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    DeBruyn, T.D.; Smith, T.S.; Proffitt, K.; Partridge, S.; Drummer, T.D.

    2004-01-01

    The increasing popularity of brown bear (Ursus arctos) viewing at Brooks River in Katmai National Park, Alaska has resulted in overcrowded facilities, increasing bear-human conflicts, displacement of bears from important habitats, and degradation of cultural resources. To partially address these issues, the National Park Service (NPS) constructed a 300-m-long elevated boardwalk with interconnected viewing platforms in August 2000. To determine what effects the new structures might have on individual bears, we observed bear movements and behaviors before and after construction. We used direct observations and motion-detection cameras to construct temporal-spatial profiles of bear activity. Although bear numbers were similar (59 bears in 2000 and 56 bears in 2001) and bear activity within the greater Brooks River area did not differ (P = 0.62, n = 29) between the 2 years of this study, trail crossings in the vicinity of the new structures decreased 78% (7,436 crossings in 2000 and 1,646 crossings in 2001; ??2 = 762, df = 14, P < 0.001). Bear temporal use of the boardwalk area changed such that when human use was highest, bear use was proportionally lower in the post- versus pre-construction phase (??2 = 34, df = 3, P < 0.005). Of 123 direct observations of bears approaching to pass beneath the structures, only 19.5% rerouted or avoided crossing under the structures. Bears' responses to the new structures were influenced by the behavior of visitors upon the structures. Potential management tools to minimize impacts of these structures on bears include enhanced public education regarding visitor conduct on the boardwalk, as well as visitor management and monitoring.

  6. Computed tomographic, magnetic resonance imaging, and cross-sectional anatomic features of the manus in a normal American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Ober, C P; Freeman, L E

    2010-06-01

    The purpose of this study was to provide a detailed description of cross-sectional anatomic structures of the manus of a black bear cadaver and correlate anatomic findings with corresponding features in computed tomographic (CT) and magnetic resonance (MR) images. CT, MR imaging, and transverse sectioning were performed on the thoracic limb of a cadaver female black bear which had no evidence of lameness or thoracic limb abnormality prior to death. Features in CT and MR images corresponding to clinically important anatomic structures in anatomic sections were identified. Most of the structures identified in transverse anatomic sections were also identified using CT and MR imaging. Bones, muscles and tendons were generally easily identified with both imaging modalities, although divisions between adjacent muscles were rarely visible with CT and only visible sometimes with MR imaging. Vascular structures could not be identified with either imaging modality. PMID:20500743

  7. Salmon fishing by bears and the dawn of cooperative predation.

    PubMed

    Stringham, Stephen F

    2012-11-01

    Although bears are an epitome of solitary predation, black (Ursus americanus) and brown bears (U. arctos) occasionally act in pairs to capture salmon (Onchorynchous spp.). I sought to identify conditions that promote pairing and how this relates to optimal foraging. This study on Alaskan black bears assessed whether each mode of fishing (solo vs. paired) occurs mainly where it is most efficient at harvesting salmon--that is, whether modal group size (1 vs. 2) is also optimal size. Not in this case. Pairing increased captures per attempt (benefit/cost ratio = profitability) by up to 47% and captures per minute by up to 5.2-fold. Yet, the ratio of paired versus solo fishing was significantly lower than either profitability or chance explains. Modal group size was 1, optimal size was 2. This discrepancy did not result from intervention by other current benefits and costs, but from unnecessary defensiveness toward any rapidly approaching conspecific, even though it was chasing salmon, not threatening. For bears to regularly hunt cooperatively, they would have to more readily habituate to agonistic-like predatory actions, communicate intentions from > 10 m apart, and assess situational variations in benefit/cost ratios for solo versus paired hunting. It would be revealing to discover how social carnivores overcame these challenges. PMID:23088647

  8. Fire, red squirrels, whitebark pine, and Yellowstone grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Podruzny, Shannon; Reinhart, D.P.; Mattson, David J.

    1999-01-01

    Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) habitats are important to Yellowstone grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) as refugia and sources of food. Ecological relationships between whitebark pine, red squirrels (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus), and grizzly bear use of pine seeds on Mt. Washburn in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, were examined during 1984-86. Following large-scale fires in 1988, we repeated the study in 1995-97 to examine the effects of fire on availability of whitebark pine seed in red squirrel middens and on bear use of middens. Half of the total length of the original line transects burned. We found no red squirrel middens in burned areas. Post-fire linear-abundance (no./km) of active squirrel middens that were pooled from burned and unburned areas decreased 27% compared to pre-fire abundance, but increased in unburned portions of some habitat types. Mean size of active middens decreased 54% post-fire. Use of pine seeds by bears (linear abundance of excavated middens) in pooled burned and unburned habitats decreased by 64%, likely due to the combined effects of reduced midden availability and smaller midden size. We discourage any further large-scale losses of seed producing trees from management-prescribed fires or timber harvesting until the effects of fire on ecological relationships in the whitebark pine zone are better understood.

  9. Population genetics of ice age brown bears.

    PubMed

    Leonard, J A; Wayne, R K; Cooper, A

    2000-02-15

    The Pleistocene was a dynamic period for Holarctic mammal species, complicated by episodes of glaciation, local extinctions, and intercontinental migration. The genetic consequences of these events are difficult to resolve from the study of present-day populations. To provide a direct view of population genetics in the late Pleistocene, we measured mitochondrial DNA sequence variation in seven permafrost-preserved brown bear (Ursus arctos) specimens, dated from 14,000 to 42,000 years ago. Approximately 36,000 years ago, the Beringian brown bear population had a higher genetic diversity than any extant North American population, but by 15,000 years ago genetic diversity appears similar to the modern day. The older, genetically diverse, Beringian population contained sequences from three clades now restricted to local regions within North America, indicating that current phylogeographic patterns may provide misleading data for evolutionary studies and conservation management. The late Pleistocene phylogeographic data also indicate possible colonization routes to areas south of the Cordilleran ice sheet. PMID:10677513

  10. Population-level resource selection by sympatric brown and American black bears in Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Belant, J.L.; Griffith, B.; Zhang, Y.; Follmann, E.H.; Adams, L.G.

    2010-01-01

    Distribution theory predicts that for two species living in sympatry, the subordinate species would be constrained from using the most suitable resources (e.g., habitat), resulting in its use of less suitable habitat and spatial segregation between species. We used negative binomial generalized linear mixed models with fixed effects to estimate seasonal population-level resource selection at two spatial resolutions for female brown bears (Ursus arctos) and female American black bears (U. americanus) in southcentral Alaska during May-September 2000. Black bears selected areas occupied by brown bears during spring which may be related to spatially restricted (i.e., restricted to low elevations) but dispersed or patchy availability of food. In contrast, black bears avoided areas occupied by brown bears during summer. Brown bears selected areas near salmon streams during summer, presumably to access spawning salmon. Use of areas with high berry production by black bears during summer appeared in response to avoidance of areas containing brown bears. Berries likely provided black bears a less nutritious, but adequate food source. We suggest that during summer, black bears were displaced by brown bears, which supports distribution theory in that black bears appeared to be partially constrained from areas containing salmon, resulting in their use of areas containing less nutritious forage. Spatial segregation of brown and American black bears apparently occurs when high-quality resources are spatially restricted and alternate resources are available to the subordinate species. This and previous work suggest that individual interactions between species can result in seasonal population-level responses. ?? US Government 2009.

  11. Conservation of brown bear in the Alps: space use and settlement behavior of reintroduced bears

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Preatoni, Damiano; Mustoni, Andrea; Martinoli, Adriano; Carlini, Eugenio; Chiarenzi, Barbara; Chiozzini, Simonetta; Van Dongen, Stefan; Wauters, Luc A.; Tosi, Guido

    2005-11-01

    Large carnivores typically need large home ranges containing habitats patches of different quality. Consequently, their conservation requires habitat protection and management at the landscape scale. In some cases, reintroduction might be used to support remnant or restore extinct populations. This is the case for the brown bear ( Ursus arctos) in the Italian Alps. We monitored spacing behavior and settlement of reintroduced brown bears in Adamello-Brenta Natural Park, North-Italy, using radio-tracking. Habitat use, dispersion and survival were studied to evaluate the success of reintroduction and possible conflicts with man. All three males and five of seven females settled in the study area. Most bears roamed widely the first months after release, exploring the new habitat. Patterns of home range overlap between seasons and years revealed that home range use stabilized the year after first hibernation. Home ranges were larger in the mating season (May-July) than in spring or autumn. Home ranges varied between 34 and 1813 km 2 the year after release, but core-areas, where feeding activity was concentrated, were much smaller. Some bears had exclusive core-areas in summer and autumn, but most showed considerable core-area overlap with animals of the same and/or the opposite sex. Bears selected deciduous forests, mixed and conifer forests were used according to availability, and areas with anthropogenic disturbance were avoided. Most bears settled and some reproduced successfully at the release site, causing high initial population growth, suggesting that reintroduction can help to re-establish a brown bear population in the Italian Alps.

  12. Brain region-specific perfluoroalkylated sulfonate (PFSA) and carboxylic acid (PFCA) accumulation and neurochemical biomarker responses in east Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Eggers Pedersen, Kathrine; Basu, Niladri; Letcher, Robert; Greaves, Alana K; Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Styrishave, Bjarne

    2015-04-01

    Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) is a growing class of contaminants in the Arctic environment, and include the established perfluorinated sulfonates (PFSAs; especially perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)) and carboxylic acids (PFCAs). PFSAs and PFCAs of varying chain length have been reported to bioaccumulate in lipid rich tissues of the brain among other tissues such as liver, and can reach high concentrations in top predators including the polar bear. PFCA and PFSA bioaccummulation in the brain has the potential to pose neurotoxic effects and therefore we conducted a study to investigate if variations in neurochemical transmitter systems i.e. the cholinergic, glutaminergic, dopaminergic and GABAergic, could be related to brain-specific bioaccumulation of PFASs in East Greenland polar bears. Nine brain regions from nine polar bears were analyzed for enzyme activity (monoamine oxidase (MAO), acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and glutamine synthetase (GS)) and receptor density (dopamine-2 (D2), muscarinic cholinergic (mAChR) and gamma-butyric acid type A (GABA-A)) along with PFSA and PFCA concentrations. Average brain ∑PFSA concentration was 25ng/g ww where PFOS accounted for 91%. Average ∑PFCA concentration was 88ng/g ww where PFUnDA, PFDoDA and PFTrDA combined accounted for 79%. The highest concentrations of PFASs were measured in brain stem, cerebellum and hippocampus. Correlative analyses were performed both across and within brain regions. Significant positive correlations were found between PFASs and MAO activity in occipital lobe (e.g. ∑PFCA; rp=0.83, p=0.041, n=6) and across brain regions (e.g. ∑PFCA; rp=0.47, p=0.001, ∑PFSA; rp=0.44, p>0.001; n=50). GABA-A receptor density was positively correlated with two PFASs across brain regions (PFOS; rp=0.33, p=0.02 and PFDoDA; rp=0.34, p=0.014; n=52). Significant negative correlations were found between mAChR density and PFASs in cerebellum (e.g. ∑PFCA; rp=-0.95, p=0.013, n=5) and across brain regions (e.g.

  13. Study design and sampling intensity for demographic analyses of bear populations

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Harris, R.B.; Schwartz, C.C.; Mace, R.D.; Haroldson, M.A.

    2011-01-01

    The rate of population change through time (??) is a fundamental element of a wildlife population's conservation status, yet estimating it with acceptable precision for bears is difficult. For studies that follow known (usually marked) bears, ?? can be estimated during some defined time by applying either life-table or matrix projection methods to estimates of individual vital rates. Usually however, confidence intervals surrounding the estimate are broader than one would like. Using an estimator suggested by Doak et al. (2005), we explored the precision to be expected in ?? from demographic analyses of typical grizzly (Ursus arctos) and American black (U. americanus) bear data sets. We also evaluated some trade-offs among vital rates in sampling strategies. Confidence intervals around ?? were more sensitive to adding to the duration of a short (e.g., 3 yrs) than a long (e.g., 10 yrs) study, and more sensitive to adding additional bears to studies with small (e.g., 10 adult females/yr) than large (e.g., 30 adult females/yr) sample sizes. Confidence intervals of ?? projected using process-only variance of vital rates were only slightly smaller than those projected using total variances of vital rates. Under sampling constraints typical of most bear studies, it may be more efficient to invest additional resources into monitoring recruitment and juvenile survival rates of females already a part of the study, than to simply increase the sample size of study females. ?? 2011 International Association for Bear Research and Management.

  14. Factors influencing human-grizzly bear interactions in a backcountry setting

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chester, James M.

    1980-01-01

    Interactins between humans and 7 species of wildlife, including grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis), were investigated in backcountry areas of the Gallatin Range, Yellowstone National Park, during the summers of 1973 and 1974. Grizzly bear distribution, movements, and behavior and human behavior were examined. Because grizzlies utilized areas with elevations much in excess of the study area's average trail elevation, he likelihood of the off-trail party observing a grizzly bear was 3-4 times greater than that of a trail-traveling party. During the hiking season, grizzliess exhibited an elevational migration. The frequencies of on-trail and combined on- and off-trail observations and sign discoveries per party tended to peak during those periods that grizzlies were found at low elevations. Activitiy patterns of grizzlies at the point of first observation or after the bears had become aware of the human presence did not indicate behavioral traits likely to accentuate the possibilities of human-bear confrontations. Some backcountry travelers engaged in activites that could increase detrimental encounters with grizzly bears.

  15. Normal sperm morphology and changes of semen characteristics and abnormal morphological spermatozoa among peri-mating seasons in captive japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    PubMed

    Okano, Tsukasa; Murase, Tetsuma; Nakamura, Sachiko; Komatsu, Takeshi; Tsubota, Toshio; Asano, Makoto

    2009-04-01

    The objectives of this study were to obtain morphological data for normal spermatozoa and to investigate seasonal changes (the early, mid- and post-mating seasons) in abnormal morphology of spermatozoa and the characteristics of semen in Japanese black bears. Semen was collected by electroejaculation from 34 captive male Japanese black bears a total of 74 times. Length of head, width of head, length of midpiece and total length of the spermatozoa were 6.3 +/- 0.4, 4.5 +/- 0.3, 10.4 +/- 0.7 and 69.6 +/- 3.1 mum (mean +/- SD; 20 semen, 200 spermatozoa), respectively. In the semen collected during the mid-mating season, ejaculate volume, ejaculate pH, sperm concentration, total sperm count, motility, viability and intact acrosomes were 0.46 +/- 0.36 ml, 7.3 +/- 0.4, 659 +/- 644 x 10(6)/ml, 214 +/- 208 x 10(6), 82.9 +/- 9.6%, 89.3 +/- 9.5% and 97.0 +/- 3.2% (mean +/- SD; n=21, in ejaculate pH n=8), respectively. Sperm motility and viability in the early (n=7) and mid-mating (n=21) seasons were significantly higher than in the post-mating (n=8) season. The rates of detached heads in the early and mid-mating season were significantly lower than in the post-mating season. The main abnormal morphologies observed (mean +/- SD%; n=23) were simply bent tail (19.9 +/- 22.6), distal droplets (13.5 +/- 11.7), proximal droplets (9.6 +/- 7.8), teratoid spermatozoa (6.7 +/- 10.7), knobbed acrosome (4.9 +/- 8.6), acrosome damage (3.7 +/- 2.8) and bent midpiece (3.7 +/- 5.1). The data will be useful for artificial breeding and further research on male reproductive physiology in this species. PMID:19194064

  16. Dietary breadth of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gunther, Kerry A.; Shoemaker, Rebecca; Frey, Kevin L.; Haroldson, Mark A.; Cain, Steven L; van Manen, Frank T.; Fortin, Jennifer K.

    2014-01-01

    Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) are opportunistic omnivores that eat a great diversity of plant and animal species. Changes in climate may affect regional vegetation, hydrology, insects, and fire regimes, likely influencing the abundance, range, and elevational distribution of the plants and animals consumed by GYE grizzly bears. Determining the dietary breadth of grizzly bears is important to document future changes in food resources and how those changes may affect the nutritional ecology of grizzlies. However, no synthesis exists of all foods consumed by grizzly bears in the GYE. We conducted a review of available literature and compiled a list of species consumed by grizzly bears in the GYE. We documented >266 species within 200 genera from 4 kingdoms, including 175 plant, 37 invertebrate, 34 mammal, 7 fungi, 7 bird, 4 fish, 1 amphibian, and 1 algae species as well as 1 soil type consumed by grizzly bears. The average energy values of the ungulates (6.8 kcal/g), trout (Oncorhynchus spp., 6.1 kcal/g), and small mammals (4.5 kcal/g) eaten by grizzlies were higher than those of the plants (3.0 kcal/g) and invertebrates (2.7 kcal/g) they consumed. The most frequently detected diet items were graminoids, ants (Formicidae), whitebark pine seeds (Pinus albicaulis), clover (Trifolium spp.), and dandelion (Taraxacum spp.). The most consistently used foods on a temporal basis were graminoids, ants, whitebark pine seeds, clover, elk (Cervus elaphus), thistle (Cirsium spp.), and horsetail (Equisetum spp.). Historically, garbage was a significant diet item for grizzlies until refuse dumps were closed. Use of forbs increased after garbage was no longer readily available. The list of foods we compiled will help managers of grizzly bears and their habitat document future changes in grizzly bear food habits and how bears respond to changing food resources.

  17. Size and growth patterns of the Yellowstone grizzly bear

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Blanchard, Bonnie M.

    1987-01-01

    Weights and/or measurements of 151 grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) captured 261 times were recorded from 1975 to 1985. Males were consistently heavier than females within all age classes beginning at age 2. Mean weight for 65 captive males (5+ years old) was 192 kg and 135 kg for 63 adult females (5+ years old). Mean monthly weights by sex and age class indicated adults lost weight from den emergence through July, generally regaining emergence weight by August. Weaned yearlings lost weight July-Septmber, whereas unweaned yearlings gained weight during the same period. Sexual dimorphism in body measurements within age classes was apparent in cubs and became significant in all body measurements by age 3. Girth was the measurement most closely correlated with weight for both males and females. Adults feeding at garbage dumps weighted more than bears relying on natural food sources. Bears were smaller and weighed less in this study than during the period 1959-70, when major dumps were available as a food source. Mean annual weights of nondump females were highly correlated with annual habitat productivity indices for Yellowstone Park. Correlations between mean adult female weight an cub litter size (r) = 0.92) and mean age at 1st cub production (r = -0.52) were apparent. In general, females with reliable high-energy foods tended to attain larger body sizes, mature at an earlier age, and have larger cub litters than females using relatively low-energy foods.

  18. Distribution of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, 2004

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schwartz, C.C.; Haroldson, M.A.; Gunther, K.; Moody, D.

    2006-01-01

    The US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) proposed delisting the Yellowstone grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) in November 2005. Part of that process required knowledge of the most current distribution of the species. Here, we update an earlier estimate of occupied range (1990–2000) with data through 2004. We used kernel estimators to develop distribution maps of occupied habitats based on initial sightings of unduplicated females (n = 481) with cubs of the year, locations of radiomarked bears (n = 170), and spatially unique locations of conflicts, confrontations, and mortalities (n = 1,075). Although each data set was constrained by potential sampling bias, together they provided insight into areas in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) currently occupied by grizzly bears. The current distribution of 37,258 km2 (1990–2004) extends beyond the distribution map generated with data from 1990–2000 (34,416 km2 ). Range expansion is particularly evident in parts of the Caribou–Targhee National Forest in Idaho and north of Spanish Peaks on the Gallatin National Forest in Montana.

  19. Energy homeostasis regulatory peptides in hibernating grizzly bears.

    PubMed

    Gardi, János; Nelson, O Lynne; Robbins, Charles T; Szentirmai, Eva; Kapás, Levente; Krueger, James M

    2011-05-15

    Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) are inactive for up to 6 months during hibernation. They undergo profound seasonal changes in food intake, body mass, and energy expenditure. The circa-annual regulation of metabolism is poorly understood. In this study, we measured plasma ghrelin, leptin, obestatin, and neuropeptide-Y (NPY) levels, hormones known to be involved in the regulation of energy homeostasis, in ten grizzly bears. Blood samples were collected during the active summer period, early hibernation and late hibernation. Plasma levels of leptin, obestatin, and NPY did not change between the active and the hibernation periods. Plasma total ghrelin and desacyl-ghrelin concentrations significantly decreased during the inactive winter period compared to summer levels. The elevated ghrelin levels may help enhance body mass during pre-hibernation, while the low plasma ghrelin concentrations during hibernation season may contribute to the maintenance of hypophagia, low energy utilization and behavioral inactivity. Our results suggest that ghrelin plays a potential role in the regulation of metabolic changes and energy homeostasis during hibernation in grizzly bears. PMID:21187098

  20. Using climate data to predict grizzly bear litter size

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Picton, Harold D.; Knight, Richard R.

    1986-01-01

    A 5-year double-bind test was conducted to test the predictive capability of a previously published (Picton 1978) regression (Y= 2.01 + 0.042x), which described the relationship between the littler size of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) and an index of climate plus carrion availability (climate-carrion index). This regression showed an efficient in excess of 99% in predicting the observed grizzly bear littler size. The predictions made using the climate-carrion index had a mean absolute error of less than 25% of forecasts using other methods. The updated climate-carrion index regression, which includes all of the 16 years for which data are available, is Y= 2.009 + 0.042x (r = 0.078; P N = 16). We concluded that the climate-carrion index can be a helpful tool in predicting grizzly bear littler size. The relation of this information to the effects of the closure of Yellowstone Park garbage dumps is discussed.

  1. Interactions between wolves and female grizzly bears with cubs in Yellowstone National Park

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Gunther, Kerry A.; Smith, Douglas W.

    2004-01-01

    Gray wolves (Canis lupus) were extirpated from Yellowstone National Park (YNP) by the 1920s through predator control actions (Murie 1940,Young and Goldman 1944, Weaver 1978), then reintroduced into the park from 1995 to 1996 to restore ecological integrity and adhere to legal mandates (Bangs and Fritts 1996, Phillips and Smith 1996, Smith et al. 2000). Prior to reintroduction, the potential effects of wolves on the region’s threatened grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) population were evaluated (Servheen and Knight 1993). In areas where wolves and grizzly bears are sympatric, interspecific killing by both species occasionally occurs (Ballard 1980, 1982; Hayes and Baer 1992). Most agonistic interactions between wolves and grizzly bears involve defense of young or competition for carcasses (Murie 1944, 1981; Ballard 1982; Hornbeck and Horejsi 1986; Hayes and Mossop 1987; Kehoe 1995; McNulty et al. 2001). Servheen and Knight (1993) predicted that reintroduced wolves could reduce the frequency of winter-killed and disease-killed ungulates available for bears to scavenge, and that grizzly bears would occasionally usurp wolf-killed ungulate carcasses. Servheen and Knight (1993) hypothesized that interspecific killing and competition for carcasses would have little or no population level effect on either species.

  2. Whitebark Pine, Population Density, and Home-Range Size of Grizzly Bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Bjornlie, Daniel D.; Van Manen, Frank T.; Ebinger, Michael R.; Haroldson, Mark A.; Thompson, Daniel J.; Costello, Cecily M.

    2014-01-01

    Changes in life history traits of species can be an important indicator of potential factors influencing populations. For grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), recent decline of whitebark pine (WBP; Pinus albicaulis), an important fall food resource, has been paired with a slowing of population growth following two decades of robust population increase. These observations have raised questions whether resource decline or density-dependent processes may be associated with changes in population growth. Distinguishing these effects based on changes in demographic rates can be difficult. However, unlike the parallel demographic responses expected from both decreasing food availability and increasing population density, we hypothesized opposing behavioral responses of grizzly bears with regard to changes in home-range size. We used the dynamic changes in food resources and population density of grizzly bears as a natural experiment to examine hypotheses regarding these potentially competing influences on grizzly bear home-range size. We found that home-range size did not increase during the period of whitebark pine decline and was not related to proportion of whitebark pine in home ranges. However, female home-range size was negatively associated with an index of population density. Our data indicate that home-range size of grizzly bears in the GYE is not associated with availability of WBP, and, for female grizzly bears, increasing population density may constrain home-range size. PMID:24520354

  3. Whitebark pine, population density, and home-range size of grizzly bears in the greater yellowstone ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Bjornlie, Daniel D; Van Manen, Frank T; Ebinger, Michael R; Haroldson, Mark A; Thompson, Daniel J; Costello, Cecily M

    2014-01-01

    Changes in life history traits of species can be an important indicator of potential factors influencing populations. For grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), recent decline of whitebark pine (WBP; Pinus albicaulis), an important fall food resource, has been paired with a slowing of population growth following two decades of robust population increase. These observations have raised questions whether resource decline or density-dependent processes may be associated with changes in population growth. Distinguishing these effects based on changes in demographic rates can be difficult. However, unlike the parallel demographic responses expected from both decreasing food availability and increasing population density, we hypothesized opposing behavioral responses of grizzly bears with regard to changes in home-range size. We used the dynamic changes in food resources and population density of grizzly bears as a natural experiment to examine hypotheses regarding these potentially competing influences on grizzly bear home-range size. We found that home-range size did not increase during the period of whitebark pine decline and was not related to proportion of whitebark pine in home ranges. However, female home-range size was negatively associated with an index of population density. Our data indicate that home-range size of grizzly bears in the GYE is not associated with availability of WBP, and, for female grizzly bears, increasing population density may constrain home-range size. PMID:24520354

  4. Plant consumption by grizzly bears reduces biomagnification of salmon-derived polychlorinated biphenyls, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and organochlorine pesticides.

    PubMed

    Christensen, Jennie R; Yunker, Mark B; MacDuffee, Misty; Ross, Peter S

    2013-04-01

    The present study characterizes the uptake and loss of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) by sampling and analyzing their terrestrial and marine foods and fecal material from a remote coastal watershed in British Columbia, Canada. The authors estimate that grizzly bears consume 341 to 1,120 µg of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and 3.9 to 33 µg of polybrominated diphenyl ethers daily in the fall when they have access to an abundant supply of returning salmon. The authors also estimate that POP elimination by grizzly bears through defecation is very low following salmon consumption (typically <2% of intake) but surprisingly high following plant consumption (>100% for PCBs and organochlorine pesticides). Excretion of individual POPs is largely driven by a combination of fugacity (differences between bear and food concentrations) and the digestibility of the food. The results of the present study are substantiated by a principal components analysis, which also demonstrates a strong role for log KOW in governing the excretion of different POPs in grizzly bears. Collectively, the present study's results reveal that grizzly bears experience a vegetation-associated drawdown of POPs previously acquired through the consumption of salmon, to such an extent that net biomagnification is reduced. PMID:23401324

  5. Whitebark pine, population density, and home-range size of grizzly bears in the greater Yellowstone ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Daniel D, Bjornlie; van Manen, Frank T.; Michael R, Ebinger; Haroldson, Mark A.; Daniel J, Thompson; Cecily M, Costello

    2014-01-01

    Changes in life history traits of species can be an important indicator of potential factors influencing populations. For grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), recent decline of whitebark pine (WBP; Pinus albicaulis), an important fall food resource, has been paired with a slowing of population growth following two decades of robust population increase. These observations have raised questions whether resource decline or density-dependent processes may be associated with changes in population growth. Distinguishing these effects based on changes in demographic rates can be difficult. However, unlike the parallel demographic responses expected from both decreasing food availability and increasing population density, we hypothesized opposing behavioral responses of grizzly bears with regard to changes in home-range size. We used the dynamic changes in food resources and population density of grizzly bears as a natural experiment to examine hypotheses regarding these potentially competing influences on grizzly bear home-range size. We found that home-range size did not increase during the period of whitebark pine decline and was not related to proportion of whitebark pine in home ranges. However, female home-range size was negatively associated with an index of population density. Our data indicate that home-range size of grizzly bears in the GYE is not associated with availability of WBP, and, for female grizzly bears, increasing population density may constrain home-range size.

  6. Methods to estimate distribution and range extent of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Haroldson, Mark A.; Schwartz, Charles C.; , Daniel D. Bjornlie; , Daniel J. Thompson; , Kerry A. Gunther; , Steven L. Cain; , Daniel B. Tyers; Frey, Kevin L.; Aber, Bryan C.

    2014-01-01

    The distribution of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) population has expanded into areas unoccupied since the early 20th century. Up-to-date information on the area and extent of this distribution is crucial for federal, state, and tribal wildlife and land managers to make informed decisions regarding grizzly bear management. The most recent estimate of grizzly bear distribution (2004) utilized fixed-kernel density estimators to describe distribution. This method was complex and computationally time consuming and excluded observations of unmarked bears. Our objective was to develop a technique to estimate grizzly bear distribution that would allow for the use of all verified grizzly bear location data, as well as provide the simplicity to be updated more frequently. We placed all verified grizzly bear locations from all sources from 1990 to 2004 and 1990 to 2010 onto a 3-km × 3-km grid and used zonal analysis and ordinary kriging to develop a predicted surface of grizzly bear distribution. We compared the area and extent of the 2004 kriging surface with the previous 2004 effort and evaluated changes in grizzly bear distribution from 2004 to 2010. The 2004 kriging surface was 2.4% smaller than the previous fixed-kernel estimate, but more closely represented the data. Grizzly bear distribution increased 38.3% from 2004 to 2010, with most expansion in the northern and southern regions of the range. This technique can be used to provide a current estimate of grizzly bear distribution for management and conservation applications.

  7. Titin isoform switching is a major cardiac adaptive response in hibernating grizzly bears.

    PubMed

    Nelson, O Lynne; Robbins, Charles T; Wu, Yiming; Granzier, Henk

    2008-07-01

    The hibernation phenomenon captures biological as well as clinical interests to understand how organs adapt. Here we studied how hibernating grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) tolerate extremely low heart rates without developing cardiac chamber dilation. We evaluated cardiac filling function in unanesthetized grizzly bears by echocardiography during the active and hibernating period. Because both collagen and titin are involved in altering diastolic function, we investigated both in the myocardium of active and hibernating grizzly bears. Heart rates were reduced from 84 beats/min in active bears to 19 beats/min in hibernating bears. Diastolic volume, stroke volume, and left ventricular ejection fraction were not different. However, left ventricular muscle mass was significantly lower (300 +/- 12 compared with 402 +/- 14 g; P = 0.003) in the hibernating bears, and as a result the diastolic volume-to-left ventricular muscle mass ratio was significantly greater. Early ventricular filling deceleration times (106.4 +/- 14 compared with 143.2 +/- 20 ms; P = 0.002) were shorter during hibernation, suggesting increased ventricular stiffness. Restrictive pulmonary venous flow patterns supported this conclusion. Collagen type I and III comparisons did not reveal differences between the two groups of bears. In contrast, the expression of titin was altered by a significant upregulation of the stiffer N2B isoform at the expense of the more compliant N2BA isoform. The mean ratio of N2BA to N2B titin was 0.73 +/- 0.07 in the active bears and decreased to 0.42 +/- 0.03 (P = 0.006) in the hibernating bears. The upregulation of stiff N2B cardiac titin is a likely explanation for the increased ventricular stiffness that was revealed by echocardiography, and we propose that it plays a role in preventing chamber dilation in hibernating grizzly bears. Thus our work identified changes in the alternative splicing of cardiac titin as a major adaptive response in hibernating grizzly

  8. Yellowstone grizzly bear mortality, human habituation, and whitebark pine seed crops

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, David J.; Blanchard, Bonnie M.; Knight, Richard R.

    1992-01-01

    The Yellowstone grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) population may be extirpated during the next 100-200 years unless mortality rates stabilize and remain at acceptable low levels. Consequently, we analyzed relationships between Yellowstone grizzly bear mortality and frequency of human habituation among bears and size of the whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) seed crop. During years of large seed crops, bears used areas within 5 km of roads and 8 km of developments half as intensively as during years of small seed crops because whitebark pine's high elevation distribution is typically remote from human facilities. On average, management trappings of bears were 6.2 times higher, mortality of adult females 2.3 times higher, and mortality of subadult males 3.3 times higher during years of small seed crops. We hypothesize that high mortality of adult females and subadult males during small seed crop years was a consequence of their tendency to range closest (of all sex-age cohorts) to human facilities; they also had a higher frequency of human habituation compared with adult males. We also hypothesize that low morality among subadult females during small seed crop years was a result of fewer energetic stressors compared with adult females and greater familiarity with their range compared with subadult males; mortality was low even though they ranged close to humans and exhibited a high frequency of human habituation. Human-habituated and food-conditioned bears were 2.9 times as likely to range within 4 km of developments and 3.1 times as often killed by humans compared with nonhabituated bears. We argue that destruction of habituated bears that use native foods near humans results in a decline in the overall ability of bears to use available habitat; and that the number and extent of human facilities in occupied grizzly bear habitat needs to be minimized unless habituated bears are preserved and successful ways to manage the associated risks to humans are developed.

  9. Predicting Grizzly Bear Density in Western North America

    PubMed Central

    Mowat, Garth; Heard, Douglas C.; Schwarz, Carl J.

    2013-01-01

    Conservation of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) is often controversial and the disagreement often is focused on the estimates of density used to calculate allowable kill. Many recent estimates of grizzly bear density are now available but field-based estimates will never be available for more than a small portion of hunted populations. Current methods of predicting density in areas of management interest are subjective and untested. Objective methods have been proposed, but these statistical models are so dependent on results from individual study areas that the models do not generalize well. We built regression models to relate grizzly bear density to ultimate measures of ecosystem productivity and mortality for interior and coastal ecosystems in North America. We used 90 measures of grizzly bear density in interior ecosystems, of which 14 were currently known to be unoccupied by grizzly bears. In coastal areas, we used 17 measures of density including 2 unoccupied areas. Our best model for coastal areas included a negative relationship with tree cover and positive relationships with the proportion of salmon in the diet and topographic ruggedness, which was correlated with precipitation. Our best interior model included 3 variables that indexed terrestrial productivity, 1 describing vegetation cover, 2 indices of human use of the landscape and, an index of topographic ruggedness. We used our models to predict current population sizes across Canada and present these as alternatives to current population estimates. Our models predict fewer grizzly bears in British Columbia but more bears in Canada than in the latest status review. These predictions can be used to assess population status, set limits for total human-caused mortality, and for conservation planning, but because our predictions are static, they cannot be used to assess population trend. PMID:24367552

  10. Predicting grizzly bear density in western North America.

    PubMed

    Mowat, Garth; Heard, Douglas C; Schwarz, Carl J

    2013-01-01

    Conservation of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) is often controversial and the disagreement often is focused on the estimates of density used to calculate allowable kill. Many recent estimates of grizzly bear density are now available but field-based estimates will never be available for more than a small portion of hunted populations. Current methods of predicting density in areas of management interest are subjective and untested. Objective methods have been proposed, but these statistical models are so dependent on results from individual study areas that the models do not generalize well. We built regression models to relate grizzly bear density to ultimate measures of ecosystem productivity and mortality for interior and coastal ecosystems in North America. We used 90 measures of grizzly bear density in interior ecosystems, of which 14 were currently known to be unoccupied by grizzly bears. In coastal areas, we used 17 measures of density including 2 unoccupied areas. Our best model for coastal areas included a negative relationship with tree cover and positive relationships with the proportion of salmon in the diet and topographic ruggedness, which was correlated with precipitation. Our best interior model included 3 variables that indexed terrestrial productivity, 1 describing vegetation cover, 2 indices of human use of the landscape and, an index of topographic ruggedness. We used our models to predict current population sizes across Canada and present these as alternatives to current population estimates. Our models predict fewer grizzly bears in British Columbia but more bears in Canada than in the latest status review. These predictions can be used to assess population status, set limits for total human-caused mortality, and for conservation planning, but because our predictions are static, they cannot be used to assess population trend. PMID:24367552

  11. Modeling survival: application of the Andersen-Gill model to Yellowstone grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Johnson, Christopher J.; Boyce, Mark S.; Schwartz, Charles C.; Haroldson, Mark A.

    2004-01-01

     Wildlife ecologists often use the Kaplan-Meier procedure or Cox proportional hazards model to estimate survival rates, distributions, and magnitude of risk factors. The Andersen-Gill formulation (A-G) of the Cox proportional hazards model has seen limited application to mark-resight data but has a number of advantages, including the ability to accommodate left-censored data, time-varying covariates, multiple events, and discontinuous intervals of risks. We introduce the A-G model including structure of data, interpretation of results, and assessment of assumptions. We then apply the model to 22 years of radiotelemetry data for grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) of the Greater Yellowstone Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming, USA. We used Akaike's Information Criterion (AICc) and multi-model inference to assess a number of potentially useful predictive models relative to explanatory covariates for demography, human disturbance, and habitat. Using the most parsimonious models, we generated risk ratios, hypothetical survival curves, and a map of the spatial distribution of high-risk areas across the recovery zone. Our results were in agreement with past studies of mortality factors for Yellowstone grizzly bears. Holding other covariates constant, mortality was highest for bears that were subjected to repeated management actions and inhabited areas with high road densities outside Yellowstone National Park. Hazard models developed with covariates descriptive of foraging habitats were not the most parsimonious, but they suggested that high-elevation areas offered lower risks of mortality when compared to agricultural areas.

  12. Distribution of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, 1990-2000

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schwartz, Charles C.; Haroldson, Mark A.; Gunther, Kerry A.; Moody, D.

    2002-01-01

    The Yellowstone grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) has been expanding its range during the past 2 decades and now occupies historic habitats that had been vacant. A current understanding of the distribution of grizzly bears within the ecosystem is useful in the recovery process and to help guide the state and federal land management agencies and state wildlife agencies of Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana as they prepare management plans. We used kernel estimators to develop distribution maps of occupied habitats based on initial sightings of unduplicated females (n = 300) with cubs-of-the-year, information from radiomarked bears (n = 105), and locations of conflicts, confrontations, and mortalities (n = 1,235). Although each data set was constrained by potential sampling bias, together they provided insight into areas within the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) currently occupied by grizzly bears. The current distribution (1990–2000) extends beyond the recovery zone identified in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) Recovery Plan. Range expansion is particularly evident in the southern portion of the ecosystem in Wyoming. A comparison of our results from the 1990s to previously published distribution maps show an approximate increase in occupied habitat of 48% and 34% from the 1970s and 1980s, respectively. We discuss data biases and problems implicit to the analysis

  13. Grizzly bear denning and potential conflict areas in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Podruzny, Shannon; Cherry, Steve; Schwartz, Charles C.; Landenburger, Lisa

    2002-01-01

    Increasing winter use of steep, high-elevation terrain by backcountry recreationists has elevated concern about disturbance of denning grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). To help identify areas where such conflicts might occur, we developed a spatially explicit model to predict potential denning areas in the GYE. Using a scan area of 630 m around each location, we assigned site attributes to 344 den locations of radio-trackedg rizzly bears from 1975-99. Attributesi dentified as predictorsf or the analysis included elevation, slope, an index of solar radiation, and forest cover. We used the Mahalanobis distance statistic to model the similarity between sites used by denning bears and each cell in the data layers. We used the final Mahalanobis distance model to produce maps of the study area. Potential denning habitat, based upon the model, is abundantw ithin the GYE. Ourr esultsc an be used by land managementa gencies to identifyp otentialc onflict sites and minimize effects of regulated activities on denning grizzly bears. We illustrate how the Gallatin National Forest (GNF) used the model to examine the overlap between potential snowmobile use areas and potential denning habitat as part of a Biological Assessment submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

  14. Genetic analysis of individual origins supports isolation of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Haroldson, Mark A.; Schwartz, Charles; Kendall, Katherine C.; Gunther, Kerry A.; Moody, David S.; Frey, Kevin L.; Paetkau, David

    2010-01-01

    The Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) supports the southernmost of the 2 largest remaining grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) populations in the contiguous United States. Since the mid-1980s, this population has increased in numbers and expanded in range. However, concerns for its long-term genetic health remain because of its presumed continued isolation. To test the power of genetic methods for detecting immigrants, we generated 16-locus microsatellite genotypes for 424 individual grizzly bears sampled in the GYE during 1983–2007. Genotyping success was high (90%) and varied by sample type, with poorest success (40%) for hair collected from mortalities found ≥1 day after death. Years of storage did not affect genotyping success. Observed heterozygosity was 0.60, with a mean of 5.2 alleles/marker. We used factorial correspondence analysis (Program GENETIX) and Bayesian clustering (Program STRUCTURE) to compare 424 GYE genotypes with 601 existing genotypes from grizzly bears sampled in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) (FST  =  0.096 between GYE and NCDE). These methods correctly classified all sampled individuals to their population of origin, providing no evidence of natural movement between the GYE and NCDE. Analysis of 500 simulated first-generation crosses suggested that over 95% of such bears would also be detectable using our 16-locus data set. Our approach provides a practical method for detecting immigration in the GYE grizzly population. We discuss estimates for the proportion of the GYE population sampled and prospects for natural immigration into the GYE.

  15. Observations of mixed-aged litters in brown bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Swenson, J.E.; Haroldson, M.A.

    2008-01-01

    We report on 3 cases of mixed-aged litters (young born in different years) in brown bears (Ursus arctos); in 1 instance the cub-of-the-year (hereafter called cubs) died in the den. Two cases occurred in Sweden after mothers were separated from their young during the breeding season. In one, the mother was separated from the accompanying cub for at least 12.5 hours and possibly up to 3.3 days, and later possibly separated for 4 days. In the other, the mother was separated from her yearling at least 3 times for 1-14, 1-6 and 1-6 days. She was with a male during the first separation. Specific events that produced the mixed-aged litter observed in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem were unknown and our interpretation is based on estimates of ages of accompanying young from photographs. The observation of only 2 mixed-aged litters, after den emergence, from a sample of 406 observed cub litters accompanying radiomarked females confirms the rarity of this phenomenon. The mechanism apparently includes a short separation of mother and young, and, in the case of cubs, the mother must mate while lactating. Better understanding of the physiological mechanisms that allow mixed-age litters would help us in the debate about the occurrence of sexually selected infanticide in bears.

  16. Dynamics of Pleistocene population extinctions in Beringian brown bears.

    PubMed

    Barnes, I; Matheus, P; Shapiro, B; Jensen, D; Cooper, A

    2002-03-22

    The climatic and environmental changes associated with the last glaciation (90,000 to 10,000 years before the present; 90 to 10 ka B.P.) are an important example of the effects of global climate change on biological diversity. These effects were particularly marked in Beringia (northeastern Siberia, northwestern North America, and the exposed Bering Strait) during the late Pleistocene. To investigate the evolutionary impact of these events, we studied genetic change in the brown bear, Ursus arctos, in eastern Beringia over the past 60,000 years using DNA preserved in permafrost remains. A marked degree of genetic structure is observed in populations throughout this period despite local extinctions, reinvasions, and potential interspecies competition with the short-faced bear, Arctodus simus. The major phylogeographic changes occurred 35 to 21 ka B.P., before the glacial maximum, and little change is observed after this time. Late Pleistocene histories of mammalian taxa may be more complex than those that might be inferred from the fossil record or contemporary DNA sequences alone. PMID:11910112

  17. Idiosyncratic responses of grizzly bear habitat to climate change based on projected food resource changes.

    PubMed

    Roberts, David R; Nielsen, Scott E; Stenhouse, Gordon B

    2014-07-01

    Climate change vulnerability assessments for species of conservation concern often use species distribution and ecological niche modeling to project changes in habitat. One of many assumptions of these approaches is that food web dependencies are consistent in time and environmental space. Species at higher trophic levels that rely on the availability of species at lower trophic levels as food may be sensitive to extinction cascades initiated by changes in the habitat of key food resources. Here we assess climate change vulnerability for Ursus arctos (grizzly bears) in the southern Canadian Rocky Mountains using projected changes to 17 of the most commonly consumed plant food items. We used presence-absence information from 7088 field plots to estimate ecological niches and to project changes in future distributions of each species. Model projections indicated idiosyncratic responses among food items. Many food items persisted or even increased, although several species were found to be vulnerable based on declines or geographic shifts in suitable habitat. These included Hedysarum alpinum (alpine sweet vetch), a critical spring and autumn root-digging resource when little else is available. Potential habitat loss was also identified for three fruiting species of lower importance to bears: Empetrum nigrum (crowberry), Vaccinium scoparium (grouseberry), and Fragaria virginiana (strawberry). A general trend towards uphill migration of bear foods may result in higher vulnerability to bear populations at low elevations, which are also those that are most likely to have human-bear conflict problems. Regardless, a wide diet breadth of grizzly bears, as well as wide environmental niches of most food items, make climate change a much lower threat to grizzly bears than other bear species such as polar bears and panda bears. We cannot exclude, however, future alterations in human behavior and land use resulting from climate change that may reduce survival rates. PMID:25154102

  18. Extirpations of grizzly bears in the contiguous United States of America, 1850-2000

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, David J.; Merrill, Troy

    2002-01-01

    We investigated factors associated with the distribution of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in 1850 and their extirpation during 1850–1920 and 1920–1970 in the contiguous United States. We used autologistic regression to describe relations between grizzly bear range in 1850, 1920, and 1970 and potential explanatory factors specified for a comprehensive grid of cells, each 900 km2 in size. We also related persistence, 1920–1970, to range size and shape. Grizzly bear range in 1850 was positively related to occurrence in mountainous ecoregions and the ranges of oaks (Quercus spp.), piñon pines (Pinus edulis and P. monophylla), whitebark pine (P. albicaulis), and bison (Bos bison) and negatively related to occurrence in prairie and hot desert ecoregions. Relations with salmon (Oncorynchus spp.) range and human factors were complex. Persistence of grizzly bear range, 1850–1970, was positively related to occurrence in the Rocky Mountains, whitebark pine range, and local size of grizzly bear range at the beginning of each period, and negatively related to number of humans and the ranges of bison, salmon, and piñon pines. We speculate that foods affected persistence primarily by influencing the frequency of contact between humans and bears. With respect to current conservation, grizzly bears survived from 1920 to 1970 most often where ranges at the beginning of this period were either larger than 20,000 km2 or larger than 7,000 km2 but with a ratio of perimeter to area of <2. Without reductions in human lethality after 1970, there would have been no chance that core grizzly bear range would be as extensive as it is now. Although grizzly bear range in the Yellowstone region is currently the most robust of any to potential future increases in human lethality, bears in this region are threatened by the loss of whitebark pine.

  19. Estimating grizzly and black bear population abundance and trend in Banff National Park using noninvasive genetic sampling.

    PubMed

    Sawaya, Michael A; Stetz, Jeffrey B; Clevenger, Anthony P; Gibeau, Michael L; Kalinowski, Steven T

    2012-01-01

    We evaluated the potential of two noninvasive genetic sampling methods, hair traps and bear rub surveys, to estimate population abundance and trend of grizzly (Ursus arctos) and black bear (U. americanus) populations in Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. Using Huggins closed population mark-recapture models, we obtained the first precise abundance estimates for grizzly bears (N= 73.5, 95% CI = 64-94 in 2006; N= 50.4, 95% CI = 49-59 in 2008) and black bears (N= 62.6, 95% CI = 51-89 in 2006; N= 81.8, 95% CI = 72-102 in 2008) in the Bow Valley. Hair traps had high detection rates for female grizzlies, and male and female black bears, but extremely low detection rates for male grizzlies. Conversely, bear rubs had high detection rates for male and female grizzlies, but low rates for black bears. We estimated realized population growth rates, lambda, for grizzly bear males (λ= 0.93, 95% CI = 0.74-1.17) and females (λ= 0.90, 95% CI = 0.67-1.20) using Pradel open population models with three years of bear rub data. Lambda estimates are supported by abundance estimates from combined hair trap/bear rub closed population models and are consistent with a system that is likely driven by high levels of human-caused mortality. Our results suggest that bear rub surveys would provide an efficient and powerful means to inventory and monitor grizzly bear populations in the Central Canadian Rocky Mountains. PMID:22567089

  20. Estimating total human-caused mortality from reported mortality using data from radio-instrumented grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cherry, S.; Haroldson, M.A.; Robison-Cox, J.; Schwartz, C.C.

    2002-01-01

    Tracking mortality of the Yellowstone grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) is an essential issue of the recovery process. Problem bears removed by agencies are well documented. Deaths of radiocollared bears are known or, in many cases, can be reliably inferred. Additionally, the public reports an unknown proportion of deaths of uncollared bears. Estimating the number of non-agency human-caused mortalities is a necessary element that must be factored into the total annual mortality. Here, we describe a method of estimating the number of such deaths from records of reported human-caused bear mortalities. We used a hierarchical Bayesian model with a non-informative prior distribution for the number of deaths. Estimates of reporting rates developed from deaths of radio-instrumented bears from 1983 to 2000 were used to develop beta prior probability distributions that the public will report a death. Twenty-seven known deaths of radio-instrumented bears occurred during this period with 16 reported. Additionally, fates of 23 radio-instrumented bears were unknown and are considered possible unreported mortalities. We describe 3 ways of using this information to specify prior distributions on the probability a death will be reported by the public. We estimated total deaths of noninstrumented bears in running 3-year periods from 1993 to 2000. Thirty-nine known deaths of non-instrumented bears were reported during this period, ranging from 0 to 7/year. Seven possible mortalities were recorded. We applied the method to both sets of mortality data. Results from this method can be combined with agency removals and deaths of collared bears to produce defensible estimates of total mortality over relevant periods and to incorporate uncertainty when evaluating mortality limits established for the Yellowstone grizzly bear population. Assumptions and limitations of this procedure are discussed.

  1. No need to replace an “anomalous” primate (Primates) with an “anomalous” bear (Carnivora, Ursidae)

    PubMed Central

    Gutiérrez, Eliécer E.; Pine, Ronald H.

    2015-01-01

    Abstract By means of mitochondrial 12S rRNA sequencing of putative “yeti”, “bigfoot”, and other “anomalous primate” hair samples, a recent study concluded that two samples, presented as from the Himalayas, do not belong to an “anomalous primate”, but to an unknown, anomalous type of ursid. That is, that they match 12S rRNA sequences of a fossil Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus), but neither of modern Polar Bears, nor of Brown Bears (Ursus arctos), the closest relative of Polar Bears, and one that occurs today in the Himalayas. We have undertaken direct comparison of sequences; replication of the original comparative study; inference of phylogenetic relationships of the two samples with respect to those from all extant species of Ursidae (except for the Giant Panda, Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and two extinct Pleistocene species; and application of a non-tree-based population aggregation approach for species diagnosis and identification. Our results demonstrate that the very short fragment of the 12S rRNA gene sequenced by Sykes et al. is not sufficiently informative to support the hypotheses provided by these authors with respect to the taxonomic identity of the individuals from which these sequences were obtained. We have concluded that there is no reason to believe that the two samples came from anything other than Brown Bears. These analyses afforded an opportunity to test the monophyly of morphologically defined species and to comment on both their phylogenetic relationships and future efforts necessary to advance our understanding of ursid systematics. PMID:25829853

  2. Contrafreeloading in grizzly bears: implications for captive foraging enrichment.

    PubMed

    McGowan, Ragen T S; Robbins, Charles T; Alldredge, J Richard; Newberry, Ruth C

    2010-01-01

    Although traditional feeding regimens for captive animals were focused on meeting physiological needs to assure good health, more recently emphasis has also been placed on non-nutritive aspects of feeding. The provision of foraging materials to diversify feeding behavior is a common practice in zoos but selective consumption of foraging enrichment items over more balanced "chow" diets could lead to nutrient imbalance. One alternative is to provide balanced diets in a contrafreeloading paradigm. Contrafreeloading occurs when animals choose resources that require effort to exploit when identical resources are freely available. To investigate contrafreeloading and its potential as a theoretical foundation for foraging enrichment, we conducted two experiments with captive grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis). In Experiment 1, bears were presented with five foraging choices simultaneously: apples, apples in ice, salmon, salmon in ice, and plain ice under two levels of food restriction. Two measures of contrafreeloading were considered: weight of earned food consumed and time spent working for earned food. More free than earned food was eaten, with only two bears consuming food extracted from ice, but all bears spent more time manipulating ice containing salmon or apples than plain ice regardless of level of food restriction. In Experiment 2, food-restricted bears were presented with three foraging choices simultaneously: apples, apples inside a box, and an empty box. Although they ate more free than earned food, five bears consumed food from boxes and all spent more time manipulating boxes containing apples than empty boxes. Our findings support the provision of contrafreeloading opportunities as a foraging enrichment strategy for captive wildlife. PMID:19816856

  3. Science and management of Rocky Mountain grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, D.J.; Herrero, S.; Wright, R.G.; Pease, C.M.

    1996-01-01

    The science and management of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in the Rocky Mountains of North America have spawned considerable conflict and controversy. Much of this can be attributed to divergent public values, but the narrow perceptions and incomplete and fragmented problem definitions of those involved have exacerbated an inherently difficult situation. We present a conceptual model that extends the traditional description of the grizzly bear conservation system to include facets of the human domain such as the behavior of managers, elected officials, and the public. The model focuses on human-caused mortality, the key determinant of grizzly bear population growth in this region and the interactions and feedback loops among humans that have a major potential influence on bear mortality. We also briefly evaluate existing information and technical methods relevant to understanding this complex human-biophysical system. We observe not only that the extant knowledge is insufficient for prediction (and in some cases for description), but also that traditional positivistic science alone is not adequate for dealing with the problems of grizzly bear conservation. We recommend changes in science and management that could improve learning and responsiveness among the involved individuals and organizations, clarify some existing uncertainty, and thereby increase the effectiveness of grizzly bear conservation and management. Although adaptive management is a promising approach, we point out some keya??as yet unfulfilleda??contingencies for implementation of a method such as this one that relies upon social processes and structures that promote open learning and flexibility in all facets of the policy process.

  4. Skeletal muscles of hibernating brown bears are unusually resistant to effects of denervation.

    PubMed

    Lin, David C; Hershey, John D; Mattoon, John S; Robbins, Charles T

    2012-06-15

    Hibernating bears retain most of their skeletal muscle strength despite drastically reduced weight-bearing activity. Regular neural activation of muscles is a potential mechanism by which muscle atrophy could be limited. However, both mechanical loading and neural activity are usually necessary to maintain muscle size. An alternative mechanism is that the signaling pathways related to the regulation of muscle size could be altered so that neither mechanical nor neural inputs are needed for retaining strength. More specifically, we hypothesized that muscles in hibernating bears are resistant to a severe reduction in neural activation. To test this hypothesis, we unilaterally transected the common peroneal nerve, which innervates ankle flexor muscles, in hibernating and summer-active brown bears (Ursus arctos). In hibernating bears, the long digital extensor (LDE) and cranial tibial (CT) musculotendon masses on the denervated side decreased after 11 weeks post-surgery by 18 ± 11 and 25 ± 10%, respectively, compared with those in the intact side. In contrast, decreases in musculotendon masses of summer-active bears after denervation were 61 ± 4 and 58 ± 5% in the LDE and CT, respectively, and significantly different from those of hibernating bears. The decrease due to denervation in summer-active bears was comparable to that occurring in other mammals. Whole-muscle cross-sectional areas (CSAs) measured from ultrasound images and myofiber CSAs measured from biopsies decreased similarly to musculotendon mass. Thus, hibernating bears alter skeletal muscle catabolic pathways regulated by neural activity, and exploration of these pathways may offer potential solutions for disuse atrophy of muscles. PMID:22623196

  5. Diet and Environment Shape Fecal Bacterial Microbiota Composition and Enteric Pathogen Load of Grizzly Bears

    PubMed Central

    Schwab, Clarissa; Cristescu, Bogdan; Northrup, Joseph M.; Stenhouse, Gordon B.; Gänzle, Michael

    2011-01-01

    Background Diet and environment impact the composition of mammalian intestinal microbiota; dietary or health disturbances trigger alterations in intestinal microbiota composition and render the host susceptible to enteric pathogens. To date no long term monitoring data exist on the fecal microbiota and pathogen load of carnivores either in natural environments or in captivity. This study investigates fecal microbiota composition and the presence of pathogenic Escherichia coli and toxigenic clostridia in wild and captive grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and relates these to food resources consumed by bears. Methodology/Principal Findings Feces were obtained from animals of two wild populations and from two captive animals during an active bear season. Wild animals consumed a diverse diet composed of plant material, animal prey and insects. Captive animals were fed a regular granulated diet with a supplement of fruits and vegetables. Bacterial populations were analyzed using quantitative PCR. Fecal microbiota composition fluctuated in wild and in captive animals. The abundance of Clostridium clusters I and XI, and of C. perfringens correlated to regular diet protein intake. Enteroaggregative E. coli were consistently present in all populations. The C. sordellii phospholipase C was identified in three samples of wild animals and for the first time in Ursids. Conclusion This is the first longitudinal study monitoring the fecal microbiota of wild carnivores and comparing it to that of captive individuals of the same species. Location and diet affected fecal bacterial populations as well as the presence of enteric pathogens. PMID:22194798

  6. Evaluation of rules to distinguish unique female grizzly bears with cubs in Yellowstone

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schwartz, C.C.; Haroldson, M.A.; Cherry, S.; Keating, K.A.

    2008-01-01

    The United States Fish and Wildlife Service uses counts of unduplicated female grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) with cubs-of-the-year to establish limits of sustainable mortality in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, USA. Sightings are dustered into observations of unique bears based on an empirically derived rule set. The method has never been tested or verified. To evaluate the rule set, we used data from radiocollared females obtained during 1975-2004 to simulate populations under varying densities, distributions, and sighting frequencies. We tested individual rules and rule-set performance, using custom software to apply the rule-set and duster sightings. Results indicated most rules were violated to some degree, and rule-based dustering consistently underestimated the minimum number of females and total population size derived from a nonparametric estimator (Chao2). We conclude that the current rule set returns conservative estimates, but with minor improvements, counts of unduplicated females-with-cubs can serve as a reasonable index of population size useful for establishing annual mortality limits. For the Yellowstone population, the index is more practical and cost-effective than capture-mark-recapture using either DNA hair snagging or aerial surveys with radiomarked bears. The method has useful application in other ecosystems, but we recommend rules used to distinguish unique females be adapted to local conditions and tested.

  7. It's a bear market: evolutionary and ecological effects of predation on two wild sockeye salmon populations.

    PubMed

    Lin, J E; Hard, J J; Naish, K A; Peterson, D; Hilborn, R; Hauser, L

    2016-05-01

    Predation can affect both phenotypic variation and population productivity in the wild, but quantifying evolutionary and demographic effects of predation in natural environments is challenging. The aim of this study was to estimate selection differentials and coefficients associated with brown bear (Ursus arctos) predation in wild sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) populations spawning in pristine habitat that is often subject to intense predation pressure. Using reconstructed genetic pedigrees, individual reproductive success (RS) was estimated in two sockeye salmon populations for two consecutive brood years with very different predation intensities across brood years. Phenotypic data on individual adult body length, body depth, stream entry timing and reproductive lifespan were used to calculate selection coefficients based on RS, and genetic variance components were estimated using animal models. Bears consistently killed larger and more recently arrived adults, although selection differentials were small. In both populations, mean RS was higher in the brood year experiencing lower predation intensity. Selection coefficients were similar across brood years with different levels of predation, often indicating stabilizing selection on reproductive lifespan as well as directional selection for longer reproductive lifespan. Despite these selection pressures, genetic covariation of morphology, phenology and lifespan appears to have maintained variation in spawner body size and stream entry timing in both populations. Our results therefore suggest considerable demographic but limited evolutionary effects of bear predation in the two study populations. PMID:26860201

  8. Interactions between brown bears and chum salmon at McNeil River, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peirce, Joshua M.; Otis, Edward O.; Wipfli, Mark S.; Follmann, Erich H.

    2013-01-01

    Predation on returning runs of adult salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) can have a large influence on their spawning success. At McNeil River State Game Sanctuary (MRSGS), Alaska, brown bears (Ursus arctos) congregate in high numbers annually along the lower McNeil River to prey upon returning adult chum salmon (O. keta). Low chum salmon escapements into McNeil River since the late 1990s have been proposed as a potential factor contributing to concurrent declines in bear numbers. The objective of this study was to determine the extent of bear predation on chum salmon in McNeil River, especially on pre-spawning fish, and use those data to adjust the escapement goal for the river. In 2005 and 2006, 105 chum salmon were radiotagged at the river mouth and tracked to determine cause and location of death. Below the falls, predators consumed 99% of tagged fish, killing 59% of them before they spawned. Subsequently, the escapement goal was nearly doubled to account for this pre-spawning mortality and to ensure enough salmon to sustain both predators and prey. This approach to integrated fish and wildlife management at MRSGS can serve as a model for other systems where current salmon escapement goals may not account for pre-spawning mortality.

  9. Demography and genetic structure of a recovering grizzly bear population

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kendall, K.C.; Stetz, J.B.; Boulanger, J.; Macleod, A.C.; Paetkau, David; White, Gary C.

    2009-01-01

    Grizzly bears (brown bears; Ursus arctos) are imperiled in the southern extent of their range worldwide. The threatened population in northwestern Montana, USA, has been managed for recovery since 1975; yet, no rigorous data were available to monitor program success. We used data from a large noninvasive genetic sampling effort conducted in 2004 and 33 years of physical captures to assess abundance, distribution, and genetic health of this population. We combined data from our 3 sampling methods (hair trap, bear rub, and physical capture) to construct individual bear encounter histories for use in Huggins-Pledger closed mark-recapture models. Our population estimate, N?? = 765 (95% CI = 715-831) was more than double the existing estimate derived from sightings of females with young. Based on our results, the estimated known, human-caused mortality rate in 2004 was 4.6% (95% CI = 4.2-4.9%), slightly above the 4% considered sustainable; however, the high proportion of female mortalities raises concern. We used location data from telemetry, confirmed sightings, and genetic sampling to estimate occupied habitat. We found that grizzly bears occupied 33,480 km2 in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE) during 1994-2007, including 10,340 km beyond the Recovery Zone. We used factorial correspondence analysis to identify potential barriers to gene flow within this population. Our results suggested that genetic interchange recently increased in areas with low gene flow in the past; however, we also detected evidence of incipient fragmentation across the major transportation corridor in this ecosystem. Our results suggest that the NCDE population is faring better than previously thought, and they highlight the need for a more rigorous monitoring program.

  10. Influence of whitebark pine decline on fall habitat use and movements of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Costello, Cecily M; van Manen, Frank T.; Haroldson, Mark A.; Ebinger, Michael R.; Cain, Steven L; Gunther, Kerry A.; Bjornlie, Daniel D

    2014-01-01

    When abundant, seeds of the high-elevation whitebark pine (WBP; Pinus albicaulis) are an important fall food for grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Rates of bear mortality and bear/human conflicts have been inversely associated with WBP productivity. Recently, mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae) have killed many cone-producing WBP trees. We used fall (15 August–30 September) Global Positioning System locations from 89 bear years to investigate temporal changes in habitat use and movements during 2000–2011. We calculated Manly–Chesson (MC) indices for selectivity of WBP habitat and secure habitat (≥500 m from roads and human developments), determined dates of WBP use, and documented net daily movement distances and activity radii. To evaluate temporal trends, we used regression, model selection, and candidate model sets consisting of annual WBP production, sex, and year. One-third of sampled grizzly bears had fall ranges with little or no mapped WBP habitat. Most other bears (72%) had a MC index above 0.5, indicating selection for WBP habitats. From 2000 to 2011, mean MC index decreased and median date of WBP use shifted about 1 week later. We detected no trends in movement indices over time. Outside of national parks, there was no correlation between the MC indices for WBP habitat and secure habitat, and most bears (78%) selected for secure habitat. Nonetheless, mean MC index for secure habitat decreased over the study period during years of good WBP productivity. The wide diet breadth and foraging plasticity of grizzly bears likely allowed them to adjust to declining WBP. Bears reduced use of WBP stands without increasing movement rates, suggesting they obtained alternative fall foods within their local surroundings. However, the reduction in mortality risk historically associated with use of secure, high-elevation WBP habitat may be diminishing for bears residing in multiple-use areas.

  11. Influence of whitebark pine decline on fall habitat use and movements of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

    PubMed

    Costello, Cecily M; van Manen, Frank T; Haroldson, Mark A; Ebinger, Michael R; Cain, Steven L; Gunther, Kerry A; Bjornlie, Daniel D

    2014-05-01

    When abundant, seeds of the high-elevation whitebark pine (WBP; Pinus albicaulis) are an important fall food for grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Rates of bear mortality and bear/human conflicts have been inversely associated with WBP productivity. Recently, mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae) have killed many cone-producing WBP trees. We used fall (15 August-30 September) Global Positioning System locations from 89 bear years to investigate temporal changes in habitat use and movements during 2000-2011. We calculated Manly-Chesson (MC) indices for selectivity of WBP habitat and secure habitat (≥500 m from roads and human developments), determined dates of WBP use, and documented net daily movement distances and activity radii. To evaluate temporal trends, we used regression, model selection, and candidate model sets consisting of annual WBP production, sex, and year. One-third of sampled grizzly bears had fall ranges with little or no mapped WBP habitat. Most other bears (72%) had a MC index above 0.5, indicating selection for WBP habitats. From 2000 to 2011, mean MC index decreased and median date of WBP use shifted about 1 week later. We detected no trends in movement indices over time. Outside of national parks, there was no correlation between the MC indices for WBP habitat and secure habitat, and most bears (78%) selected for secure habitat. Nonetheless, mean MC index for secure habitat decreased over the study period during years of good WBP productivity. The wide diet breadth and foraging plasticity of grizzly bears likely allowed them to adjust to declining WBP. Bears reduced use of WBP stands without increasing movement rates, suggesting they obtained alternative fall foods within their local surroundings. However, the reduction in mortality risk historically associated with use of secure, high-elevation WBP habitat may be diminishing for bears residing in multiple-use areas. PMID:24963393

  12. Use of sulfur and nitrogen stable isotopes to determine the importance of whitebark pine nuts to Yellowstone grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Felicetti, L.A.; Schwartz, C.C.; Rye, R.O.; Haroldson, M.A.; Gunther, K.A.; Phillips, D.L.; Robbins, C.T.

    2003-01-01

    Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) is a masting species that produces relatively large, fat- and protein-rich nuts that are consumed by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis). Trees produce abundant nut crops in some years and poor crops in other years. Grizzly bear survival in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is strongly linked to variation in pine-nut availability. Because whitebark pine trees are infected with blister rust (Cronartium ribicola), an exotic fungus that has killed the species throughout much of its range in the northern Rocky Mountains, we used stable isotopes to quantify the importance of this food resource to Yellowstone grizzly bears while healthy populations of the trees still exist. Whitebark pine nuts have a sulfur-isotope signature (9.2 ?? 1.3??? (mean ?? 1 SD)) that is distinctly different from those of all other grizzly bear foods (ranging from 1.9 ?? 1.7??? for all other plants to 3.1 ?? 2.6??? for ungulates). Feeding trials with captive grizzly bears were used to develop relationships between dietary sulfur-, carbon-, and nitrogen-isotope signatures and those of bear plasma. The sulfur and nitrogen relationships were used to estimate the importance of pine nuts to free-ranging grizzly bears from blood and hair samples collected between 1994 and 2001. During years of poor pine-nut availability, 72% of the bears made minimal use of pine nuts. During years of abundant cone availability, 8 ?? 10% of the bears made minimal use of pine nuts, while 67 ?? 19% derived over 51% of their assimilated sulfur and nitrogen (i.e., protein) from pine nuts. Pine nuts and meat are two critically important food resources for Yellowstone grizzly bears.

  13. Influence of whitebark pine decline on fall habitat use and movements of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    PubMed Central

    Costello, Cecily M; van Manen, Frank T; Haroldson, Mark A; Ebinger, Michael R; Cain, Steven L; Gunther, Kerry A; Bjornlie, Daniel D

    2014-01-01

    When abundant, seeds of the high-elevation whitebark pine (WBP; Pinus albicaulis) are an important fall food for grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Rates of bear mortality and bear/human conflicts have been inversely associated with WBP productivity. Recently, mountain pine beetles (Dendroctonus ponderosae) have killed many cone-producing WBP trees. We used fall (15 August–30 September) Global Positioning System locations from 89 bear years to investigate temporal changes in habitat use and movements during 2000–2011. We calculated Manly–Chesson (MC) indices for selectivity of WBP habitat and secure habitat (≥500 m from roads and human developments), determined dates of WBP use, and documented net daily movement distances and activity radii. To evaluate temporal trends, we used regression, model selection, and candidate model sets consisting of annual WBP production, sex, and year. One-third of sampled grizzly bears had fall ranges with little or no mapped WBP habitat. Most other bears (72%) had a MC index above 0.5, indicating selection for WBP habitats. From 2000 to 2011, mean MC index decreased and median date of WBP use shifted about 1 week later. We detected no trends in movement indices over time. Outside of national parks, there was no correlation between the MC indices for WBP habitat and secure habitat, and most bears (78%) selected for secure habitat. Nonetheless, mean MC index for secure habitat decreased over the study period during years of good WBP productivity. The wide diet breadth and foraging plasticity of grizzly bears likely allowed them to adjust to declining WBP. Bears reduced use of WBP stands without increasing movement rates, suggesting they obtained alternative fall foods within their local surroundings. However, the reduction in mortality risk historically associated with use of secure, high-elevation WBP habitat may be diminishing for bears residing in multiple-use areas. PMID:24963393

  14. Density dependence, whitebark pine, and vital rates of grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    van Manen, Frank T.; Haroldson, Mark A.; Bjornlie, Daniel D; Ebinger, Michael R.; Thompson, Daniel J.; Costello, Cecily M; White, Gary C.

    2016-01-01

    Understanding factors influencing changes in population trajectory is important for effective wildlife management, particularly for populations of conservation concern. Annual population growth of the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) population in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, USA has slowed from 4.2–7.6% during 1983–2001 to 0.3–2.2% during 2002–2011. Substantial changes in availability of a key food source and bear population density have occurred. Whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis), the seeds of which are a valuable but variable fall food for grizzly bears, has experienced substantial mortality primarily due to a mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae) outbreak that started in the early 2000s. Positive growth rates of grizzly bears have resulted in populations reaching high densities in some areas and have contributed to continued range expansion. We tested research hypotheses to examine if changes in vital rates detected during the past decade were more associated with whitebark pine decline or, alternatively, increasing grizzly bear density. We focused our assessment on known-fate data to estimate survival of cubs-of-the-year (cubs), yearlings, and independent bears (≥2 yrs), and reproductive transition of females from having no offspring to having cubs. We used spatially and temporally explicit indices for grizzly bear density and whitebark pine mortality as individual covariates. Models indicated moderate support for an increase in survival of independent male bears over 1983–2012, whereas independent female survival did not change. Cub survival, yearling survival, and reproductive transition from no offspring to cubs all changed during the 30-year study period, with lower rates evident during the last 10–15 years. Cub survival and reproductive transition were negatively associated with an index of grizzly bear density, indicating greater declines where bear densities were higher. Our analyses did not support a similar relationship for the

  15. Seasonal habitat use and selection by grizzly bears in Northern British Columbia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Milakovic, B.; Parker, K.L.; Gustine, D.D.; Lay, R.J.; Walker, A.B.D.; Gillingham, M.P.

    2012-01-01

    We defined patterns of habitat use and selection by female grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Besa-Prophet watershed of northern British Columbia. We fitted 13 adult females with Geographic Positioning System (GPS) radio-collars and monitored them between 2001 and 2004. We examined patterns of habitat selection by grizzly bears relative to topographical attributes and 3 potential surrogates of food availability: land-cover class, vegetation biomass or quality (as measured by the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index), and selection value for prey species themselves (moose [Alces alces], elk [Cervus elaphus], woodland caribou [Rangifer tarandus], Stone's sheep [Ovis dalli stonei]). Although vegetation biomass and quality, and selection values for prey were important in seasonal selection by some individual bears, land-cover class, elevation, aspect, and vegetation diversity most influenced patterns of habitat selection across grizzly bears, which rely on availability of plant foods and encounters with ungulate prey. Grizzly bears as a group avoided conifer stands and areas of low vegetation diversity, and selected for burned land-cover classes and high vegetation diversity across seasons. They also selected mid elevations from what was available within seasonal ranges. Quantifying relative use of different attributes helped place selection patterns within the context of the landscape. Grizzly bears used higher elevations (1,595??31 m SE) in spring and lower elevations (1,436??27 m) in fall; the range of average elevations used among individuals was highest (500 m) during the summer. During all seasons, grizzly bears most frequented aspects with high solar gain. Use was distributed across 10 land-cover classes and depended on season. Management and conservation actions must maintain a diverse habitat matrix distributed across a large elevational gradient to ensure persistence of grizzly bears as levels of human access increase in the northern Rocky Mountains

  16. Grizzly Bear Noninvasive Genetic Tagging Surveys: Estimating the Magnitude of Missed Detections.

    PubMed

    Fisher, Jason T; Heim, Nicole; Code, Sandra; Paczkowski, John

    2016-01-01

    Sound wildlife conservation decisions require sound information, and scientists increasingly rely on remotely collected data over large spatial scales, such as noninvasive genetic tagging (NGT). Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos), for example, are difficult to study at population scales except with noninvasive data, and NGT via hair trapping informs management over much of grizzly bears' range. Considerable statistical effort has gone into estimating sources of heterogeneity, but detection error-arising when a visiting bear fails to leave a hair sample-has not been independently estimated. We used camera traps to survey grizzly bear occurrence at fixed hair traps and multi-method hierarchical occupancy models to estimate the probability that a visiting bear actually leaves a hair sample with viable DNA. We surveyed grizzly bears via hair trapping and camera trapping for 8 monthly surveys at 50 (2012) and 76 (2013) sites in the Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada. We used multi-method occupancy models to estimate site occupancy, probability of detection, and conditional occupancy at a hair trap. We tested the prediction that detection error in NGT studies could be induced by temporal variability within season, leading to underestimation of occupancy. NGT via hair trapping consistently underestimated grizzly bear occupancy at a site when compared to camera trapping. At best occupancy was underestimated by 50%; at worst, by 95%. Probability of false absence was reduced through successive surveys, but this mainly accounts for error imparted by movement among repeated surveys, not necessarily missed detections by extant bears. The implications of missed detections and biased occupancy estimates for density estimation-which form the crux of management plans-require consideration. We suggest hair-trap NGT studies should estimate and correct detection error using independent survey methods such as cameras, to ensure the reliability of the data upon which species management and

  17. Grizzly bear habitat selection is scale dependent.

    PubMed

    Ciarniello, Lana M; Boyce, Mark S; Seip, Dale R; Heard, Douglas C

    2007-07-01

    The purpose of our study is to show how ecologists' interpretation of habitat selection by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) is altered by the scale of observation and also how management questions would be best addressed using predetermined scales of analysis. Using resource selection functions (RSF) we examined how variation in the spatial extent of availability affected our interpretation of habitat selection by grizzly bears inhabiting mountain and plateau landscapes. We estimated separate models for females and males using three spatial extents: within the study area, within the home range, and within predetermined movement buffers. We employed two methods for evaluating the effects of scale on our RSF designs. First, we chose a priori six candidate models, estimated at each scale, and ranked them using Akaike Information Criteria. Using this method, results changed among scales for males but not for females. For female bears, models that included the full suite of covariates predicted habitat use best at each scale. For male bears that resided in the mountains, models based on forest successional stages ranked highest at the study-wide and home range extents, whereas models containing covariates based on terrain features ranked highest at the buffer extent. For male bears on the plateau, each scale estimated a different highest-ranked model. Second, we examined differences among model coefficients across the three scales for one candidate model. We found that both the magnitude and direction of coefficients were dependent upon the scale examined; results varied between landscapes, scales, and sexes. Greenness, reflecting lush green vegetation, was a strong predictor of the presence of female bears in both landscapes and males that resided in the mountains. Male bears on the plateau were the only animals to select areas that exposed them to a high risk of mortality by humans. Our results show that grizzly bear habitat selection is scale dependent. Further, the

  18. Hydrogen sulfide and nitric oxide metabolites in the blood of free-ranging brown bears and their potential roles in hibernation.

    PubMed

    Revsbech, Inge G; Shen, Xinggui; Chakravarti, Ritu; Jensen, Frank B; Thiel, Bonnie; Evans, Alina L; Kindberg, Jonas; Fröbert, Ole; Stuehr, Dennis J; Kevil, Christopher G; Fago, Angela

    2014-08-01

    During winter hibernation, brown bears (Ursus arctos) lie in dens for half a year without eating while their basal metabolism is largely suppressed. To understand the underlying mechanisms of metabolic depression in hibernation, we measured type and content of blood metabolites of two ubiquitous inhibitors of mitochondrial respiration, hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and nitric oxide (NO), in winter-hibernating and summer-active free-ranging Scandinavian brown bears. We found that levels of sulfide metabolites were overall similar in summer-active and hibernating bears but their composition in the plasma differed significantly, with a decrease in bound sulfane sulfur in hibernation. High levels of unbound free sulfide correlated with high levels of cysteine (Cys) and with low levels of bound sulfane sulfur, indicating that during hibernation H2S, in addition to being formed enzymatically from the substrate Cys, may also be regenerated from its oxidation products, including thiosulfate and polysulfides. In the absence of any dietary intake, this shift in the mode of H2S synthesis would help preserve free Cys for synthesis of glutathione (GSH), a major antioxidant found at high levels in the red blood cells of hibernating bears. In contrast, circulating nitrite and erythrocytic S-nitrosation of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, taken as markers of NO metabolism, did not change appreciably. Our findings reveal that remodeling of H2S metabolism and enhanced intracellular GSH levels are hallmarks of the aerobic metabolic suppression of hibernating bears. PMID:24909614

  19. Arkansas black bear hunter survey

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pharris, Larry D.; Clark, Joseph D.

    1987-01-01

    Questionnaires were mailed to black bear (Ursus americanus) hunters in Arkansas following the 1980-84 bear seasons to determine participation, hunter success, and number of bears observed by hunters. Man-days of hunting to harvest a bear ranged from 148 to 671 and hunter success ranged from 0.4% to 2.2%. With the exception of 1980, number of permits issued, man-days of bear hunting, and bears harvested appear affected by hunting permit cost. 

  20. Confronting Uncertainty in Wildlife Management: Performance of Grizzly Bear Management

    PubMed Central

    Artelle, Kyle A.; Anderson, Sean C.; Cooper, Andrew B.; Paquet, Paul C.; Reynolds, John D.; Darimont, Chris T.

    2013-01-01

    Scientific management of wildlife requires confronting the complexities of natural and social systems. Uncertainty poses a central problem. Whereas the importance of considering uncertainty has been widely discussed, studies of the effects of unaddressed uncertainty on real management systems have been rare. We examined the effects of outcome uncertainty and components of biological uncertainty on hunt management performance, illustrated with grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in British Columbia, Canada. We found that both forms of uncertainty can have serious impacts on management performance. Outcome uncertainty alone – discrepancy between expected and realized mortality levels – led to excess mortality in 19% of cases (population-years) examined. Accounting for uncertainty around estimated biological parameters (i.e., biological uncertainty) revealed that excess mortality might have occurred in up to 70% of cases. We offer a general method for identifying targets for exploited species that incorporates uncertainty and maintains the probability of exceeding mortality limits below specified thresholds. Setting targets in our focal system using this method at thresholds of 25% and 5% probability of overmortality would require average target mortality reductions of 47% and 81%, respectively. Application of our transparent and generalizable framework to this or other systems could improve management performance in the presence of uncertainty. PMID:24223134

  1. Confronting uncertainty in wildlife management: performance of grizzly bear management.

    PubMed

    Artelle, Kyle A; Anderson, Sean C; Cooper, Andrew B; Paquet, Paul C; Reynolds, John D; Darimont, Chris T

    2013-01-01

    Scientific management of wildlife requires confronting the complexities of natural and social systems. Uncertainty poses a central problem. Whereas the importance of considering uncertainty has been widely discussed, studies of the effects of unaddressed uncertainty on real management systems have been rare. We examined the effects of outcome uncertainty and components of biological uncertainty on hunt management performance, illustrated with grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in British Columbia, Canada. We found that both forms of uncertainty can have serious impacts on management performance. Outcome uncertainty alone--discrepancy between expected and realized mortality levels--led to excess mortality in 19% of cases (population-years) examined. Accounting for uncertainty around estimated biological parameters (i.e., biological uncertainty) revealed that excess mortality might have occurred in up to 70% of cases. We offer a general method for identifying targets for exploited species that incorporates uncertainty and maintains the probability of exceeding mortality limits below specified thresholds. Setting targets in our focal system using this method at thresholds of 25% and 5% probability of overmortality would require average target mortality reductions of 47% and 81%, respectively. Application of our transparent and generalizable framework to this or other systems could improve management performance in the presence of uncertainty. PMID:24223134

  2. Grizzly bear: habitat relationships in the Yellowstone area

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Blanchard, Bonnie M.

    1983-01-01

    Habitat use by grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) was studied from 1977 through 1979 in a 20,000-km2 area with Yellowstone National Park in the center. Of 1826 aerial radio locations of 46 instrumental grizzlies, 90% were in timber. Three-fourths of the locations were 100 m or less from an edge between timber and an opening. Timber over 3 m tall with a canopy cover of 26-75% accounted for 50% of all activity sites from March through November. The Abies lasiocarpa/Vaccinium scoparium community alone contained 23% of the total activity sites and 35% of the forested activity sites. Of 507 observations of feeding activity, 45% were recorded in timber over 3 m tall with a canopy cover of 26-100%, 34% in timber with a 0.1-25% canopy cover, 20% in open habitats, and 3% in timber less than 3 m tall. Ninety-nine percent of examined day beds were in forested communities.

  3. Consumption of fungal sporocarps by Yellowstone grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, David J.; Podruzny, Shannon; Haroldson, Mark A.

    2002-01-01

    Sign of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) consuming fungal sporocarps (mushrooms and truffles) was observed on 68 occasions during a study of radiomarked bears in the Yellowstone region, 1977–96. Sporocarps also were detected in 96 grizzly bear feces. Most fungi consumedby Yellowstone's grizzlybearsweremembersofthe Boletaceae(Suillus spp.), Russulaceae (Russula spp. and Lactarius sp.), Morchellaceae (Morchella elata), and Rhizopogonaceae. Consumption of false truffles (Rhizopogon spp.) was indicated by excavations that were deeper, on average (1.1 dm), than excavations for mushrooms (0.6 dm). Consumption of sporocarps was most frequent during September (7% of all activity), although median numbers of sporocarps excavated at feeding sites peaked during both August and September (22–23 excavations/site). Almost all consumption (75%) occurred on edaphically harsh sites typically dominated by lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta). At broad scales, consumption of sporocarps was most likely where these types of lodgepole pine-dominated sites were extensive or where high-elevation sites supporting mature whitebarkpine (P albicaulis) were rare. The number of sporocarps excavated atafeeding site was greatest when conecrops of whitebarkpine were smallandinstands with abundantlodgepolepine. At finescales, consumption of fungi was positively associated with lodgepolepine basalarea and negatively associated with total ground vegetation cover. Because of the strong association of sporocarp consumption with lodgepole pine and its disassociation at broad scales with availability of whitebark pineseeds, consumption of mushrooms and truffles by grizzly bears will likely increase in the Yellowstone ecosystem with global warming. Lodgepole pine is predicted to increase and whitebark pine to decline with global warming.

  4. Contributions of vital rates to growth of a protected population of American black bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mitchell, M.S.; Pacifici, L.B.; Grand, J.B.; Powell, R.A.

    2009-01-01

    Analyses of large, long-lived animals suggest that adult survival generally has the potential to contribute more than reproduction to population growth rate (??), but because survival varies little, high variability in reproduction can have a greater influence. This pattern has been documented for several species of large mammals, but few studies have evaluated such contributions of vital rates to ?? for American black bears (Ursus americanus). We used variance-based perturbation analyses (life table response experiments, LTRE) and analytical sensitivity and elasticity analyses to examine the actual and potential contributions of variation of vital rates to variation in growth rate (??) of a population of black bears inhabiting the Pisgah Bear Sanctuary in the southern Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, using a 22-year dataset. We found that recruitment varied more than other vital rates; LTRE analyses conducted over several time intervals thus indicated that recruitment generally contributed at least as much as juvenile and adult survival to observed variation in ??, even though the latter 2 vital rates had the greater potential to affect ??. Our findings are consistent with predictions from studies on polar bears (U. maritimus) and grizzly bears (U. arctos), but contrast with the few existing studies on black bears in ways that suggest levels of protection from human-caused mortality might explain whether adult survival or recruitment contribute most to variation in ?? for this species. We hypothesize that ?? is most strongly influenced by recruitment in protected populations where adult survival is relatively high and constant, whereas adult survival will most influence ?? for unprotected populations. ?? 2009 International Association for Bear Research and Management.

  5. Macronutrient Optimization and Seasonal Diet Mixing in a Large Omnivore, the Grizzly Bear: A Geometric Analysis

    PubMed Central

    Coogan, Sean C. P.; Raubenheimer, David; Stenhouse, Gordon B.; Nielsen, Scott E.

    2014-01-01

    Nutrient balance is a strong determinant of animal fitness and demography. It is therefore important to understand how the compositions of available foods relate to required balance of nutrients and habitat suitability for animals in the wild. These relationships are, however, complex, particularly for omnivores that often need to compose balanced diets by combining their intake from diverse nutritionally complementary foods. Here we apply geometric models to understand how the nutritional compositions of foods available to an omnivorous member of the order Carnivora, the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos L.), relate to optimal macronutrient intake, and assess the seasonal nutritional constraints on the study population in west-central Alberta, Canada. The models examined the proportion of macronutrients that bears could consume by mixing their diet from food available in each season, and assessed the extent to which bears could consume the ratio of protein to non-protein energy previously demonstrated using captive bears to optimize mass gain. We found that non-selective feeding on ungulate carcasses provided a non-optimal macronutrient balance with surplus protein relative to fat and carbohydrate, reflecting adaptation to an omnivorous lifestyle, and that optimization through feeding selectively on different tissues of ungulate carcasses is unlikely. Bears were, however, able to dilute protein intake to an optimal ratio by mixing their otherwise high-protein diet with carbohydrate-rich fruit. Some individual food items were close to optimally balanced in protein to non-protein energy (e.g. Hedysarum alpinum roots), which may help explain their dietary prevalence. Ants may be consumed particularly as a source of lipids. Overall, our analysis showed that most food available to bears in the study area were high in protein relative to lipid or carbohydrate, suggesting the lack of non-protein energy limits the fitness (e.g. body size and reproduction) and population density

  6. Macronutrient optimization and seasonal diet mixing in a large omnivore, the grizzly bear: a geometric analysis.

    PubMed

    Coogan, Sean C P; Raubenheimer, David; Stenhouse, Gordon B; Nielsen, Scott E

    2014-01-01

    Nutrient balance is a strong determinant of animal fitness and demography. It is therefore important to understand how the compositions of available foods relate to required balance of nutrients and habitat suitability for animals in the wild. These relationships are, however, complex, particularly for omnivores that often need to compose balanced diets by combining their intake from diverse nutritionally complementary foods. Here we apply geometric models to understand how the nutritional compositions of foods available to an omnivorous member of the order Carnivora, the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos L.), relate to optimal macronutrient intake, and assess the seasonal nutritional constraints on the study population in west-central Alberta, Canada. The models examined the proportion of macronutrients that bears could consume by mixing their diet from food available in each season, and assessed the extent to which bears could consume the ratio of protein to non-protein energy previously demonstrated using captive bears to optimize mass gain. We found that non-selective feeding on ungulate carcasses provided a non-optimal macronutrient balance with surplus protein relative to fat and carbohydrate, reflecting adaptation to an omnivorous lifestyle, and that optimization through feeding selectively on different tissues of ungulate carcasses is unlikely. Bears were, however, able to dilute protein intake to an optimal ratio by mixing their otherwise high-protein diet with carbohydrate-rich fruit. Some individual food items were close to optimally balanced in protein to non-protein energy (e.g. Hedysarum alpinum roots), which may help explain their dietary prevalence. Ants may be consumed particularly as a source of lipids. Overall, our analysis showed that most food available to bears in the study area were high in protein relative to lipid or carbohydrate, suggesting the lack of non-protein energy limits the fitness (e.g. body size and reproduction) and population density

  7. Spatial patterns of breeding success of grizzly bears derived from hierarchical multistate models.

    PubMed

    Fisher, Jason T; Wheatley, Matthew; Mackenzie, Darryl

    2014-10-01

    Conservation programs often manage populations indirectly through the landscapes in which they live. Empirically, linking reproductive success with landscape structure and anthropogenic change is a first step in understanding and managing the spatial mechanisms that affect reproduction, but this link is not sufficiently informed by data. Hierarchical multistate occupancy models can forge these links by estimating spatial patterns of reproductive success across landscapes. To illustrate, we surveyed the occurrence of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Canadian Rocky Mountains Alberta, Canada. We deployed camera traps for 6 weeks at 54 surveys sites in different types of land cover. We used hierarchical multistate occupancy models to estimate probability of detection, grizzly bear occupancy, and probability of reproductive success at each site. Grizzly bear occupancy varied among cover types and was greater in herbaceous alpine ecotones than in low-elevation wetlands or mid-elevation conifer forests. The conditional probability of reproductive success given grizzly bear occupancy was 30% (SE = 0.14). Grizzly bears with cubs had a higher probability of detection than grizzly bears without cubs, but sites were correctly classified as being occupied by breeding females 49% of the time based on raw data and thus would have been underestimated by half. Repeated surveys and multistate modeling reduced the probability of misclassifying sites occupied by breeders as unoccupied to <2%. The probability of breeding grizzly bear occupancy varied across the landscape. Those patches with highest probabilities of breeding occupancy-herbaceous alpine ecotones-were small and highly dispersed and are projected to shrink as treelines advance due to climate warming. Understanding spatial correlates in breeding distribution is a key requirement for species conservation in the face of climate change and can help identify priorities for landscape management and protection. PMID:24762089

  8. Inter-annual variation in the foraging ecology of a brown bear population in southwest Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stricker, C. A.; Kovach, S. D.; Collins, G. H.; Farley, S. D.; Rye, R. O.; Hinkes, M. T.

    2010-12-01

    Brown bear (Ursus arctos) population size correlates with density of high-quality food resources. We report on a ten-year study (1993 - 2003) of brown bear nutritional ecology in southwestern Alaska during which changes in resource availability and density occurred. The diets of 21 female bears captured multiple years were characterized by stable isotope analysis (δ13C, δ15N, and δ34S) of guard hairs and putative diet items, followed by application of a Bayesian mixing model to derive assimilated diet estimates. Diet estimates were subsequently used to characterize individual-level resource specialization. Over the entire study period, salmon accounted for the highest proportion of bear diets (42.1%), followed by berries (24.5%), mammals (13.5%), freshwater fish (11.2%), and other plant matter (8.7%). The average salmon contribution to bear diets declined significantly from 48% to 34% following a precipitous reduction in salmon escapement mid-way through the study, after which the bear population shifted toward a more generalist diet. However, evaluation of individual animals recaptured multiple times during the study revealed variation in inter-annual dietary habits unrelated to the salmon crash. Individual variation presumably reflects local density changes in a variety of resources, with concomitant annual shifts in the degree of individual specialization. We also relate these patterns to other individual traits, such as reproductive status, home range, and habitat use to better constrain foraging habits. This study provides unique insights into the nutritional ecology of Alaskan brown bears and complements traditional wildlife studies by offering important covariates to better understand changes in population vital rates.

  9. Moose, caribou, and grizzly bear distribution in relation to road traffic in Denali National Park, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Yost, A.C.; Wright, R.G.

    2001-01-01

    Park managers are concerned that moose (Alces alces), caribou (Rangifer tarandus), and grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) may be avoiding areas along the 130 km road through Denali National Park as a result of high traffic volume, thus decreasing opportunities for visitors to view wildlife. A wildlife monitoring system was developed in 1996 that used 19 landscape level viewsheds, stratified into four sections based on decreasing traffic along the road corridor. Data were collected from 22 samplings of all viewsheds during May-August in 1996 and 1997. In 1997, nine backcountry viewsheds were established in three different areas to determine whether density estimates for each species in the backcountry were higher than those for the same animals in similar road-corridor areas. Densities higher than those in the road corridor were found in one backcountry area for moose and in two backcountry areas for grizzly bears. None of the backcountry areas showed a higher density of caribou. We tested hypotheses that moose, caribou, and grizzly bear distributions were unrelated to the road and traffic. Moose sightings were lower than expected within 300 m of the road. More caribou and grizzly bears than expected occurred between 601 and 900 m from the road, while more moose and fewer caribou than expected occurred between 900 and 1200 m from the road. Bull moose in stratum 1 were distributed farther from the road than bulls and cows in stratum 4; cows in stratum 1 and bulls in stratum 2 were distributed farther from the road than cows in stratum 4. Grizzly bears in stratum 2 were distributed farther from the road than bears in stratum 3. The distribution of moose sightings suggests traffic avoidance, but the spatial pattern of preferred forage may have had more of an influence. Caribou and grizzly bear distributions indicated no pattern of traffic avoidance.

  10. Use of isotopic sulfur to determine whitebark pine consumption by Yellowstone bears: a reassessment

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schwartz, Charles C.; Teisberg, Justin E.; Fortin, Jennifer K.; Haroldson, Mark A.; Servheen, Christopher; Robbins, Charles T.; van Manen, Frank T.

    2014-01-01

    Use of naturally occurring stable isotopes to estimate assimilated diet of bears is one of the single greatest breakthroughs in nutritional ecology during the past 20 years. Previous research in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), USA, established a positive relationship between the stable isotope of sulfur (δ34S) and consumption of whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) seeds. That work combined a limited sample of hair, blood clots, and serum. Here we use a much larger sample to reassess those findings. We contrasted δ34S values in spring hair and serum with abundance of seeds of whitebark pine in samples collected from grizzly (Ursus arctos) and American black bears (U. americanus) in the GYE during 2000–2010. Although we found a positive relationship between δ34S values in spring hair and pine seed abundance for grizzly bears, the coefficients of determination were small (R2 ≤ 0.097); we failed to find a similar relationship with black bears. Values of δ34S in spring hair were larger in black bears and δ34S values in serum of grizzly bears were lowest in September and October, a time when we expect δ34S to peak if whitebark pine seeds were the sole source of high δ34S. The relationship between δ34S in bear tissue and the consumption of whitebark pine seeds, as originally reported, may not be as clean a method as proposed. Data we present here suggest other foods have high values of δ34S, and there is spatial heterogeneity affecting the δ34S values in whitebark pine, which must be addressed.

  11. Sustainable grizzly bear mortality calculated from counts of females with cubs-of-the-year: An evaluation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, David J.

    1997-01-01

    Unduplicated counts of female grizzly bears Ursus arctos horribilis with cubs-of-the-year are currently used to estimate minimum population sizes used, in turn, to calculate allowable (assumed to equal sustainable) mortality for grizzly bear populations in the contiguous United States of America. This calculation assumes that unduplicated counts are an unbiased and accurate indicator of population size and that the ratios of minimum population size and known mortality to their respective totals are equal. Neither of these assumptions can be directly tested. However in this paper I use data from the Yellowstone ecosystem, 1977–1990, to evaluate two directly related but alternate hypotheses: (1) annual variation in unduplicated counts is explained by factors extraneous to the number of adult females in the population (i.e. search effort and sightability of females with cubs); and (2) there is >10% risk of allowing unsustainable mortality (actual mortality rate >6%) given a plausible, uniform range of population and mortality ratios. My results are consistent with accepting both of these hypotheses. I therefore concluded that unduplicated counts varied without a known relationship to population size and that, by normal standards, the method currently adopted for management of grizzly bear populations in the contiguous United States was not a conservative basis for calculating maximum allowable mortality. I suggest that using lower mortality rates and conservative bounds of confidence limits for the estimated parameters used in calculations of allowable mortality could substantially reduce the risk of unintentionally allowing excessive mortality.

  12. Home Range Size Variation in Female Arctic Grizzly Bears Relative to Reproductive Status and Resource Availability

    PubMed Central

    Edwards, Mark A.; Derocher, Andrew E.; Nagy, John A.

    2013-01-01

    The area traversed in pursuit of resources defines the size of an animal’s home range. For females, the home range is presumed to be a function of forage availability. However, the presence of offspring may also influence home range size due to reduced mobility, increased nutritional need, and behavioral adaptations of mothers to increase offspring survival. Here, we examine the relationship between resource use and variation in home range size for female barren-ground grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) of the Mackenzie Delta region in Arctic Canada. We develop methods to test hypotheses of home range size that address selection of cover where cover heterogeneity is low, using generalized linear mixed-effects models and an information-theoretic approach. We found that the reproductive status of female grizzlies affected home range size but individually-based spatial availability of highly selected cover in spring and early summer was a stronger correlate. If these preferred covers in spring and early summer, a period of low resource availability for grizzly bears following den-emergence, were patchy and highly dispersed, females travelled farther regardless of the presence or absence of offspring. Increased movement to preferred covers, however, may result in greater risk to the individual or family. PMID:23844162

  13. Home range size variation in female arctic grizzly bears relative to reproductive status and resource availability.

    PubMed

    Edwards, Mark A; Derocher, Andrew E; Nagy, John A

    2013-01-01

    The area traversed in pursuit of resources defines the size of an animal's home range. For females, the home range is presumed to be a function of forage availability. However, the presence of offspring may also influence home range size due to reduced mobility, increased nutritional need, and behavioral adaptations of mothers to increase offspring survival. Here, we examine the relationship between resource use and variation in home range size for female barren-ground grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) of the Mackenzie Delta region in Arctic Canada. We develop methods to test hypotheses of home range size that address selection of cover where cover heterogeneity is low, using generalized linear mixed-effects models and an information-theoretic approach. We found that the reproductive status of female grizzlies affected home range size but individually-based spatial availability of highly selected cover in spring and early summer was a stronger correlate. If these preferred covers in spring and early summer, a period of low resource availability for grizzly bears following den-emergence, were patchy and highly dispersed, females travelled farther regardless of the presence or absence of offspring. Increased movement to preferred covers, however, may result in greater risk to the individual or family. PMID:23844162

  14. Validity of the bear tapeworm Diphyllobothrium ursi (Cestoda: Diphyllobothriidae) based on morphological and molecular markers.

    PubMed

    Yamasaki, Hiroshi; Muto, Maki; Yamada, Minoru; Arizono, Naoki; Rausch, Robert L

    2012-12-01

    The bear tapeworm Diphyllobothrium ursi is described based upon the morphology of adult tapeworms recovered from the brown bear (Ursus arctos middendorffi) and larval plerocercoids found in sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) from Kodiak Island in Alaska in 1952. However, in 1987 D. ursi was synonymized with Diphyllobothrium dendriticum, and the taxonomic relationship between both species has not subsequently been revised. In this study mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 gene (cox1) sequences of holotype and paratype D. ursi specimens that had been preserved in a formalin-acetic acid-alcohol solution since the time the species was initially described approximately 60 yr ago were analyzed. Molecular and phylogenetic analysis of the cox1 sequences revealed that D. ursi is more closely related to D. dendriticum than it is to Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense and Diphyllobothrium latum. In addition to molecular evidence, differences in the life cycle and ecology of the larval plerocercoids between D. ursi and D. dendriticum also suggest that D. ursi is a distinct species, separate from D. dendriticum and D. nihonkaiense, and also possibly from D. latum . PMID:22663179

  15. Size selectivity of predation by brown bears depends on the density of their sockeye salmon prey.

    PubMed

    Cunningham, Curry J; Ruggerone, Gregory T; Quinn, Thomas P

    2013-05-01

    Can variation in prey density drive changes in the intensity or direction of selective predation in natural systems? Despite ample evidence of density-dependent selection, the influence of prey density on predatory selection patterns has seldom been investigated empirically. We used 20 years of field data on brown bears (Ursus arctos) foraging on sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in Alaska, to test the hypothesis that salmon density affects the strength of size-selective predation. Measurements from 41,240 individual salmon were used to calculate variance-standardized selection differentials describing the direction and magnitude of selection. Across the time series, the intensity of predatory selection was inversely correlated with salmon density; greater selection for smaller salmon occurred at low salmon densities as bears' tendency to kill larger-than-average salmon was magnified. This novel connection between density dependence and selective predation runs contrary to some aspects of optimal foraging theory and differs from many observations of density-dependent selection because (1) the direction of selection remains constant while its magnitude changes as a function of density and (2) stronger selection is observed at low abundance. These findings indicate that sockeye salmon may be subject to fishery-induced size selection from both direct mechanisms and latent effects of altered predatory selection patterns on the spawning grounds, resulting from reduced salmon abundance. PMID:23594549

  16. Conflict Misleads Large Carnivore Management and Conservation: Brown Bears and Wolves in Spain.

    PubMed

    Fernández-Gil, Alberto; Naves, Javier; Ordiz, Andrés; Quevedo, Mario; Revilla, Eloy; Delibes, Miguel

    2016-01-01

    Large carnivores inhabiting human-dominated landscapes often interact with people and their properties, leading to conflict scenarios that can mislead carnivore management and, ultimately, jeopardize conservation. In northwest Spain, brown bears Ursus arctos are strictly protected, whereas sympatric wolves Canis lupus are subject to lethal control. We explored ecological, economic and societal components of conflict scenarios involving large carnivores and damages to human properties. We analyzed the relation between complaints of depredations by bears and wolves on beehives and livestock, respectively, and bear and wolf abundance, livestock heads, number of culled wolves, amount of paid compensations, and media coverage. We also evaluated the efficiency of wolf culling to reduce depredations on livestock. Bear damages to beehives correlated positively to the number of female bears with cubs of the year. Complaints of wolf predation on livestock were unrelated to livestock numbers; instead, they correlated positively to the number of wild ungulates harvested during the previous season, the number of wolf packs, and to wolves culled during the previous season. Compensations for wolf complaints were fivefold higher than for bears, but media coverage of wolf damages was thirtyfold higher. Media coverage of wolf damages was unrelated to the actual costs of wolf damages, but the amount of news correlated positively to wolf culling. However, wolf culling was followed by an increase in compensated damages. Our results show that culling of the wolf population failed in its goal of reducing damages, and suggest that management decisions are at least partly mediated by press coverage. We suggest that our results provide insight to similar scenarios, where several species of large carnivores share the landscape with humans, and management may be reactive to perceived conflicts. PMID:26974962

  17. Conflict Misleads Large Carnivore Management and Conservation: Brown Bears and Wolves in Spain

    PubMed Central

    Fernández-Gil, Alberto; Naves, Javier; Ordiz, Andrés; Quevedo, Mario; Revilla, Eloy; Delibes, Miguel

    2016-01-01

    Large carnivores inhabiting human-dominated landscapes often interact with people and their properties, leading to conflict scenarios that can mislead carnivore management and, ultimately, jeopardize conservation. In northwest Spain, brown bears Ursus arctos are strictly protected, whereas sympatric wolves Canis lupus are subject to lethal control. We explored ecological, economic and societal components of conflict scenarios involving large carnivores and damages to human properties. We analyzed the relation between complaints of depredations by bears and wolves on beehives and livestock, respectively, and bear and wolf abundance, livestock heads, number of culled wolves, amount of paid compensations, and media coverage. We also evaluated the efficiency of wolf culling to reduce depredations on livestock. Bear damages to beehives correlated positively to the number of female bears with cubs of the year. Complaints of wolf predation on livestock were unrelated to livestock numbers; instead, they correlated positively to the number of wild ungulates harvested during the previous season, the number of wolf packs, and to wolves culled during the previous season. Compensations for wolf complaints were fivefold higher than for bears, but media coverage of wolf damages was thirtyfold higher. Media coverage of wolf damages was unrelated to the actual costs of wolf damages, but the amount of news correlated positively to wolf culling. However, wolf culling was followed by an increase in compensated damages. Our results show that culling of the wolf population failed in its goal of reducing damages, and suggest that management decisions are at least partly mediated by press coverage. We suggest that our results provide insight to similar scenarios, where several species of large carnivores share the landscape with humans, and management may be reactive to perceived conflicts. PMID:26974962

  18. Linking landscape characteristics to local grizzly bear abundance using multiple detection methods in a hierarchical model

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Graves, T.A.; Kendall, K.C.; Royle, J. Andrew; Stetz, J.B.; Macleod, A.C.

    2011-01-01

    Few studies link habitat to grizzly bear Ursus arctos abundance and these have not accounted for the variation in detection or spatial autocorrelation. We collected and genotyped bear hair in and around Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana during the summer of 2000. We developed a hierarchical Markov chain Monte Carlo model that extends the existing occupancy and count models by accounting for (1) spatially explicit variables that we hypothesized might influence abundance; (2) separate sub-models of detection probability for two distinct sampling methods (hair traps and rub trees) targeting different segments of the population; (3) covariates to explain variation in each sub-model of detection; (4) a conditional autoregressive term to account for spatial autocorrelation; (5) weights to identify most important variables. Road density and per cent mesic habitat best explained variation in female grizzly bear abundance; spatial autocorrelation was not supported. More female bears were predicted in places with lower road density and with more mesic habitat. Detection rates of females increased with rub tree sampling effort. Road density best explained variation in male grizzly bear abundance and spatial autocorrelation was supported. More male bears were predicted in areas of low road density. Detection rates of males increased with rub tree and hair trap sampling effort and decreased over the sampling period. We provide a new method to (1) incorporate multiple detection methods into hierarchical models of abundance; (2) determine whether spatial autocorrelation should be included in final models. Our results suggest that the influence of landscape variables is consistent between habitat selection and abundance in this system. ?? 2011 The Authors. Animal Conservation ?? 2011 The Zoological Society of London.

  19. Carnivore re-colonisation: Reality, possibility and a non-equilibrium century for grizzly bears in the southern Yellowstone ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pyare, Sanjay; Cain, S.; Moody, D.; Schwartz, C.; Berger, J.

    2004-01-01

    Most large native carnivores have experienced range contractions due to conflicts with humans, although neither rates of spatial collapse nor expansion have been well characterised. In North America, the grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) once ranged from Mexico northward to Alaska, however its range in the continental USA has been reduced by 95-98%. Under the U. S. Endangered Species Act, the Yellowstone grizzly bear population has re-colonised habitats outside Yellowstone National Park. We analysed historical and current records, including data on radio-collared bears, (1) to evaluate changes in grizzly bear distribution in the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) over a 100-year period, (2) to utilise historical rates of re-colonisation to project future expansion trends and (3) to evaluate the reality of future expansion based on human limitations and land use. Analysis of distribution in 20-year increments reflects range reduction from south to north (1900-1940) and expansion to the south (1940-2000). Expansion was exponential and the area occupied by grizzly bears doubled approximately every 20 years. A complementary analysis of bear occurrence in Grand Teton National Park also suggests an unprecedented period of rapid expansion during the last 20-30 years. The grizzly bear population currently has re-occupied about 50% of the southern GYE. Based on assumptions of continued protection and ecological stasis, our model suggests total occupancy in 25 years. Alternatively, extrapolation of linear expansion rates from the period prior to protection suggests total occupancy could take > 100 years. Analyses of historical trends can be useful as a restoration tool because they enable a framework and timeline to be constructed to pre-emptively address the social challenges affecting future carnivore recovery. ?? 2004 The Zoological Society of London.

  20. Contrasting past and current numbers of bears visiting Yellowstone cutthroat trout streams

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Haroldson, Mark A.; Schwartz, Charles C.; , JUSTIN E. TEISBERG; , Kerry A. Gunther; , JENNIFER K. FORTIN; , CHARLES T. ROBBINS

    2014-01-01

    Spawning cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarkii bouvieri) were historically abundant within tributary streams of Yellowstone Lake within Yellowstone National Park and were a highly digestible source of energy and protein for Yellowstone’s grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and black bears (U. americanus). The cutthroat trout population has subsequently declined since the introduction of non-native lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), and in response to effects of drought and whirling disease (Myxobolus cerebralis). The trout population, duration of spawning runs, and indices of bear use of spawning streams had declined in some regions of the lake by 1997–2000. We initiated a 3-year study in 2007 to assess whether numbers of spawning fish, black bears, and grizzly bears within and alongside stream corridors had changed since 1997– 2000. We estimated numbers of grizzly bears and black bears by first compiling encounter histories of individual bears visiting 48 hair-snag sites along 35 historically fished streams.We analyzed DNA encounter histories with Pradel-recruitment and Jolly-Seber (POPAN) capture-mark-recapture models. When compared to 1997–2000, the current number of spawning cutthroat trout per stream and the number of streams with cutthroat trout has decreased. We estimated that 48 (95% CI¼42–56) male and 23 (95% CI¼21–27) female grizzly bears visited the historically fished tributary streams during our study. In any 1- year, 46 to 59 independent grizzly bears (8–10% of estimated Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem population) visited these streams. When compared with estimates from the 1997 to 2000 study and adjusted for equal effort, the number of grizzly bears using the stream corridors decreased by 63%. Additionally, the number of black bears decreased between 64% and 84%. We also document an increased proportion of bears of both species visiting front-country (i.e., near human development) streams. With the recovery of cutthroat trout, we suggest bears

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

    PubMed Central

    Sahlén, Veronica; Friebe, Andrea; Sæbø, Solve; Swenson, Jon E; Støen, Ole-Gunnar

    2015-01-01

    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

  2. Assessing Nutritional Parameters of Brown Bear Diets among Ecosystems Gives Insight into Differences among Populations.

    PubMed

    López-Alfaro, Claudia; Coogan, Sean C P; Robbins, Charles T; Fortin, Jennifer K; Nielsen, Scott E

    2015-01-01

    Food habit studies are among the first steps used to understand wildlife-habitat relationships. However, these studies are in themselves insufficient to understand differences in population productivity and life histories, because they do not provide a direct measure of the energetic value or nutritional composition of the complete diet. Here, we developed a dynamic model integrating food habits and nutritional information to assess nutritional parameters of brown bear (Ursus arctos) diets among three interior ecosystems of North America. Specifically, we estimate the average amount of digestible energy and protein (per kilogram fresh diet) content in the diet and across the active season by bears living in western Alberta, the Flathead River (FR) drainage of southeast British Columbia, and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). As well, we estimate the proportion of energy and protein in the diet contributed by different food items, thereby highlighting important food resources in each ecosystem. Bear diets in Alberta had the lowest levels of digestible protein and energy through all seasons, which might help explain the low reproductive rates of this population. The FR diet had protein levels similar to the recent male diet in the GYE during spring, but energy levels were lower during late summer and fall. Historic and recent diets in GYE had the most energy and protein, which is consistent with their larger body sizes and higher population productivity. However, a recent decrease in consumption of trout (Oncorhynchus clarki), whitebark pine nuts (Pinus albicaulis), and ungulates, particularly elk (Cervus elaphus), in GYE bears has decreased the energy and protein content of their diet. The patterns observed suggest that bear body size and population densities are influenced by seasonal availability of protein an energy, likely due in part to nutritional influences on mass gain and reproductive success. PMID:26083536

  3. Assessing Nutritional Parameters of Brown Bear Diets among Ecosystems Gives Insight into Differences among Populations

    PubMed Central

    López-Alfaro, Claudia; Coogan, Sean C. P.; Robbins, Charles T.; Fortin, Jennifer K.; Nielsen, Scott E.

    2015-01-01

    Food habit studies are among the first steps used to understand wildlife-habitat relationships. However, these studies are in themselves insufficient to understand differences in population productivity and life histories, because they do not provide a direct measure of the energetic value or nutritional composition of the complete diet. Here, we developed a dynamic model integrating food habits and nutritional information to assess nutritional parameters of brown bear (Ursus arctos) diets among three interior ecosystems of North America. Specifically, we estimate the average amount of digestible energy and protein (per kilogram fresh diet) content in the diet and across the active season by bears living in western Alberta, the Flathead River (FR) drainage of southeast British Columbia, and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE). As well, we estimate the proportion of energy and protein in the diet contributed by different food items, thereby highlighting important food resources in each ecosystem. Bear diets in Alberta had the lowest levels of digestible protein and energy through all seasons, which might help explain the low reproductive rates of this population. The FR diet had protein levels similar to the recent male diet in the GYE during spring, but energy levels were lower during late summer and fall. Historic and recent diets in GYE had the most energy and protein, which is consistent with their larger body sizes and higher population productivity. However, a recent decrease in consumption of trout (Oncorhynchus clarki), whitebark pine nuts (Pinus albicaulis), and ungulates, particularly elk (Cervus elaphus), in GYE bears has decreased the energy and protein content of their diet. The patterns observed suggest that bear body size and population densities are influenced by seasonal availability of protein an energy, likely due in part to nutritional influences on mass gain and reproductive success. PMID:26083536

  4. Detecting grizzly bear use of ungulate carcasses using global positioning system telemetry and activity data.

    PubMed

    Ebinger, Michael R; Haroldson, Mark A; van Manen, Frank T; Costello, Cecily M; Bjornlie, Daniel D; Thompson, Daniel J; Gunther, Kerry A; Fortin, Jennifer K; Teisberg, Justin E; Pils, Shannon R; White, P J; Cain, Steven L; Cross, Paul C

    2016-07-01

    Global positioning system (GPS) wildlife collars have revolutionized wildlife research. Studies of predation by free-ranging carnivores have particularly benefited from the application of location clustering algorithms to determine when and where predation events occur. These studies have changed our understanding of large carnivore behavior, but the gains have concentrated on obligate carnivores. Facultative carnivores, such as grizzly/brown bears (Ursus arctos), exhibit a variety of behaviors that can lead to the formation of GPS clusters. We combined clustering techniques with field site investigations of grizzly bear GPS locations (n = 732 site investigations; 2004-2011) to produce 174 GPS clusters where documented behavior was partitioned into five classes (large-biomass carcass, small-biomass carcass, old carcass, non-carcass activity, and resting). We used multinomial logistic regression to predict the probability of clusters belonging to each class. Two cross-validation methods-leaving out individual clusters, or leaving out individual bears-showed that correct prediction of bear visitation to large-biomass carcasses was 78-88 %, whereas the false-positive rate was 18-24 %. As a case study, we applied our predictive model to a GPS data set of 266 bear-years in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (2002-2011) and examined trends in carcass visitation during fall hyperphagia (September-October). We identified 1997 spatial GPS clusters, of which 347 were predicted to be large-biomass carcasses. We used the clustered data to develop a carcass visitation index, which varied annually, but more than doubled during the study period. Our study demonstrates the effectiveness and utility of identifying GPS clusters associated with carcass visitation by a facultative carnivore. PMID:26971522

  5. Trophic cascades from wolves to grizzly bears in Yellowstone.

    PubMed

    Ripple, William J; Beschta, Robert L; Fortin, Jennifer K; Robbins, Charles T

    2014-01-01

    We explored multiple linkages among grey wolves (Canis lupus), elk (Cervus elaphus), berry-producing shrubs and grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in Yellowstone National Park. We hypothesized competition between elk and grizzly bears whereby, in the absence of wolves, increases in elk numbers would increase browsing on berry-producing shrubs and decrease fruit availability to grizzly bears. After wolves were reintroduced and with a reduced elk population, we hypothesized there would be an increase in the establishment of berry-producing shrubs, such as serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia), which is a major berry-producing plant. We also hypothesized that the percentage fruit in the grizzly bear diet would be greater after than before wolf reintroduction. We compared the frequency of fruit in grizzly bear scats to elk densities prior to wolf reintroduction during a time of increasing elk densities (1968-1987). For a period after wolf reintroduction, we calculated the percentage fruit in grizzly bear scat by month based on scats collected in 2007-2009 (n = 778 scats) and compared these results to scat data collected before wolf reintroduction. Additionally, we developed an age structure for serviceberry showing the origination year of stems in a northern range study area. We found that over a 19-year period, the percentage frequency of fruit in the grizzly diet (6231 scats) was inversely correlated (P < 0·001) with elk population size. The average percentage fruit in grizzly bear scats was higher after wolf reintroduction in July (0·3% vs. 5·9%) and August (7·8% vs. 14·6%) than before. All measured serviceberry stems accessible to ungulates originated since wolf reintroduction, while protected serviceberry growing in a nearby ungulate exclosure originated both before and after wolf reintroduction. Moreover, in recent years, browsing of serviceberry outside of the exclosure decreased while their heights increased. Overall, these results are consistent with a trophic

  6. A “clearcut” case? Brown bear selection of coarse woody debris and carpenter ants on clearcuts

    PubMed Central

    Frank, Shane C.; Steyaert, Sam M.J.G.; Swenson, Jon E.; Storch, Ilse; Kindberg, Jonas; Barck, Hanna; Zedrosser, Andreas

    2015-01-01

    Forest management alters habitat characteristics, resulting in various effects among and within species. It is crucial to understand how habitat alteration through forest management (e.g. clearcutting) affects animal populations, particularly with unknown future conditions (e.g. climate change). In Sweden, brown bears (Ursus arctos) forage on carpenter ants (Camponotus herculeanus) during summer, and may select for this food source within clearcuts. To assess carpenter ant occurrence and brown bear selection of carpenter ants, we sampled 6999 coarse woody debris (CWD) items within 1019 plots, of which 902 were within clearcuts (forests ⩽30 years of age) and 117 plots outside clearcuts (forests >30 years of age). We related various CWD and site characteristics to the presence or absence of carpenter ant galleries (nests) and bear foraging sign at three spatial scales: the CWD, plot, and clearcut scale. We tested whether both absolute and relative counts (the latter controlling for the number of CWD items) of galleries and bear sign in plots were higher inside or outside clearcuts. Absolute counts were higher inside than outside clearcuts for galleries (mean counts; inside: 1.8, outside: 0.8). CWD was also higher inside (mean: 6.8) than outside clearcuts (mean: 4.0). However, even after controlling for more CWD inside clearcuts, relative counts were higher inside than outside clearcuts for both galleries (mean counts; inside: 0.3, outside: 0.2) and bear sign (mean counts; inside: 0.03, outside: 0.01). Variables at the CWD scale best explained gallery and bear sign presence than variables at the plot or clearcut level, but bear selection was influenced by clearcut age. CWD circumference was important for both carpenter ant and bear sign presence. CWD hardness was most important for carpenter ant selection. However, the most important predictor for bear sign was the presence or absence of carpenter ant galleries. Bears had a high foraging “success” rate (⩾88

  7. Morphological variability and molecular identification of Uncinaria spp. (Nematoda: Ancylostomatidae) from grizzly and black bears: new species or phenotypic plasticity?

    PubMed

    Catalano, Stefano; Lejeune, Manigandan; van Paridon, Bradley; Pagan, Christopher A; Wasmuth, James D; Tizzani, Paolo; Duignan, Pádraig J; Nadler, Steven A

    2015-04-01

    The hookworms Uncinaria rauschi Olsen, 1968 and Uncinaria yukonensis ( Wolfgang, 1956 ) were formally described from grizzly ( Ursus arctos horribilis) and black bears ( Ursus americanus ) of North America. We analyzed the intestinal tracts of 4 grizzly and 9 black bears from Alberta and British Columbia, Canada and isolated Uncinaria specimens with anatomical traits never previously documented. We applied morphological and molecular techniques to investigate the taxonomy and phylogeny of these Uncinaria parasites. The morphological analysis supported polymorphism at the vulvar region for females of both U. rauschi and U. yukonensis. The hypothesis of morphological plasticity for U. rauschi and U. yukonensis was confirmed by genetic analysis of the internal transcribed spacers (ITS-1 and ITS-2) of the nuclear ribosomal DNA. Two distinct genotypes were identified, differing at 5 fixed sites for ITS-1 (432 base pairs [bp]) and 7 for ITS-2 (274 bp). Morphometric data for U. rauschi revealed host-related size differences: adult U. rauschi were significantly larger in black bears than in grizzly bears. Interpretation of these results, considering the historical biogeography of North American bears, suggests a relatively recent host-switching event of U. rauschi from black bears to grizzly bears which likely occurred after the end of the Wisconsin glaciation. Phylogenetic maximum parsimony (MP) and maximum likelihood (ML) analyses of the concatenated ITS-1 and ITS-2 datasets strongly supported monophyly of U. rauschi and U. yukonensis and their close relationship with Uncinaria stenocephala (Railliet, 1884), the latter a parasite primarily of canids and felids. Relationships among species within this group, although resolved by ML, were unsupported by MP and bootstrap resampling. The clade of U. rauschi, U. yukonensis, and U. stenocephala was recovered as sister to the clade represented by Uncinaria spp. from otariid pinnipeds. These results support the absence of strict

  8. Grizzly bear

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schwartz, C.C.; Miller, S.D.; Haroldson, M.A.

    2003-01-01

    The grizzly bear inspires fear, awe, and respect in humans to a degree unmatched by any other North American wild mammal. Like other bear species, it can inflict serious injury and death on humans and sometimes does. Unlike the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) of the sparsely inhabited northern arctic, however, grizzly bears still live in areas visited by crowds of people, where presence of the grizzly remains physically real and emotionally dominant. A hike in the wilderness that includes grizzly bears is different from a stroll in a forest from which grizzly bears have been purged; nighttime conversations around the campfire and dreams in the tent reflect the presence of the great bear. Contributing to the aura of the grizzly bear is the mixture of myth and reality about its ferocity. unpredictable disposition, large size, strength, huge canines, long claws, keen senses, swiftness, and playfulness. They share characteristics with humans such as generalist life history strategies. extended periods of maternal care, and omnivorous diets. These factors capture the human imagination in ways distinct from other North American mammals. Precontact Native American legends reflected the same fascination with the grizzly bear as modern stories and legends (Rockwell 1991).

  9. Factors leading to different viability predictions for a grizzly bear data set

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mills, L.S.; Hayes, S.G.; Wisdom, M.J.; Citta, J.; Mattson, D.J.; Murphy, K.

    1996-01-01

    Population viability analysis programs are being used increasingly in research and management applications, but there has not been a systematic study of the congruence of different program predictions based on a single data set. We performed such an analysis using four population viability analysis computer programs: GAPPS, INMAT, RAMAS/AGE, and VORTEX. The standardized demographic rates used in all programs were generalized from hypothetical increasing and decreasing grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) populations. Idiosyncracies of input format for each program led to minor differences in intrinsic growth rates that translated into striking differences in estimates of extinction rates and expected population size. In contrast, the addition of demographic stochasticity, environmental stochasticity, and inbreeding costs caused only a small divergence in viability predictions. But, the addition of density dependence caused large deviations between the programs despite our best attempts to use the same density-dependent functions. Population viability programs differ in how density dependence is incorporated, and the necessary functions are difficult to parameterize accurately. Thus, we recommend that unless data clearly suggest a particular density-dependent model, predictions based on population viability analysis should include at least one scenario without density dependence. Further, we describe output metrics that may differ between programs; development of future software could benefit from standardized input and output formats across different programs.

  10. Estimating numbers of females with cubs-of-the-year in the Yellowstone grizzly bear population

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Keating, K.A.; Schwartz, C.C.; Haroldson, M.A.; Moody, D.

    2001-01-01

    For grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE), minimum population size and allowable numbers of human-caused mortalities have been calculated as a function of the number of unique females with cubs-of-the-year (FCUB) seen during a 3- year period. This approach underestimates the total number of FCUB, thereby biasing estimates of population size and sustainable mortality. Also, it does not permit calculation of valid confidence bounds. Many statistical methods can resolve or mitigate these problems, but there is no universal best method. Instead, relative performances of different methods can vary with population size, sample size, and degree of heterogeneity among sighting probabilities for individual animals. We compared 7 nonparametric estimators, using Monte Carlo techniques to assess performances over the range of sampling conditions deemed plausible for the Yellowstone population. Our goal was to estimate the number of FCUB present in the population each year. Our evaluation differed from previous comparisons of such estimators by including sample coverage methods and by treating individual sightings, rather than sample periods, as the sample unit. Consequently, our conclusions also differ from earlier studies. Recommendations regarding estimators and necessary sample sizes are presented, together with estimates of annual numbers of FCUB in the Yellowstone population with bootstrap confidence bounds.

  11. Can hunting data be used to estimate unbiased population parameters? A case study on brown bears.

    PubMed

    Leclerc, Martin; Van de Walle, Joanie; Zedrosser, Andreas; Swenson, Jon E; Pelletier, Fanie

    2016-06-01

    Quantifying temporal changes in harvested populations is critical for applied and fundamental research. Unbiased data are required to detect true changes in phenotypic distribution or population size. Because of the difficulty of collecting detailed individual data from wild populations, data from hunting records are often used. Hunting records, however, may not represent a random sample of a population. We aimed to detect and quantify potential bias in hunting records. We compared data from a long-term monitoring project with hunting records of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Sweden and investigated temporal trends (1996-2013) in the ratio of yearlings to adult females, yearling mass and adult female mass. Data from hunting records underestimated the decline in yearling and adult female mass over time, most likely owing to the legal protection of family groups from hunting, but reflected changes in the ratio of yearlings to adult females more reliably. Although hunting data can be reliable to approximate population abundance in some circumstances, hunting data can represent a biased sample of a population and should be used with caution in management and conservation decisions. PMID:27303052

  12. Can hunting data be used to estimate unbiased population parameters? A case study on brown bears

    PubMed Central

    Van de Walle, Joanie; Zedrosser, Andreas; Swenson, Jon E.; Pelletier, Fanie

    2016-01-01

    Quantifying temporal changes in harvested populations is critical for applied and fundamental research. Unbiased data are required to detect true changes in phenotypic distribution or population size. Because of the difficulty of collecting detailed individual data from wild populations, data from hunting records are often used. Hunting records, however, may not represent a random sample of a population. We aimed to detect and quantify potential bias in hunting records. We compared data from a long-term monitoring project with hunting records of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Sweden and investigated temporal trends (1996–2013) in the ratio of yearlings to adult females, yearling mass and adult female mass. Data from hunting records underestimated the decline in yearling and adult female mass over time, most likely owing to the legal protection of family groups from hunting, but reflected changes in the ratio of yearlings to adult females more reliably. Although hunting data can be reliable to approximate population abundance in some circumstances, hunting data can represent a biased sample of a population and should be used with caution in management and conservation decisions. PMID:27303052

  13. Can intense predation by bears exert a depensatory effect on recruitment in a Pacific salmon population?

    PubMed

    Quinn, Thomas P; Cunningham, Curry J; Randall, Jessica; Hilborn, Ray

    2014-10-01

    It has long been recognized that, as populations increase in density, ecological processes affecting growth and survival reduce per capita recruitment in the next generation. In contrast to the evidence for such "compensatory" density dependence, the alternative "depensatory" process (reduced per capita recruitment at low density) has proven more difficult to demonstrate in the field. To test for such depensation, we measured the spawner-recruit relationship over five decades for a sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) population in Alaska breeding in high-quality, unaltered habitat. Twenty-five years of detailed estimates of predation by brown bears, Ursus arctos, revealed strong density dependence in predation rate; the bears killed ca. 80% of the salmon in years of low salmon spawning abundance. Nevertheless, the reconstructed spawner-recruit relationship, adjusted to include salmon intercepted in the commercial fishery, provided no evidence of demographic depensation. That is, in years when few salmon returned and the great majority were killed by bears, the few that spawned were successful enough that the population remained highly productive, even when those killed by bears were included as potential spawners. We conclude that the high quality of breeding habitat at this site and the productive nature of semelparous Pacific salmon allowed this population to avoid the hypothesized depressed recruitment from depensatory processes expected at low density. The observed lack of demographic depensation is encouraging from a conservation standpoint because it implies that depleted populations may have the potential to rebound successfully given suitable spawning and rearing habitat, even in the presence of strong predation pressure. PMID:25154755

  14. Grizzly bear management in Yellowstone National Park: The heart of recovery in the Yellowstone Ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schwartz, C.C.; Gunther, K.

    2006-01-01

    Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) management in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) in the past quarter century has resulted in more than doubling of the population from around 200 to more than 500, expansion of range back into habitats where the bear has extirpated more than a century ago, and a move toward removal from the U.S. Endangered Species list. At the center of this success story are the management programs in Yellowstone National Park (YNP). Regulations that restrict human activity, camping, and food storage, elimination of human food and garbage as attractants, and ranger attendance of roadside bears have all resulted in the population of grizzlies in YNP approaching carrying capacity. Recent studies suggest, however, that YNP alone is too small to support the current population, making management beyond the park boundary important and necessary to the demographics of the population as a whole. Demographic analyses suggest a source-sink dynamic exists within the GYE, with YNP and lands outside the park within the Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone (RZ) representing source habitats, whereas lands beyond the RZ constitute sinks. The source-sink demography in the GYE is indicative of carnivore conservation issues worldwide where many national parks or preserves designed to protect out natural resources are inadequate in size or shape to provide all necessary life history requirements for these wide-ranging species. Additionally, wide-ranging behavior and long-distance dispersal seem inherent to large carnivores, so mortality around the edges is virtually inevitable, and conservation in the GYE is inextricably linked to management regimes not only within YNP, but within the GYE as a whole. We discuss those needs here.

  15. Detecting grizzly bear use of ungulate carcasses using global positioning system telemetry and activity data

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ebinger, Michael R.; Haroldson, Mark A.; van Manen, Frank T.; Costello, Cecily M; Bjornlie, Daniel D; Thompson, Daniel J.; Gunther, Kerry A.; Fortin, Jennifer K.; Teisberg, Justin E.; Pils, Shannon R; White, P J; Cain, Steven L; Cross, Paul C.

    2016-01-01

    Global positioning system (GPS) wildlife collars have revolutionized wildlife research. Studies of predation by free-ranging carnivores have particularly benefited from the application of location clustering algorithms to determine when and where predation events occur. These studies have changed our understanding of large carnivore behavior, but the gains have concentrated on obligate carnivores. Facultative carnivores, such as grizzly/brown bears (Ursus arctos), exhibit a variety of behaviors that can lead to the formation of GPS clusters. We combined clustering techniques with field site investigations of grizzly bear GPS locations (n = 732 site investigations; 2004–2011) to produce 174 GPS clusters where documented behavior was partitioned into five classes (large-biomass carcass, small-biomass carcass, old carcass, non-carcass activity, and resting). We used multinomial logistic regression to predict the probability of clusters belonging to each class. Two cross-validation methods—leaving out individual clusters, or leaving out individual bears—showed that correct prediction of bear visitation to large-biomass carcasses was 78–88%, whereas the false-positive rate was 18–24%. As a case study, we applied our predictive model to a GPS data set of 266 bear-years in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (2002–2011) and examined trends in carcass visitation during fall hyperphagia (September–October). We identified 1997 spatial GPS clusters, of which 347 were predicted to be large-biomass carcasses. We used the clustered data to develop a carcass visitation index, which varied annually, but more than doubled during the study period. Our study demonstrates the effectiveness and utility of identifying GPS clusters associated with carcass visitation by a facultative carnivore.

  16. Demography of the Yellowstone grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pease, C.M.; Mattson, D.J.

    1999-01-01

    We undertook a demographic analysis of the Yellowstone grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) to identify critical environmental factors controlling grizzly bear vital rates, and thereby to help evaluate the effectiveness of past management and to identify future conservation issues. We concluded that, within the limits of uncertainty implied by the available data and our methods of data analysis, the size of the Yellowstone grizzly bear population changed little from 1975 to 1995. We found that grizzly bear mortality rates are about double in years when the whitebark pine crop fails than in mast years, and that the population probably declines when the crop fails and increases in mast years. Our model suggests that natural variation in whitebark pine crop size over the last two decades explains more of the perceived fluctuations in Yellowstone grizzly population size than do other variables. Our analysis used demographic data from 202 radio-telemetered bears followed between 1975 and 1992 and accounted for whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) crop failures during 1993-1995. We used a maximum likelihood method to estimate demographic parameters and used the Akaike Information Criteria to judge the significance of various independent variables. We identified no independent variables correlated with grizzly bear fecundity. In order of importance, we found that grizzly bear mortality rates are correlated with season, whitebark pine crop size (mast vs. nonmast year), sex, management-trapping status (never management-trapped vs. management-trapped once or more), and age. The mortality rate of bears that were management-trapped at least once was almost double that of bears that were never management-trapped, implying a source/sink (i.e., never management-trapped/management-trapped) structure. The rate at which bears move between the source and sink, estimated as the management-trapping rate (h), is critical to estimating the finite rate of increase, I>I?. We quantified h by

  17. Possible effects of elk harvest on fall distribution of grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Haroldson, M.A.; Schwartz, C.C.; Cherry, S.; Moody, D.

    2004-01-01

     The tradition of early elk (Cervus elaphus) hunting seasons adjacent to Yellowstone National Park (YNP), USA, provides grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) with ungulate remains left by hunters. We investigated the fall (Aug–Oct) distribution of grizzly bears relative to the boundaries of YNP and the opening of September elk hunting seasons. Based on results from exact tests of conditional independence, we estimated the odds of radiomarked bears being outside YNP during the elk hunt versus before the hunt. Along the northern boundary, bears were 2.40 times more likely to be outside YNP during the hunt in good whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) seed-crop years and 2.72 times more likely in poor seed-crop years. The level of confidence associated with 1-sided confidence intervals with a lower endpoint of 1 was approximately 94% in good seed-crop years and 61% in poor years. Along the southern boundary of YNP, radiomarked bears were 2.32 times more likely to be outside the park during the hunt in good whitebark pine seed-crop years and 4.35 times more likely in poor seed-crop years. The level of confidence associated with 1-sided confidence intervals with a lower endpoint of 1 was approximately 93% in both cases. Increased seasonal bear densities and human presence in early hunt units increases potential for conflicts between bears and hunters. Numbers of reported hunting-related grizzly bear mortalities have increased in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem (GYE) during the last decade, and nearly half of this increase is due to bear deaths occurring in early hunt units during September. Human-caused grizzly bear mortality thresholds established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) have not been exceeded in recent years. This is because agency actions have reduced other sources of human-caused mortalities, and because population parameters that mortality thresholds are based on have increased. Agencies must continue to monitor and manage hunter

  18. Implications of the circumpolar genetic structure of polar bears for their conservation in a rapidly warming Arctic.

    PubMed

    Peacock, Elizabeth; Sonsthagen, Sarah A; Obbard, Martyn E; Boltunov, Andrei; Regehr, Eric V; Ovsyanikov, Nikita; Aars, Jon; Atkinson, Stephen N; Sage, George K; Hope, Andrew G; Zeyl, Eve; Bachmann, Lutz; Ehrich, Dorothee; Scribner, Kim T; Amstrup, Steven C; Belikov, Stanislav; Born, Erik W; Derocher, Andrew E; Stirling, Ian; Taylor, Mitchell K; Wiig, Øystein; Paetkau, David; Talbot, Sandra L

    2015-01-01

    We provide an expansive analysis of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) circumpolar genetic variation during the last two decades of decline in their sea-ice habitat. We sought to evaluate whether their genetic diversity and structure have changed over this period of habitat decline, how their current genetic patterns compare with past patterns, and how genetic demography changed with ancient fluctuations in climate. Characterizing their circumpolar genetic structure using microsatellite data, we defined four clusters that largely correspond to current ecological and oceanographic factors: Eastern Polar Basin, Western Polar Basin, Canadian Archipelago and Southern Canada. We document evidence for recent (ca. last 1-3 generations) directional gene flow from Southern Canada and the Eastern Polar Basin towards the Canadian Archipelago, an area hypothesized to be a future refugium for polar bears as climate-induced habitat decline continues. Our data provide empirical evidence in support of this hypothesis. The direction of current gene flow differs from earlier patterns of gene flow in the Holocene. From analyses of mitochondrial DNA, the Canadian Archipelago cluster and the Barents Sea subpopulation within the Eastern Polar Basin cluster did not show signals of population expansion, suggesting these areas may have served also as past interglacial refugia. Mismatch analyses of mitochondrial DNA data from polar and the paraphyletic brown bear (U. arctos) uncovered offset signals in timing of population expansion between the two species, that are attributed to differential demographic responses to past climate cycling. Mitogenomic structure of polar bears was shallow and developed recently, in contrast to the multiple clades of brown bears. We found no genetic signatures of recent hybridization between the species in our large, circumpolar sample, suggesting that recently observed hybrids represent localized events. Documenting changes in subpopulation connectivity will allow

  19. Implications of the circumpolar genetic structure of polar bears for their conservation in a rapidly warming Arctic

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Peacock, Elizabeth; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Obbard, Martyn E.; Boltunov, Andrei N.; Regehr, Eric V.; Ovsyanikov, Nikita; Aars, Jon; Atkinson, Stephen N.; Sage, George K.; Hope, Andrew G.; Zeyl, Eve; Bachmann, Lutz; Ehrich, Dorothee; Scribner, Kim T.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Belikov, Stanislav; Born, Erik W.; Derocher, Andrew E.; Stirling, Ian; Taylor, Mitchell K.; Wiig, Øystein; Paetkau, David; Talbot, Sandra L.

    2015-01-01

    We provide an expansive analysis of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) circumpolar genetic variation during the last two decades of decline in their sea-ice habitat. We sought to evaluate whether their genetic diversity and structure have changed over this period of habitat decline, how their current genetic patterns compare with past patterns, and how genetic demography changed with ancient fluctuations in climate. Characterizing their circumpolar genetic structure using microsatellite data, we defined four clusters that largely correspond to current ecological and oceanographic factors: Eastern Polar Basin, Western Polar Basin, Canadian Archipelago and Southern Canada. We document evidence for recent (ca. last 1–3 generations) directional gene flow from Southern Canada and the Eastern Polar Basin towards the Canadian Archipelago, an area hypothesized to be a future refugium for polar bears as climate-induced habitat decline continues. Our data provide empirical evidence in support of this hypothesis. The direction of current gene flow differs from earlier patterns of gene flow in the Holocene. From analyses of mitochondrial DNA, the Canadian Archipelago cluster and the Barents Sea subpopulation within the Eastern Polar Basin cluster did not show signals of population expansion, suggesting these areas may have served also as past interglacial refugia. Mismatch analyses of mitochondrial DNA data from polar and the paraphyletic brown bear (U. arctos) uncovered offset signals in timing of population expansion between the two species, that are attributed to differential demographic responses to past climate cycling. Mitogenomic structure of polar bears was shallow and developed recently, in contrast to the multiple clades of brown bears. We found no genetic signatures of recent hybridization between the species in our large, circumpolar sample, suggesting that recently observed hybrids represent localized events. Documenting changes in subpopulation connectivity will

  20. Implications of the Circumpolar Genetic Structure of Polar Bears for Their Conservation in a Rapidly Warming Arctic

    PubMed Central

    Peacock, Elizabeth; Sonsthagen, Sarah A.; Obbard, Martyn E.; Boltunov, Andrei; Regehr, Eric V.; Ovsyanikov, Nikita; Aars, Jon; Atkinson, Stephen N.; Sage, George K.; Hope, Andrew G.; Zeyl, Eve; Bachmann, Lutz; Ehrich, Dorothee; Scribner, Kim T.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Belikov, Stanislav; Born, Erik W.; Derocher, Andrew E.; Stirling, Ian; Taylor, Mitchell K.; Wiig, Øystein; Paetkau, David; Talbot, Sandra L.

    2015-01-01

    We provide an expansive analysis of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) circumpolar genetic variation during the last two decades of decline in their sea-ice habitat. We sought to evaluate whether their genetic diversity and structure have changed over this period of habitat decline, how their current genetic patterns compare with past patterns, and how genetic demography changed with ancient fluctuations in climate. Characterizing their circumpolar genetic structure using microsatellite data, we defined four clusters that largely correspond to current ecological and oceanographic factors: Eastern Polar Basin, Western Polar Basin, Canadian Archipelago and Southern Canada. We document evidence for recent (ca. last 1–3 generations) directional gene flow from Southern Canada and the Eastern Polar Basin towards the Canadian Archipelago, an area hypothesized to be a future refugium for polar bears as climate-induced habitat decline continues. Our data provide empirical evidence in support of this hypothesis. The direction of current gene flow differs from earlier patterns of gene flow in the Holocene. From analyses of mitochondrial DNA, the Canadian Archipelago cluster and the Barents Sea subpopulation within the Eastern Polar Basin cluster did not show signals of population expansion, suggesting these areas may have served also as past interglacial refugia. Mismatch analyses of mitochondrial DNA data from polar and the paraphyletic brown bear (U. arctos) uncovered offset signals in timing of population expansion between the two species, that are attributed to differential demographic responses to past climate cycling. Mitogenomic structure of polar bears was shallow and developed recently, in contrast to the multiple clades of brown bears. We found no genetic signatures of recent hybridization between the species in our large, circumpolar sample, suggesting that recently observed hybrids represent localized events. Documenting changes in subpopulation connectivity will

  1. Changing numbers of spawning cutthroat trout in tributary streams of Yellowstone Lake and estimates of grizzly bears visiting streams from DNA

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Haroldson, M.A.; Gunther, K.A.; Reinhart, D.P.; Podruzny, S.R.; Cegelski, C.; Waits, L.; Wyman, T.C.; Smith, J.

    2005-01-01

    Spawning Yellowstone cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki) provide a source of highly digestible energy for grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) that visit tributary streams to Yellowstone Lake during the spring and early summer. During 1985–87, research documented grizzly bears fishing on 61% of the 124 tributary streams to the lake. Using track measurements, it was estimated that a minimum of 44 grizzly bears fished those streams annually. During 1994, non-native lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) were discovered in Yellowstone Lake. Lake trout are efficient predators and have the potential to reduce the native cutthroat population and negatively impact terrestrial predators that use cutthroat trout as a food resource. In 1997, we began sampling a subset of streams (n = 25) from areas of Yellowstone Lake surveyed during the previous study to determine if changes in spawner numbers or bear use had occurred. Comparisons of peak numbers and duration suggested a considerable decline between study periods in streams in the West Thumb area of the lake. The apparent decline may be due to predation by lake trout. Indices of bear use also declined on West Thumb area streams. We used DNA from hair collected near spawning streams to estimate the minimum number of bears visiting the vicinity of spawning streams. Seventy-four individual bears were identified from 429 hair samples. The annual number of individuals detected ranged from 15 in 1997 to 33 in 2000. Seventy percent of genotypes identified were represented by more than 1 sample, but only 31% of bears were documented more than 1 year of the study. Sixty-two (84%) bears were only documented in 1 segment of the lake, whereas 12 (16%) were found in 2–3 lake segments. Twenty-seven bears were identified from hair collected at multiple streams. One bear was identified on 6 streams in 2 segments of the lake and during 3 years of the study. We used encounter histories derived from DNA and the Jolly-Seber procedure in Program MARK

  2. Grizzly bear population vital rates and trend in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem, Montana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mace, R.D.; Carney, D.W.; Chilton-Radandt, T.; Courville, S.A.; Haroldson, M.A.; Harris, R.B.; Jonkel, J.; McLellan, B.; Madel, M.; Manley, T.L.; Schwartz, C.C.; Servheen, C.; Stenhouse, G.; Waller, J.S.; Wenum, E.

    2012-01-01

    We estimated grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) population vital rates and trend for the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE), Montana, between 2004 and 2009 by following radio-collared females and observing their fate and reproductive performance. Our estimates of dependent cub and yearling survival were 0.612 (95% CI = 0.300–0.818) and 0.682 (95% CI = 0.258–0.898). Our estimates of subadult and adult female survival were 0.852 (95% CI = 0.628–0.951) and 0.952 (95% CI = 0.892–0.980). From visual observations, we estimated a mean litter size of 2.00 cubs/litter. Accounting for cub mortality prior to the first observations of litters in spring, our adjusted mean litter size was 2.27 cubs/litter. We estimated the probabilities of females transitioning from one reproductive state to another between years. Using the stable state probability of 0.322 (95% CI = 0.262–0.382) for females with cub litters, our adjusted fecundity estimate (mx) was 0.367 (95% CI = 0.273–0.461). Using our derived rates, we estimated that the population grew at a mean annual rate of approximately 3% (λ = 1.0306, 95% CI = 0.928–1.102), and 71.5% of 10,000 Monte Carlo simulations produced estimates of λ > 1.0. Our results indicate an increasing population trend of grizzly bears in the NCDE. Coupled with concurrent studies of population size, we estimate that over 1,000 grizzly bears reside in and adjacent to this recovery area. We suggest that monitoring of population trend and other vital rates using radioed females be continued.

  3. Multiple data sources improve DNA-based mark-recapture population estimates of grizzly bears.

    PubMed

    Boulanger, John; Kendall, Katherine C; Stetz, Jeffrey B; Roon, David A; Waits, Lisette P; Paetkau, David

    2008-04-01

    A fundamental challenge to estimating population size with mark-recapture methods is heterogeneous capture probabilities and subsequent bias of population estimates. Confronting this problem usually requires substantial sampling effort that can be difficult to achieve for some species, such as carnivores. We developed a methodology that uses two data sources to deal with heterogeneity and applied this to DNA mark-recapture data from grizzly bears (Ursus arctos). We improved population estimates by incorporating additional DNA "captures" of grizzly bears obtained by collecting hair from unbaited bear rub trees concurrently with baited, grid-based, hair snag sampling. We consider a Lincoln-Petersen estimator with hair snag captures as the initial session and rub tree captures as the recapture session and develop an estimator in program MARK that treats hair snag and rub tree samples as successive sessions. Using empirical data from a large-scale project in the greater Glacier National Park, Montana, USA, area and simulation modeling we evaluate these methods and compare the results to hair-snag-only estimates. Empirical results indicate that, compared with hair-snag-only data, the joint hair-snag-rub-tree methods produce similar but more precise estimates if capture and recapture rates are reasonably high for both methods. Simulation results suggest that estimators are potentially affected by correlation of capture probabilities between sample types in the presence of heterogeneity. Overall, closed population Huggins-Pledger estimators showed the highest precision and were most robust to sparse data, heterogeneity, and capture probability correlation among sampling types. Results also indicate that these estimators can be used when a segment of the population has zero capture probability for one of the methods. We propose that this general methodology may be useful for other species in which mark-recapture data are available from multiple sources. PMID:18488618

  4. The relative importance of direct and indirect effects of hunting mortality on the population dynamics of brown bears.

    PubMed

    Gosselin, Jacinthe; Zedrosser, Andreas; Swenson, Jon E; Pelletier, Fanie

    2015-01-01

    There is increasing evidence of indirect effects of hunting on populations. In species with sexually selected infanticide (SSI), hunting may decrease juvenile survival by increasing male turnover. We aimed to evaluate the relative importance of direct and indirect effects of hunting via SSI on the population dynamics of the Scandinavian brown bear (Ursus arctos). We performed prospective and retrospective demographic perturbation analyses for periods with low and high hunting pressures. All demographic rates, except yearling survival, were lower under high hunting pressure, which led to a decline in population growth under high hunting pressure (λ = 0.975; 95% CI = 0.914-1.011). Hunting had negative indirect effects on the population through an increase in SSI, which lowered cub survival and possibly also fecundity rates. Our study suggests that SSI could explain 13.6% of the variation in population growth. Hunting also affected the relative importance of survival and fecundity of adult females for population growth, with fecundity being more important under low hunting pressure and survival more important under high hunting pressure. Our study sheds light on the importance of direct and indirect effects of hunting on population dynamics, and supports the contention that hunting can have indirect negative effects on populations through SSI. PMID:25392469

  5. Multiple estimates of effective population size for monitoring a long-lived vertebrate: an application to Yellowstone grizzly bears.

    PubMed

    Kamath, Pauline L; Haroldson, Mark A; Luikart, Gordon; Paetkau, David; Whitman, Craig; van Manen, Frank T

    2015-11-01

    Effective population size (N(e)) is a key parameter for monitoring the genetic health of threatened populations because it reflects a population's evolutionary potential and risk of extinction due to genetic stochasticity. However, its application to wildlife monitoring has been limited because it is difficult to measure in natural populations. The isolated and well-studied population of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem provides a rare opportunity to examine the usefulness of different N(e) estimators for monitoring. We genotyped 729 Yellowstone grizzly bears using 20 microsatellites and applied three single-sample estimators to examine contemporary trends in generation interval (GI), effective number of breeders (N(b)) and N(e) during 1982-2007. We also used multisample methods to estimate variance (N(eV)) and inbreeding N(e) (N(eI)). Single-sample estimates revealed positive trajectories, with over a fourfold increase in N(e) (≈100 to 450) and near doubling of the GI (≈8 to 14) from the 1980s to 2000s. N(eV) (240-319) and N(eI) (256) were comparable with the harmonic mean single-sample N(e) (213) over the time period. Reanalysing historical data, we found N(eV) increased from ≈80 in the 1910s-1960s to ≈280 in the contemporary population. The estimated ratio of effective to total census size (N(e) /N(c)) was stable and high (0.42-0.66) compared to previous brown bear studies. These results support independent demographic evidence for Yellowstone grizzly bear population growth since the 1980s. They further demonstrate how genetic monitoring of N(e) can complement demographic-based monitoring of N(c) and vital rates, providing a valuable tool for wildlife managers. PMID:26510936

  6. Multiple estimates of effective population size for monitoring a long-lived vertebrate: An application to Yellowstone grizzly bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Kamath, Pauline L.; Haroldson, Mark A.; Luikart, Gordon; Paetkau, David; Whitman, Craig L.; van Manen, Frank T.

    2015-01-01

    Effective population size (Ne) is a key parameter for monitoring the genetic health of threatened populations because it reflects a population's evolutionary potential and risk of extinction due to genetic stochasticity. However, its application to wildlife monitoring has been limited because it is difficult to measure in natural populations. The isolated and well-studied population of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem provides a rare opportunity to examine the usefulness of different Ne estimators for monitoring. We genotyped 729 Yellowstone grizzly bears using 20 microsatellites and applied three single-sample estimators to examine contemporary trends in generation interval (GI), effective number of breeders (Nb) and Ne during 1982–2007. We also used multisample methods to estimate variance (NeV) and inbreeding Ne (NeI). Single-sample estimates revealed positive trajectories, with over a fourfold increase in Ne (≈100 to 450) and near doubling of the GI (≈8 to 14) from the 1980s to 2000s. NeV (240–319) and NeI (256) were comparable with the harmonic mean single-sample Ne (213) over the time period. Reanalysing historical data, we found NeV increased from ≈80 in the 1910s–1960s to ≈280 in the contemporary population. The estimated ratio of effective to total census size (Ne/Nc) was stable and high (0.42–0.66) compared to previous brown bear studies. These results support independent demographic evidence for Yellowstone grizzly bear population growth since the 1980s. They further demonstrate how genetic monitoring of Ne can complement demographic-based monitoring of Nc and vital rates, providing a valuable tool for wildlife managers.

  7. Population growth of Yellowstone grizzly bears: Uncertainty and future monitoring

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Harris, R.B.; White, Gary C.; Schwartz, C.C.; Haroldson, M.A.

    2007-01-01

    Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem of the US Rocky Mountains have recently increased in numbers, but remain vulnerable due to isolation from other populations and predicted reductions in favored food resources. Harris et al. (2006) projected how this population might fare in the future under alternative survival rates, and in doing so estimated the rate of population growth, 1983–2002. We address issues that remain from that earlier work: (1) the degree of uncertainty surrounding our estimates of the rate of population change (λ); (2) the effect of correlation among demographic parameters on these estimates; and (3) how a future monitoring system using counts of females accompanied by cubs might usefully differentiate between short-term, expected, and inconsequential fluctuations versus a true change in system state. We used Monte Carlo re-sampling of beta distributions derived from the demographic parameters used by Harris et al. (2006) to derive distributions of λ during 1983–2002 given our sampling uncertainty. Approximate 95% confidence intervals were 0.972–1.096 (assuming females with unresolved fates died) and 1.008–1.115 (with unresolved females censored at last contact). We used well-supported models of Haroldson et al. (2006) and Schwartz et al. (2006a,b,c) to assess the strength of correlations among demographic processes and the effect of omitting them in projection models. Incorporating correlations among demographic parameters yielded point estimates of λ that were nearly identical to those from the earlier model that omitted correlations, but yielded wider confidence intervals surrounding λ. Finally, we suggest that fitting linear and quadratic curves to the trend suggested by the estimated number of females with cubs in the ecosystem, and using AICc model weights to infer population sizes and λ provides an objective means to monitoring approximate population trajectories in addition to demographic

  8. Factors Affecting Date of Implantation, Parturition, and Den Entry Estimated from Activity and Body Temperature in Free-Ranging Brown Bears

    PubMed Central

    Friebe, Andrea; Evans, Alina L.; Arnemo, Jon M.; Blanc, Stéphane; Brunberg, Sven; Fleissner, Günther; Swenson, Jon E.; Zedrosser, Andreas

    2014-01-01

    Knowledge of factors influencing the timing of reproduction is important for animal conservation and management. Brown bears (Ursus arctos) are able to vary the birth date of their cubs in response to their fat stores, but little information is available about the timing of implantation and parturition in free-ranging brown bears. Body temperature and activity of pregnant brown bears is higher during the gestation period than during the rest of hibernation and drops at parturition. We compared mean daily body temperature and activity levels of pregnant and nonpregnant females during preimplantation, gestation, and lactation. Additionally we tested whether age, litter size, primiparity, environmental conditions, and the start of hibernation influence the timing of parturition. The mean date of implantation was 1 December (SD = 12), the mean date of parturition was 26 January (SD = 12), and the mean duration of the gestation period was 56 days (SD = 2). The body temperature of pregnant females was higher during the gestation and lactation periods than that of nonpregnant bears. The body temperature of pregnant females decreased during the gestation period. Activity recordings were also used to determine the date of parturition. The parturition dates calculated with activity and body temperature data did not differ significantly and were the same in 50% of the females. Older females started hibernation earlier. The start of hibernation was earlier during years with favorable environmental conditions. Dates of parturition were later during years with good environmental conditions which was unexpected. We suggest that free-ranging pregnant brown bears in areas with high levels of human activities at the beginning of the denning period, as in our study area, might prioritize investing energy in early denning than in early parturition during years with favorable environmental conditions, as a strategy to prevent disturbances caused by human. PMID:24988486

  9. Factors affecting date of implantation, parturition, and den entry estimated from activity and body temperature in free-ranging brown bears.

    PubMed

    Friebe, Andrea; Evans, Alina L; Arnemo, Jon M; Blanc, Stéphane; Brunberg, Sven; Fleissner, Günther; Swenson, Jon E; Zedrosser, Andreas

    2014-01-01

    Knowledge of factors influencing the timing of reproduction is important for animal conservation and management. Brown bears (Ursus arctos) are able to vary the birth date of their cubs in response to their fat stores, but little information is available about the timing of implantation and parturition in free-ranging brown bears. Body temperature and activity of pregnant brown bears is higher during the gestation period than during the rest of hibernation and drops at parturition. We compared mean daily body temperature and activity levels of pregnant and nonpregnant females during preimplantation, gestation, and lactation. Additionally we tested whether age, litter size, primiparity, environmental conditions, and the start of hibernation influence the timing of parturition. The mean date of implantation was 1 December (SD = 12), the mean date of parturition was 26 January (SD = 12), and the mean duration of the gestation period was 56 days (SD = 2). The body temperature of pregnant females was higher during the gestation and lactation periods than that of nonpregnant bears. The body temperature of pregnant females decreased during the gestation period. Activity recordings were also used to determine the date of parturition. The parturition dates calculated with activity and body temperature data did not differ significantly and were the same in 50% of the females. Older females started hibernation earlier. The start of hibernation was earlier during years with favorable environmental conditions. Dates of parturition were later during years with good environmental conditions which was unexpected. We suggest that free-ranging pregnant brown bears in areas with high levels of human activities at the beginning of the denning period, as in our study area, might prioritize investing energy in early denning than in early parturition during years with favorable environmental conditions, as a strategy to prevent disturbances caused by human. PMID:24988486

  10. Satellite monitoring of black bear.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Craighead, J. J.; Craighead, F. C., Jr.; Varney, J. R.; Cote, C. E.

    1971-01-01

    Description of a feasibility experiment recently performed to test the use of a satellite system for telemetering environmental and physiological data from the winter den of a 'hibernating' black bear, Ursus americanus. The instrumentation procedure and evaluations of the equipment performance and sensory data obtained are discussed in detail.

  11. Mercury in polar bears from Alaska

    SciTech Connect

    Lentfer, J.W.; Galster, W.A.

    1987-04-01

    Alaskan polar bear (Ursus maritimus) muscle and liver samples collected in 1972 were analyzed for total mercury. Bears north of Alaska had more mercury than bears west of Alaska. The only difference between young and adult animals was in the northern area where adults had more mercury in liver tissue than young animals. Levels were probably not high enough to be a serious threat to bears.

  12. Evolution of major histocompatibility complex class I and class II genes in the brown bear

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins constitute an essential component of the vertebrate immune response, and are coded by the most polymorphic of the vertebrate genes. Here, we investigated sequence variation and evolution of MHC class I and class II DRB, DQA and DQB genes in the brown bear Ursus arctos to characterise the level of polymorphism, estimate the strength of positive selection acting on them, and assess the extent of gene orthology and trans-species polymorphism in Ursidae. Results We found 37 MHC class I, 16 MHC class II DRB, four DQB and two DQA alleles. We confirmed the expression of several loci: three MHC class I, two DRB, two DQB and one DQA. MHC class I also contained two clusters of non-expressed sequences. MHC class I and DRB allele frequencies differed between northern and southern populations of the Scandinavian brown bear. The rate of nonsynonymous substitutions (dN) exceeded the rate of synonymous substitutions (dS) at putative antigen binding sites of DRB and DQB loci and, marginally significantly, at MHC class I loci. Models of codon evolution supported positive selection at DRB and MHC class I loci. Both MHC class I and MHC class II sequences showed orthology to gene clusters found in the giant panda Ailuropoda melanoleuca. Conclusions Historical positive selection has acted on MHC class I, class II DRB and DQB, but not on the DQA locus. The signal of historical positive selection on the DRB locus was particularly strong, which may be a general feature of caniforms. The presence of MHC class I pseudogenes may indicate faster gene turnover in this class through the birth-and-death process. South–north population structure at MHC loci probably reflects origin of the populations from separate glacial refugia. PMID:23031405

  13. Fast carnivores and slow herbivores: differential foraging strategies among grizzly bears in the Canadian Arctic.

    PubMed

    Edwards, Mark A; Derocher, Andrew E; Hobson, Keith A; Branigan, Marsha; Nagy, John A

    2011-04-01

    Categorizing animal populations by diet can mask important intrapopulation variation, which is crucial to understanding a species' trophic niche width. To test hypotheses related to intrapopulation variation in foraging or the presence of diet specialization, we conducted stable isotope analysis (δ(13)C, δ(15)N) on hair and claw samples from 51 grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) collected from 2003 to 2006 in the Mackenzie Delta region of the Canadian Arctic. We examined within-population differences in the foraging patterns of males and females and the relationship between trophic position (derived from δ(15)N measurements) and individual movement. The range of δ(15)N values in hair and claw (2.0-11.0‰) suggested a wide niche width and cluster analyses indicated the presence of three foraging groups within the population, ranging from near-complete herbivory to near-complete carnivory. We found no linear relationship between home range size and trophic position when the data were continuous or when grouped by foraging behavior. However, the movement rate of females increased linearly with trophic position. We used multisource dual-isotope mixing models to determine the relative contributions of seven prey sources within each foraging group for both males and females. The mean bear dietary endpoint across all foraging groups for each sex fell toward the center of the mixing polygon, which suggested relatively well-mixed diets. The primary dietary difference across foraging groups was the proportional contribution of herbaceous foods, which decreased for both males and females from 42-76 to 0-27% and 62-81 to 0-44%, respectively. Grizzlies of the Mackenzie Delta live in extremely harsh conditions and identifying within-population diet specialization has improved our understanding of varying habitat requirements within the population. PMID:21153738

  14. Increased cardiac alpha-myosin heavy chain in left atria and decreased myocardial insulin-like growth factor (Igf-I) expression accompany low heart rate in hibernating grizzly bears.

    PubMed

    Barrows, N D; Nelson, O L; Robbins, C T; Rourke, B C

    2011-01-01

    Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) tolerate extended periods of extremely low heart rate during hibernation without developing congestive heart failure or cardiac chamber dilation. Left ventricular atrophy and decreased left ventricular compliance have been reported in this species during hibernation. We evaluated the myocardial response to significantly reduced heart rate during hibernation by measuring relative myosin heavy-chain (MyHC) isoform expression and expression of a set of genes important to muscle plasticity and mass regulation in the left atria and left ventricles of active and hibernating bears. We supplemented these data with measurements of systolic and diastolic function via echocardiography in unanesthetized grizzly bears. Atrial strain imaging revealed decreased atrial contractility, decreased expansion/reservoir function (increased atrial stiffness), and decreased passive-filling function (increased ventricular stiffness) in hibernating bears. Relative MyHC-α protein expression increased significantly in the atrium during hibernation. The left ventricle expressed 100% MyHC-β protein in both groups. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF-I) mRNA expression was reduced by ∼50% in both chambers during hibernation, consistent with the ventricular atrophy observed in these bears. Interestingly, mRNA expression of the atrophy-related ubiquitin ligases Muscle Atrophy F-box (MAFBx) and Muscle Ring Finger 1 did not increase, nor did expression of myostatin or hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α). We report atrium-specific decreases of 40% and 50%, respectively, in MAFBx and creatine kinase mRNA expression during hibernation. Decreased creatine kinase expression is consistent with lowered energy requirements and could relate to reduced atrial emptying function during hibernation. Taken together with our hemodynamic assessment, these data suggest a potential downregulation of atrial chamber function during hibernation to prevent fatigue and dilation

  15. Environmental, biological and anthropogenic effects on grizzly bear body size: temporal and spatial considerations

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Individual body growth is controlled in large part by the spatial and temporal heterogeneity of, and competition for, resources. Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos L.) are an excellent species for studying the effects of resource heterogeneity and maternal effects (i.e. silver spoon) on life history traits such as body size because their habitats are highly variable in space and time. Here, we evaluated influences on body size of grizzly bears in Alberta, Canada by testing six factors that accounted for spatial and temporal heterogeneity in environments during maternal, natal and ‘capture’ (recent) environments. After accounting for intrinsic biological factors (age, sex), we examined how body size, measured in mass, length and body condition, was influenced by: (a) population density; (b) regional habitat productivity; (c) inter-annual variability in productivity (including silver spoon effects); (d) local habitat quality; (e) human footprint (disturbances); and (f) landscape change. Results We found sex and age explained the most variance in body mass, condition and length (R2 from 0.48–0.64). Inter-annual variability in climate the year before and of birth (silver spoon effects) had detectable effects on the three-body size metrics (R2 from 0.04–0.07); both maternal (year before birth) and natal (year of birth) effects of precipitation and temperature were related with body size. Local heterogeneity in habitat quality also explained variance in body mass and condition (R2 from 0.01–0.08), while annual rate of landscape change explained additional variance in body length (R2 of 0.03). Human footprint and population density had no observed effect on body size. Conclusions These results illustrated that body size patterns of grizzly bears, while largely affected by basic biological characteristics (age and sex), were also influenced by regional environmental gradients the year before, and of, the individual’s birth thus illustrating silver spoon

  16. Himalayan black bear mauling: offense or defense?

    PubMed

    Thakur, Jagdeep Singh; Mohan, Chander; Sharma, Dev R

    2007-01-01

    The Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus or Selenarctos thibetanus), also known as the Tibetan black bear, the Himalayan black bear, or the moon bear is a omnivorous mammal. This animal is declared threatened animal and rarely comes in human contact. Recent decrease in forest area has, however, increased the chances of bear-human interaction, hence causing injuries to humans. There is only one published report in English literature on Himalayan black bear mauling. We present 5 cases referred to our department over a period of 1 year. PMID:17606040

  17. Validation of mercury tip-switch and accelerometer activity sensors for identifying resting and active behavior in bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jasmine Ware; Rode, Karyn D.; Pagano, Anthony M.; Bromaghin, Jeffrey; Charles T Robbins; Joy Erlenbach; Shannon Jensen; Amy Cutting; Nicole Nicassio-Hiskey; Amy Hash; Owen, Megan A.; Heiko Jansen

    2015-01-01

    Activity sensors are often included in wildlife transmitters and can provide information on the behavior and activity patterns of animals remotely. However, interpreting activity-sensor data relative to animal behavior can be difficult if animals cannot be continuously observed. In this study, we examined the performance of a mercury tip-switch and a tri-axial accelerometer housed in collars to determine whether sensor data can be accurately classified as resting and active behaviors and whether data are comparable for the 2 sensor types. Five captive bears (3 polar [Ursus maritimus] and 2 brown [U. arctos horribilis]) were fitted with a collar specially designed to internally house the sensors. The bears’ behaviors were recorded, classified, and then compared with sensor readings. A separate tri-axial accelerometer that sampled continuously at a higher frequency and provided raw acceleration values from 3 axes was also mounted on the collar to compare with the lower resolution sensors. Both accelerometers more accurately identified resting and active behaviors at time intervals ranging from 1 minute to 1 hour (≥91.1% accuracy) compared with the mercury tip-switch (range = 75.5–86.3%). However, mercury tip-switch accuracy improved when sampled at longer intervals (e.g., 30–60 min). Data from the lower resolution accelerometer, but not the mercury tip-switch, accurately predicted the percentage of time spent resting during an hour. Although the number of bears available for this study was small, our results suggest that these activity sensors can remotely identify resting versus active behaviors across most time intervals. We recommend that investigators consider both study objectives and the variation in accuracy of classifying resting and active behaviors reported here when determining sampling interval.

  18. Mating-related behaviour of grizzly bears inhabiting marginal habitat at the periphery of their North American range.

    PubMed

    Edwards, Mark A; Derocher, Andrew E

    2015-02-01

    In comparison to core populations, peripheral populations have low density and recruitment, and are subject to different selective pressures, such as environmental conditions, food type and availability, predation, disease, etc., which may result in behavioural modifications to mating. We test the roam-to-mate hypothesis for a peripheral population of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) at the northern extent of their North American range, in Canada's Arctic. If bears are roaming-to-mate, we predicted greater range size and daily displacement, and more linear movements for receptive animals during the mating period compared to post-mating. In contrast to our predictions, we found that in general range size and displacement increased from mating to post-mating regardless of reproductive status. When considered across both periods, females with cubs-of-the-year had smaller range use metrics than other reproductive groups, which we attribute to a counter-strategy against sexually selected infanticide and the reduced mobility of cubs. Linearity of movements remained near zero during both periods across all groups, suggesting tortuous movements more characteristic of foraging than of mate-searching. We suggest that for this population, finding quality habitat takes precedence over mate-searching in this marginal Arctic landscape. Alternatively, a more monogamous mating system and sequestering behaviour may have obscured movement differences between the two periods. The behavioural differences in mating that we observed from what is typical of core populations may reflect local adaptation to marginal conditions and could benefit the species in the face of ongoing environmental change. PMID:25498148

  19. Using laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) to characterize copper, zinc and mercury along grizzly bear hair providing estimate of diet.

    PubMed

    Noël, Marie; Christensen, Jennie R; Spence, Jody; Robbins, Charles T

    2015-10-01

    We enhanced an existing technique, laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS), to function as a non-lethal tool in the temporal characterization of trace element exposure in wild mammals. Mercury (Hg), copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) were analyzed along the hair of captive and wild grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis). Laser parameters were optimized (consecutive 2000 μm line scans along the middle line of the hair at a speed of 50 μm/s; spot size=30 μm) for consistent ablation of the hair. A pressed pellet of reference material DOLT-2 and sulfur were used as external and internal standards, respectively. Our newly adapted method passed the quality control tests with strong correlations between trace element concentrations obtained using LA-ICP-MS and those obtained with regular solution-ICP-MS (r(2)=0.92, 0.98, 0.63, 0.57, 0.99 and 0.90 for Hg, Fe, Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb, respectively). Cross-correlation analyses revealed good reproducibility between trace element patterns obtained from hair collected from the same bear. One exception was Cd for which external contamination was observed resulting in poor reproducibility. In order to validate the method, we used LA-ICP-MS on the hair of five captive grizzly bears fed known and varying amounts of cutthroat trout over a period of 33 days. Trace element patterns along the hair revealed strong Hg, Cu and Zn signals coinciding with fish consumption. Accordingly, significant correlations between Hg, Cu, and Zn in the hair and Hg, Cu, and Zn intake were evident and we were able to develop accumulation models for each of these elements. While the use of LA-ICP-MS for the monitoring of trace elements in wildlife is in its infancy, this study highlights the robustness and applicability of this newly adapted method. PMID:26005744

  20. Effect of seasonal differences in dietary meat intake on changes in body mass and composition in wild and captive brown bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Hilderbrand, G.V.; Jenkins, S.G.; Schwartz, C.C.; Hanley, Thomas A.; Robbins, C.T.

    1999-01-01

    The influence of seasonal dietary meat intake on changes in body mass and composition in wild and captive brown bears (Ursus arctos) was investigated because the importance and availability of meat to brown bear populations is currently an important management consideration in several North American ecosystems. Adult female brown bears on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, utilized meat heavily in both spring and fall. Meat accounted for 76.2 ± 26.0% (mean ± 1 SD; primarily moose carrion and calves) of assimilated carbon and nitrogen in the spring and 80.4 ± 22.2% (primarily salmon) in the fall. Mass increases in the spring (71.8 ± 28.2%) were mostly lean body mass, but increases in the fall (81.0 ± 19.5%) were primarily fat. Daily intake by captive brown bears fed meat ad libitum during 12-day trials was positively related to body mass. Mass change was positively related to intake in both seasons, but the composition of the gain varied by season, with spring gains primarily lean body mass (64.2 ± 9.4%), while fall gains were 78.8 ± 19.6% lipid. Absolute rates of gain by wild bears occasionally equaled, but were usually much less than, those of captive bears. This was likely due to a combination of factors, which included the time required to locate and handle meat resources, the limited availability of or access to meat resources, and (or) the duration of meat resource availability. Estimated intake by bears not feeding selectively on high-energy components of moose and salmon were 8.5 ± 1.5 kg/day and 541 ± 156 kg/year and 10.8 ± 4.6 kg/day and 1003 ± 489 kg/year, respectively. Intake would drop by as much as 58% for bears feeding exclusively on salmon roe. Management strategies for areas with brown bears that consume significant amounts of meat should address the perpetuation and availability of these meat resources.

  1. Grizzly bear denning chronology and movements in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Haroldson, Mark A.; Ternent, Mark A.; Gunther, Kerry A.; Schwartz, Charles C.

    2002-01-01

    Den entrance and emergence dates of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are important to management agencies that wish to minimize impacts of human activities on bears. Current estimates for grizzly bear denning events use data that were collected from 1975–80. We update these estimates by including data obtained from 1981–99. We used aerial telemetry data to estimate week of den entry and emergence by determining the midpoint between the last known active date and the first known date denned, as well as the last known date denned and the first known active date. We also investigated post emergence movement patterns relative to den locations. Mean earliest and latest week of den entry and emergence were also determined. Den entry for females began during the fourth week in September, with 90% denned by the fourth week of November. Earliest den entry for males occurred during the second week of October, with 90% denned by the second week of December. Mean week of den entry for known pregnant females was earlier than males. Earliest week of den entry for known pregnant females was earlier than other females and males. Earliest den emergence for males occurred during the first week of February, with 90% of males out of dens by the fourth week of April. Earliest den emergence for females occurred during the third week of March; by the first week of May, 90% of females had emerged. Male bears emerged from dens earlier than females. Denning period differed among classes and averaged 171 days for females that emerged from dens with cubs, 151 days for other females, and 131 days for males. Known pregnant females tended to den at higher elevations and, following emergence, remained at higher elevation until late May. Females with cubs remained relatively close (<3 km) to den sites until the last 2 weeks in May. Timing of denning events was similar to previous estimates for this and other grizzly bear populations in the southern Rocky

  2. Quantifying long-term stress in brown bears with the hair cortisol concentration: a biomarker that may be confounded by rapid changes in response to capture and handling.

    PubMed

    Cattet, Marc; Macbeth, Bryan J; Janz, David M; Zedrosser, Andreas; Swenson, Jon E; Dumond, Mathieu; Stenhouse, Gordon B

    2014-01-01

    The measurement of cortisol in hair is becoming important in studying the role of stress in the life history, health and ecology of wild mammals. The hair cortisol concentration (HCC) is generally believed to be a reliable indicator of long-term stress that can reflect frequent or prolonged activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis over weeks to months through passive diffusion from the blood supply to the follicular cells that produce the hair. Diffusion of cortisol from tissues surrounding the follicle and glandular secretions (sebum and sweat) that coat the growing hair may also affect the HCC, but the extent of these effects is thought to be minimal. In this study, we report on a range of factors that are associated with, and possibly influence, cortisol concentrations in the hair of free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos). Through two levels of analyses that differed in sample sizes and availability of predictor variables, we identified the presence or absence of capture, restraint and handling, as well as different methods of capture, as significant factors that appeared to influence HCC in a time frame that was too short (minutes to hours) to be explained by passive diffusion from the blood supply alone. Furthermore, our results suggest that HCC was altered after hair growth had ceased and blood supply to the hair follicle was terminated. However, we also confirmed that HCC was inversely associated with brown bear body condition and was, therefore, responsive to diminished food availability/quality and possibly other long-term stressors that affect body condition. Collectively, our findings emphasize the importance of further elucidating the mechanisms of cortisol accumulation in hair and the influence of long- and short-term stressors on these mechanisms. PMID:27293647

  3. Quantifying long-term stress in brown bears with the hair cortisol concentration: a biomarker that may be confounded by rapid changes in response to capture and handling

    PubMed Central

    Cattet, Marc; Macbeth, Bryan J.; Janz, David M.; Zedrosser, Andreas; Swenson, Jon E.; Dumond, Mathieu; Stenhouse, Gordon B.

    2014-01-01

    The measurement of cortisol in hair is becoming important in studying the role of stress in the life history, health and ecology of wild mammals. The hair cortisol concentration (HCC) is generally believed to be a reliable indicator of long-term stress that can reflect frequent or prolonged activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis over weeks to months through passive diffusion from the blood supply to the follicular cells that produce the hair. Diffusion of cortisol from tissues surrounding the follicle and glandular secretions (sebum and sweat) that coat the growing hair may also affect the HCC, but the extent of these effects is thought to be minimal. In this study, we report on a range of factors that are associated with, and possibly influence, cortisol concentrations in the hair of free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos). Through two levels of analyses that differed in sample sizes and availability of predictor variables, we identified the presence or absence of capture, restraint and handling, as well as different methods of capture, as significant factors that appeared to influence HCC in a time frame that was too short (minutes to hours) to be explained by passive diffusion from the blood supply alone. Furthermore, our results suggest that HCC was altered after hair growth had ceased and blood supply to the hair follicle was terminated. However, we also confirmed that HCC was inversely associated with brown bear body condition and was, therefore, responsive to diminished food availability/quality and possibly other long-term stressors that affect body condition. Collectively, our findings emphasize the importance of further elucidating the mechanisms of cortisol accumulation in hair and the influence of long- and short-term stressors on these mechanisms. PMID:27293647

  4. Anthropogenic extinction of top carnivores and interspecific animal behaviour: implications of the rapid decoupling of a web involving wolves, bears, moose and ravens.

    PubMed

    Berger, J

    1999-11-22

    The recent extinction of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and wolves (Canis lupus) by humans from 95-99% of the contiguous USA and Mexico in less than 100 years has resulted in dramatically altered and expanded prey communities. Such rampant ecological change and putative ecological instability has not occurred in North American northern boreal zones. This geographical variation in the loss of large carnivores as a consequence of anthropogenic disturbance offers opportunities for examining the potential consequences of extinction on subtle but important ecological patterns involving behaviour and interspecific ecological interactions. In Alaska, where scavengers and large carnivores are associated with carcasses, field experiments involving sound playback simulations have demonstrated that at least one prey species, moose (Alces alces), is sensitive to the vocalizations of ravens (Corvus corax) and may rely on their cues to avoid predation. However, a similar relationship is absent on a predator-free island in Alaska's Cook Inlet and at two sites in the Jackson Hole region of the Rocky Mountains (USA) where grizzly bears and wolves have been extinct for 50-70 years. While prior study of birds and mammals has demonstrated that prey may retain predator recognition capabilities for thousands of years even after predation as a selective force has been relaxed, the results presented here establish that a desensitization in interspecific responsiveness can also occur in less than ten generations. These results affirm (i) a rapid decoupling in behaviour involving prey and scavengers as a consequence of anthropogenic-caused predator-prey disequilibriums, and (ii) subtle, community-level modifications in terrestrial ecosystems where large carnivores no longer exist. If knowledge about ecological and behavioural processes in extant systems is to be enhanced, the potential effects of recently extinct carnivores must be incorporated into current programmes. PMID:10629976

  5. Anthropogenic extinction of top carnivores and interspecific animal behaviour: implications of the rapid decoupling of a web involving wolves, bears, moose and ravens.

    PubMed Central

    Berger, J

    1999-01-01

    The recent extinction of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and wolves (Canis lupus) by humans from 95-99% of the contiguous USA and Mexico in less than 100 years has resulted in dramatically altered and expanded prey communities. Such rampant ecological change and putative ecological instability has not occurred in North American northern boreal zones. This geographical variation in the loss of large carnivores as a consequence of anthropogenic disturbance offers opportunities for examining the potential consequences of extinction on subtle but important ecological patterns involving behaviour and interspecific ecological interactions. In Alaska, where scavengers and large carnivores are associated with carcasses, field experiments involving sound playback simulations have demonstrated that at least one prey species, moose (Alces alces), is sensitive to the vocalizations of ravens (Corvus corax) and may rely on their cues to avoid predation. However, a similar relationship is absent on a predator-free island in Alaska's Cook Inlet and at two sites in the Jackson Hole region of the Rocky Mountains (USA) where grizzly bears and wolves have been extinct for 50-70 years. While prior study of birds and mammals has demonstrated that prey may retain predator recognition capabilities for thousands of years even after predation as a selective force has been relaxed, the results presented here establish that a desensitization in interspecific responsiveness can also occur in less than ten generations. These results affirm (i) a rapid decoupling in behaviour involving prey and scavengers as a consequence of anthropogenic-caused predator-prey disequilibriums, and (ii) subtle, community-level modifications in terrestrial ecosystems where large carnivores no longer exist. If knowledge about ecological and behavioural processes in extant systems is to be enhanced, the potential effects of recently extinct carnivores must be incorporated into current programmes. PMID:10629976

  6. Natural landscape features, human-related attractants, and conflict hotspots: A spatial analysis of human-grizzly bear conflicts

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilson, S.M.; Madel, M.J.; Mattson, D.J.; Graham, J.M.; Burchfield, J.A.; Belsky, J.M.

    2005-01-01

    There is a long history of conflict in the western United States between humans and grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) involving agricultural attractants. However, little is known about the spatial dimensions of this conflict and the relative importance of different attractants. This study was undertaken to better understand the spatial and functional components of conflict between humans and grizzly bears on privately owned agricultural lands in Montana. Our investigations focused on spatial associations of rivers and creeks, livestock pastures, boneyards (livestock carcass dump sites), beehives, and grizzly bear habitat with reported human-grizzly bear conflicts during 1986-2001. We based our analysis on a survey of 61 of 64 livestock producers in our study in the Rocky Mountain East Front, Montana. With the assistance of livestock and honey producers, we mapped the locations of cattle and sheep pastures, boneyards, and beehives. We used density surface mapping to identify seasonal clusters of conflicts that we term conflict hotspots. Hotspots accounted for 75% of all conflicts and encompassed approximately 8% of the study area. We also differentiated chronic (4 or more years of conflicts) from non-chronic hotspots (fewer than 4 years of conflict). The 10 chronic hotpots accounted for 58% of all conflicts. Based on Monte Carlo simulations, we found that conflict locations were most strongly associated with rivers and creeks followed by sheep lambing areas and fall sheep pastures. Conflicts also were associated with cattle calving areas, spring cow-calf pastures, summer and fall cattle pastures, and boneyards. The Monte Carlo simulations indicated associations between conflict locations and unprotected beehives at specific analysis scales. Protected (fenced) beehives were less likely to experience conflicts than unprotected beehives. Conflicts occurred at a greater rate in riparian and wetland vegetation than would be expected. The majority of conflicts occurred in a

  7. Bears are simply voles writ large: social structure determines the mechanisms of intrinsic population regulation in mammals.

    PubMed

    Odden, Morten; Ims, Rolf A; Støen, Ole Gunnar; Swenson, Jon E; Andreassen, Harry P

    2014-05-01

    The literature reveals opposing views regarding the importance of intrinsic population regulation in mammals. Different models have been proposed; adding importance to contrasting life histories, body sizes and social interactions. Here we evaluate current theory based on results from two Scandinavian projects studying two ecologically different mammal species with contrasting body sizes and life history traits: the root vole Microtus oeconomus and the brown bear Ursus arctos. We emphasize four inter-linked behavioral aspects-territoriality, dispersal, social inhibition of breeding, and infanticide-that together form a density-dependent syndrome with potentially regulatory effects on population growth. We show that the two species are similar in all four behaviors and thus the overall regulatory syndrome. Females form matrilineal assemblages, female natal dispersal is negatively density dependent and breeding is suppressed in philopatric young females. In both species, male turnover due to extrinsic mortality agents cause infanticide with negative effects on population growth. The sex-biased and density-dependent dispersal patterns promote the formation of matrilineal clusters which, in turn, leads to reproductive suppression with potentially regulatory effects. Hence, we show that intrinsic population regulation interacting with extrinsic mortality agents may occur irrespective of taxon, life history and body size. Our review stresses the significance of a mechanistic approach to understanding population ecology. We also show that experimental model populations are useful to elucidate natural populations of other species with similar social systems. In particular, such experiments should be combined with methodical innovations that may unravel the effects of cryptic intrinsic mechanisms such as infanticide. PMID:24481982

  8. Despotism and Risk of Infanticide Influence Grizzly Bear Den-Site Selection

    PubMed Central

    Libal, Nathan S.; Belant, Jerrold L.; Leopold, Bruce D.; Wang, Guiming; Owen, Patricia A.

    2011-01-01

    Given documented social dominance and intraspecific predation in bear populations, the ideal despotic distribution model and sex hypothesis of sexual segregation predict adult female grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) will avoid areas occupied by adult males to reduce risk of infanticide. Under ideal despotic distribution, juveniles should similarly avoid adult males to reduce predation risk. Den-site selection and use is an important component of grizzly bear ecology and may be influenced by multiple factors, including risk from conspecifics. To test the role of predation risk and the sex hypothesis of sexual segregation, we compared adult female (n = 142), adult male (n = 36), and juvenile (n = 35) den locations in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA. We measured elevation, aspect, slope, and dominant land cover for each den site, and used maximum entropy modeling to determine which variables best predicted den sites. We identified the global model as the best-fitting model for adult female (area under curve (AUC) = 0.926) and elevation as the best predictive variable for adult male (AUC = 0.880) den sites. The model containing land cover and elevation best-predicted juvenile (AUC = 0.841) den sites. Adult females spatially segregated from adult males, with dens characterized by higher elevations ( = 1,412 m, SE = 52) and steeper slopes ( = 21.9°, SE = 1.1) than adult male (elevation:  = 1,209 m, SE = 76; slope:  = 15.6°, SE = 1.9) den sites. Juveniles used a broad range of landscape attributes but did not avoid adult male denning areas. Observed spatial segregation by adult females supports the sex hypothesis of sexual segregation and we suggest is a mechanism to reduce risk of infanticide. Den site selection of adult males is likely related to distribution of food resources during spring. PMID:21935378

  9. Human perspectives and conservation of grizzly bears in Banff National Park, Canada.

    PubMed

    Chamberlain, Emily C; Rutherford, Murray B; Gibeau, Michael L

    2012-06-01

    Some conservation initiatives provoke intense conflict among stakeholders. The need for action, the nature of the conservation measures, and the effects of these measures on human interests may be disputed. Tools are needed to depolarize such situations, foster understanding of the perspectives of people involved, and find common ground. We used Q methodology to explore stakeholders' perspectives on conservation and management of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in Banff National Park and the Bow River watershed of Alberta, Canada. Twenty-nine stakeholders participated in the study, including local residents, scientists, agency employees, and representatives of nongovernmental conservation organizations and other interest groups. Participants rank ordered a set of statements to express their opinions on the problems of grizzly bear management (I-IV) and a second set of statements on possible solutions to the problems (A-C). Factor analysis revealed that participants held 4 distinct views of the problems: individuals associated with factor I emphasized deficiencies in goals and plans; those associated with factor II believed that problems had been exaggerated; those associated with factor III blamed institutional flaws such as disjointed management and inadequate resources; and individuals associated with factor IV blamed politicized decision making. There were 3 distinct views about the best solutions to the problems: individuals associated with factor A called for increased conservation efforts; those associated with factor B wanted reforms in decision-making processes; and individuals associated with factor C supported active landscape management. We connected people's definitions of the problem with their preferred solutions to form 5 overall problem narratives espoused by groups in the study: the problem is deficient goals and plans, the solution is to prioritize conservation efforts (planning-oriented conservation advocates); the problem is flawed

  10. Despotism and risk of infanticide influence grizzly bear den-site selection.

    PubMed

    Libal, Nathan S; Belant, Jerrold L; Leopold, Bruce D; Wang, Guiming; Owen, Patricia A

    2011-01-01

    Given documented social dominance and intraspecific predation in bear populations, the ideal despotic distribution model and sex hypothesis of sexual segregation predict adult female grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) will avoid areas occupied by adult males to reduce risk of infanticide. Under ideal despotic distribution, juveniles should similarly avoid adult males to reduce predation risk. Den-site selection and use is an important component of grizzly bear ecology and may be influenced by multiple factors, including risk from conspecifics. To test the role of predation risk and the sex hypothesis of sexual segregation, we compared adult female (n = 142), adult male (n = 36), and juvenile (n = 35) den locations in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, USA. We measured elevation, aspect, slope, and dominant land cover for each den site, and used maximum entropy modeling to determine which variables best predicted den sites. We identified the global model as the best-fitting model for adult female (area under curve (AUC) = 0.926) and elevation as the best predictive variable for adult male (AUC = 0.880) den sites. The model containing land cover and elevation best-predicted juvenile (AUC = 0.841) den sites. Adult females spatially segregated from adult males, with dens characterized by higher elevations (mean= 1,412 m, SE = 52) and steeper slopes (mean = 21.9°, SE = 1.1) than adult male (elevation: mean = 1,209 m, SE = 76; slope: mean = 15.6°, SE = 1.9) den sites. Juveniles used a broad range of landscape attributes but did not avoid adult male denning areas. Observed spatial segregation by adult females supports the sex hypothesis of sexual segregation and we suggest is a mechanism to reduce risk of infanticide. Den site selection of adult males is likely related to distribution of food resources during spring. PMID:21935378

  11. New Results on the Palaeobiology of Bears on the Swabian Alb (Chronology, Isotopic Geochemistry and Palaeogenetics)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Muenzel, Susanne

    2010-05-01

    Paleogenetic investigations at three geographically close caves in the Ach Valley near Blaubeuren have revealed two different cave bear haplogroups. These two haplogroups correspond to Ursus spelaeus (haplogroup 1) and Ursus ingressus (haplogroup 4) (Rabeder & Hofreiter 2004, Die Höhle 55, 58-77). This genetic variability was first attested for Geißenklösterle and Sirgenstein cave, but the new genetic data attest them also for Hohle Fels. In all three caves Ursus ingressus replaced Ursus spelaeus around 28 000 B.P. The carbon and nitrogen isotopes of the two genetic types do not vary significantly, meaning that there is no dietary difference between them and Ursus spelaeus were in dietary competition with Ursus ingressus in the Ach valley. The radiocarbon dates suggested a sudden replacement (Hofreiter et al. 2007, Current Biology 17(4): R1-R3), which must have been accompanied by local extinction of the older cave bear, according to the dietary competition with the younger bear. The possible reasons for this replacement are not clear yet. Climatic changes are unlikely, since the faunal composition remains the same and the environmental data do not differ significantly. But we cannot exclude human impact on the cave bear population, since a cave bear vertebra with an embedded fragment of a flint projectile was recovered in the Gravettian layer AH IIcf dated to 27 830+150-140 B.P. and gives indisputable proof of the hunting of cave bears. Numerous cut marks proof an ongoing exploitation of this species. In this context, new radiocarbon dates and isotopic results on cave bears and coeval brown bears will help us to refine the possible scenarios of this complex evolutionary and ecological process. These results will be used to test hypotheses of competitive exclusion between the different bear species. This study will exemplify how combining evidence from different approaches can provide invaluable clues about palaeobiology of late Pleistocene large mammals such as

  12. Effects of sample size and sampling frequency on studies of brown bear home ranges and habitat use

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arthur, Steve M.; Schwartz, Charles C.

    1999-01-01

    We equipped 9 brown bears (Ursus arctos) on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska, with collars containing both conventional very-high-frequency (VHF) transmitters and global positioning system (GPS) receivers programmed to determine an animal's position at 5.75-hr intervals. We calculated minimum convex polygon (MCP) and fixed and adaptive kernel home ranges for randomly-selected subsets of the GPS data to examine the effects of sample size on accuracy and precision of home range estimates. We also compared results obtained by weekly aerial radiotracking versus more frequent GPS locations to test for biases in conventional radiotracking data. Home ranges based on the MCP were 20-606 km2 (x = 201) for aerial radiotracking data (n = 12-16 locations/bear) and 116-1,505 km2 (x = 522) for the complete GPS data sets (n = 245-466 locations/bear). Fixed kernel home ranges were 34-955 km2 (x = 224) for radiotracking data and 16-130 km2 (x = 60) for the GPS data. Differences between means for radiotracking and GPS data were due primarily to the larger samples provided by the GPS data. Means did not differ between radiotracking data and equivalent-sized subsets of GPS data (P > 0.10). For the MCP, home range area increased and variability decreased asymptotically with number of locations. For the kernel models, both area and variability decreased with increasing sample size. Simulations suggested that the MCP and kernel models required >60 and >80 locations, respectively, for estimates to be both accurate (change in area <1%/additional location) and precise (CV < 50%). Although the radiotracking data appeared unbiased, except for the relationship between area and sample size, these data failed to indicate some areas that likely were important to bears. Our results suggest that the usefulness of conventional radiotracking data may be limited by potential biases and variability due to small samples. Investigators that use home range estimates in statistical tests should consider the

  13. Elevated expression of protein biosynthesis genes in liver and muscle of hibernating black bears (Ursus americanus) Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: V. B. Fedorov, Inst. of Arctic Biology, Univ. of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, AK 99775 (e-mail: fnvf@uaf.edu). The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. The article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

    PubMed Central

    Fedorov, Vadim B.; Goropashnaya, Anna V.; Tøien, Øivind; Stewart, Nathan C.; Gracey, Andrew Y.; Chang, Celia; Qin, Shizhen; Pertea, Geo; Quackenbush, John; Showe, Louise C.; Showe, Michael K.; Boyer, Bert B.; Barnes, Brian M.

    2009-01-01

    We conducted a large-scale gene expression screen using the 3,200 cDNA probe microarray developed specifically for Ursus americanus to detect expression differences in liver and skeletal muscle that occur during winter hibernation compared with animals sampled during summer. The expression of 12 genes, including RNA binding protein motif 3 (Rbm3), that are mostly involved in protein biosynthesis, was induced during hibernation in both liver and muscle. The Gene Ontology and Gene Set Enrichment analysis consistently showed a highly significant enrichment of the protein biosynthesis category by overexpressed genes in both liver and skeletal muscle during hibernation. Coordinated induction in transcriptional level of genes involved in protein biosynthesis is a distinctive feature of the transcriptome in hibernating black bears. This finding implies induction of translation and suggests an adaptive mechanism that contributes to a unique ability to reduce muscle atrophy over prolonged periods of immobility during hibernation. Comparing expression profiles in bears to small mammalian hibernators shows a general trend during hibernation of transcriptional changes that include induction of genes involved in lipid metabolism and carbohydrate synthesis as well as depression of genes involved in the urea cycle and detoxification function in liver. PMID:19240299

  14. The natural food habits of grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park, 1973-74

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mealey, Stephen Patrick

    1980-01-01

     The natural food habits of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis Ord) in Yellowstone National Park were investigated in 1973-74 to identify the grizzly's energy sources and trophic level(s), nutrient use, and distribution. Food consumption was determined by scat analysis and field observations. Food quality and digestibility were estimated by chemical analysis. Grizzlies were distributed in 3 distinctive feeding economies: valley/plateau, a grass/rodent economy where grizzlies were intensive diggers; mountain, primarily a grass/springbeauty/root economy where grizzlies were casual diggers; and lake, primarily a fish/grass economy where grizzlies were fishers. The economies occured in areas with fertile soils; distribution of bears within each was related to the occurrence of succulent plants. The feeding cycle in the valley/plateau and mountain economies followed plant phenology. Grizzlies fed primarily on meat before green-up and on succulent herbs afterwards; meat, corms, berries, and nuts became important during the postgrowing season. Succulent grasses and sedges with an importance value percentage of 78.5 were the most important food items consumed. Protein from animal tissue was more digestible than protein from plant tissue. Storage fats were more digestible than structural fats. Food energy and digestibility were directly related. Five principle nutrient materials (listed with their percentage digestibilities) contributed to total energy intake: protein from succulent herbs, 42.8; protein and fat from animal material, 78.1; fat and protein from pine nuts, 73.6; starch, 78.8; and sugar from berries and fruits, digestibility undetermined. Protein from succulent herbs, with a nutritive value percentage of 77.3, was the grizzlies' primary energy source. Because succulent, preflowering herbs had higher protein levels than dry, mature herbs, grizzly use of succulent herbs guaranteed them the highest source of herbaceous protein. Low protein digestibility of

  15. Landscape features and attractants that predispose grizzly bears to risk of conflicts with humans: A spatial and temporal analysis on privately owned agricultural land

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilson, Seth Mark

    Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) deaths in the US tend to be concentrated on the periphery of core habitats. These deaths were often preceded by conflicts with humans. Management removals of "nuisance" and or habituated grizzly bears are a leading cause of death in many populations. This exploratory study focuses on the conditions that lead to human-grizzly bear conflicts on private lands near core habitat. I examined spatial associations among reported human-grizzly bear conflicts during 1986--2001, landscape features, and agricultural-attractants in north-central Montana. I surveyed 61 of a possible 64 active livestock related land users and I used geographic information system (GIS) techniques to collect information on cattle and sheep pasture locations, seasons of use, and bone yard (carcass dumps) and beehive locations. I used GIS spatial analyses, univariate tests, and logistic regression models to explore the associations among conflicts, landscape features, and attractants. A majority (75%) of conflicts were found in distinct seasonal conflict hotspots. Conflict hotspots with spatial overlap were associated with riparian vegetation, bone yards, and beehives in close proximity to one another and accounted for 62% of all conflicts. Consistently available seasonal attractants in overlapping hotspots such as calving areas, sheep lambing areas and spring, summer, and fall sheep and cattle pastures appear to perpetuate the occurrence of conflicts. I found that lambing areas and spring and summer sheep pastures were strongly associated with conflict locations as were cattle calving areas, spring cow/calf pastures, fall pastures, and bone yards. Logistic regression modeling revealed that the presence of riparian vegetation within a 1.6 km search radius strongly influenced the likelihood of conflict. After controlling for riparian vegetation, I found that unmanaged bone yards, unfenced and fenced beehives, all increased the odds of conflict. For every 1 km moved away

  16. ARCTOS: a relational database relating specimens, specimen-based science, and archival documentation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Jarrell, Gordon H.; Ramotnik, Cindy A.; McDonald, D.L.

    2010-01-01

    Data are preserved when they are perpetually discoverable, but even in the Information Age, discovery of legacy data appropriate to particular investigations is uncertain. Secure Internet storage is necessary but insufficient. Data can be discovered only when they are adequately described, and visibility increases markedly if the data are related to other data that are receiving usage. Such relationships can be built within (1) the framework of a relational database, or (1) they can be built among separate resources, within the framework of the Internet. Evolving primarily around biological collections, Arctos is a database that does both of these tasks. It includes data structures for a diversity of specimen attributes, essentially all collection-management tasks, plus literature citations, project descriptions, etc. As a centralized collaboration of several university museums, Arctos is an ideal environment for capitalizing on the many relationships that often exist between items in separate collections. Arctos is related to NIH’s DNA-sequence repository (GenBank) with record-to-record reciprocal linkages, and it serves data to several discipline-specific web portals, including the Global Biodiversity Information Network (GBIF). The University of Alaska Museum’s paleontological collection is Arctos’s recent extension beyond the constraints of neontology. With about 1.3 million cataloged items, additional collections are being added each year.

  17. The primary structure of the hemoglobin of spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus, Carnivora).

    PubMed

    Hofmann, O; Braunitzer, G

    1987-08-01

    The complete primary structure of the alpha- and beta-chains of the hemoglobin of Spectacled Bear (Tremarctos ornatus) is presented. Following cleavage of the heme-protein link and chain separation by RP-HPLC, their amino-acid sequences were determined by Edman degradation in liquid- and gas-phase sequenators. The hemoglobin of Spectacled Bear displays only five amino-acid exchanges to that of Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus, Ursinae) and Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus tibetanus, Ursinae) whereas 8 and 12 replacements, respectively, to Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and Lesser Panda (Ailurus fulgens) can be found. This clearly demonstrates that the Spectacled Bear, the most aberrant bear of the Ursidae, is somewhat intermediate between Pandas and Ursinae. PMID:3663329

  18. Molecular characterization and specific detection of Anaplasma species (AP-sd) in sika deer and its first detection in wild brown bears and rodents in Hokkaido, Japan.

    PubMed

    Moustafa, Mohamed Abdallah Mohamed; Lee, Kyunglee; Taylor, Kyle; Nakao, Ryo; Sashika, Mariko; Shimozuru, Michito; Tsubota, Toshio

    2015-12-01

    A previously undescribed Anaplasma species (herein referred to as AP-sd) has been detected in sika deer, cattle and ticks in Japan. Despite being highly similar to some strains of A. phagocytophilum, AP-sd has never been detected in humans. Its ambiguous epidemiology and the lack of tools for its specific detection make it difficult to understand and interpret the prevalence of this Anaplasma species. We developed a method for specific detection, and examined AP-sd prevalence in Hokkaido wildlife. Our study included 250 sika deer (Cervus nippon yesoensis), 13 brown bears (Ursus arctos yesoensis) and 252 rodents including 138 (Apodemus speciosus), 45 (Apodemus argenteus), 42 (Myodes rufocanus) and 27 (Myodes rutilus) were collected from Hokkaido island, northern Japan, collected during 2010 to 2015. A 770 bp and 382 bp segment of the 16S rRNA and gltA genes, respectively, were amplified by nested PCR. Results were confirmed by cloning and sequencing of the positive PCR products. A reverse line blot hybridization (RLB) based on the 16S rRNA gene was then developed for the specific detection of AP-sd. The prevalence of AP-sd by nested PCR in sika deer was 51% (128/250). We detected this Anaplasma sp. for the first time in wild brown bears and rodents with a prevalence of 15% (2/13) and 2.4% (6/252), respectively. The sequencing results of the 16S rRNA and gltA gene amplicons were divergent from the selected A. phagocytophilum sequences in GenBank. Using a newly designed AP-sd specific probe for RLB has enabled us to specifically detect this Anaplasma species. Besides sika deer and cattle, wild brown bears and rodents were identified as potential reservoir hosts for AP-sd. This study provided a high throughput molecular method that specifically detects AP-sd, and which can be used to investigate its ecology and its potential as a threat to humans in Japan. PMID:26431688

  19. The first record of "spelaeoid" bears in Arctic Siberia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sher, Andrei V.; Weinstock, Jacobo; Baryshnikov, Gennady F.; Davydov, Sergey P.; Boeskorov, Gennady G.; Zazhigin, Vladimir S.; Nikolskiy, Pavel A.

    2011-08-01

    For a long time, "spelaeoid" (cave-bear-like) bears, Ursus ( Spelearctos) spp., were believed to be almost purely European animals. Their geographic range has recently been extended to the east, in southern Siberia, Transbaikalia, Kirghizia, Mongolia and Korea. Two unexpected new findings, presented here in detail, significantly change existing views on the distribution of cave bears; both were found in North-Eastern Siberia, far beyond the Arctic Circle, more than 1500 km to the north-east of the previously accepted range. One of the fossils is a mandible, found near the town of Cherskiy at 68.73°N, 161.38°E. The analysis of local geology and accompanying mammal fossils suggests that it comes from the Olyorian Fauna (Early to early Middle Pleistocene). Morphologically, the Cherskiy mandible is closest to Ursus savini, a small middle Pleistocene cave bear from the British Cromer Forest-bed Formation, but differs in having a slightly more advanced dentition, and thus it is described as a new subspecies Ursus savini nordostensis. Another newly recognized fossil of the "spelaeoid" bear is an astragalus found at the Oskhordokh site at 67.54°N, 135.67°E, on a large gravel bar on the right bank of the Adycha River. This specimen is attributed to Ursus cf . deningeri. The paper also presents an interesting example of the interaction between classical and "molecular" palaeontology. The new finds significantly change e