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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.

  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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  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.

  6. EVALUATION OF CARDIOLOGIC FUNCTIONS IN CAPTIVE EURASIAN BROWN BEARS (URSUS ARCTOS ARCTOS) IN TURKEY.

    PubMed

    Cihan, Huseyin; Yilmaz, Zeki; Aytug, Nilufer

    2016-03-01

    The aim of this study was to evaluate the cardiac functions in healthy Eurasian brown bears (Ursus arctos arctos) living in a seminatural area during their active season. Twelve clinically healthy brown bears were selected based on their normal physical examination, hematologic, and serum biochemistry results. These bears were divided into two groups based on age; subadult (<5 yr, n = 4) and adult (≥5 yr, n = 8). After the chemical immobilization (ketamine and xylazine), routine clinical and laboratory examinations were performed. Also, cardiologic examinations were performed using electrocardiogram and echocardiogram. There were no significant differences for the clinical parameters between the two groups including for body temperature, heart and respiratory rates, capillary refilling time, and oxygen saturation. The Q, R, and S wave (QRS) complexes and T wave amplitude were higher (P < 0.05) in the subadult group when compared to those of adult bears. Notching of QRS complexes and peaked T wave were also observed in both groups. Left ventricular diameter at systole and diastole in adult bears was wider (P < 0.05) than that of subadult bears. Subadult bears had reduced aortic diameter compared to adult bears (P < 0.05). Doppler variables of mitral, tricuspid, and aortic inflows between groups were similar; however, pulmonary artery variables such as flow velocity integral, mean velocity, and gradient were higher (P < 0.05) in the subadult group. These results suggest that electrocardiographic and echocardiographic parameters should be evaluated based on the age of brown bears.

  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.

  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. Serologic survey of Toxoplasma gondii in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and black bears (Ursus americanus), from Alaska, 1988 to 1991.

    PubMed

    Chomel, B B; Zarnke, R L; Kasten, R W; Kass, P H; Mendes, E

    1995-10-01

    We tested 644 serum samples from 480 grizzly bears and 40 black bears from Alaska (USA), collected between 1988 and 1991, for Toxoplasma gondii antibodies, using a commercially available latex agglutination test (LAT). A titer > or = 64 was considered positive. Serum antibody prevalence for T. gondii in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) was 18% (87 of 480). Prevalence ranged from 9% (seven of 77) on Kodiak Island to 28% (15 of 54) in northern Alaska. Prevalence was directly correlated to age. No grizzly bears < 2-year-old had T. gondii antibody. High antibody titers were found mainly in grizzly bears captured north of the Arctic Circle. Antibody prevalence in black bears (Ursus americanus) from Interior Alaska was 15% (six of 40), similar to the prevalence in grizzly bears from the same area (13%; five of 40).

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barnes, V.; 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.

  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.

  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, Tom S.; Partridge, Steven T.; Schoen, John 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. 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.

  15. 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

  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. Application of brown bear (Ursus arctos) records for retrospective assessment of mercury.

    PubMed

    Solgi, Eisa; Ghasempouri, Seyed Mahmoud

    2015-01-01

    Because mercury (Hg) is released into the atmosphere, wildlife living in habitats located far from point sources of metal may still be at risk. Mercury accumulation, previously considered a risk for aquatic ecosystems, is also found in many wildlife terrestrial species. The aim of the present study was to examine total Hg concentrations in the brown bear (Ursus arctos) by measurement of metal in hair from museum collections in Iran. Another objective of this investigation was to characterize the risk of Hg exposure in bears in several parts of Iran. Brown bear (Ursus arctos) hair samples (n = 35) were collected from 14 provinces in Iran for analysis of Hg contamination, performed using an advanced mercury analyzer (model Leco 254 AMA, USA) according to ASTM standard D-6722. Total Hg levels in Iranian bears from all areas ranged from 115.81 to 505.82 μg/kg, with a mean of 193.39 ng/g. Mercury concentrations in brown bear hair from different provinces in Iran were as follows in descending order: Khorasan Razavi > Esfahan > Khozestan > Yazd > Lorestan > Charmahalva Bakhtiari > Bushehr > Mazandaran > Markazi > Tehran > Ardebil > Gilan > East Azerbaijan. The highest content of Hg was found in the south (206.62 ± 31.95 ng/g), whereas the lowest levels were detected in the west (167.71 ± 32.97 ng/g). Overall total Hg content in bear hair was below harmful levels for this species. A decreasing trend was noted in the period 1986-2006, which may be mainly due to reduction of global Hg emissions. Data suggest that food habits and habitat are two important factors that influence Hg accumulation in bears.

  18. Behaviour of solitary adult Scandinavian brown bears (Ursus arctos) when approached by humans on foot.

    PubMed

    Moen, Gro Kvelprud; Støen, Ole-Gunnar; Sahlén, Veronica; Swenson, Jon E

    2012-01-01

    Successful management has brought the Scandinavian brown bear (Ursus arctos L.) back from the brink of extinction, but as the population grows and expands the probability of bear-human encounters increases. More people express concerns about spending time in the forest, because of the possibility of encountering bears, and acceptance for the bear is decreasing. In this context, reliable information about the bear's normal behaviour during bear-human encounters is important. Here we describe the behaviour of brown bears when encountering humans on foot. During 2006-2009, we approached 30 adult (21 females, 9 males) GPS-collared bears 169 times during midday, using 1-minute positioning before, during and after the approach. Observer movements were registered with a handheld GPS. The approaches started 869±348 m from the bears, with the wind towards the bear when passing it at approximately 50 m. The bears were detected in 15% of the approaches, and none of the bears displayed any aggressive behaviour. Most bears (80%) left the initial site during the approach, going away from the observers, whereas some remained at the initial site after being approached (20%). Young bears left more often than older bears, possibly due to differences in experience, but the difference between ages decreased during the berry season compared to the pre-berry season. The flight initiation distance was longer for active bears (115±94 m) than passive bears (69±47 m), and was further affected by horizontal vegetation cover and the bear's age. Our findings show that bears try to avoid confrontations with humans on foot, and support the conclusions of earlier studies that the Scandinavian brown bear is normally not aggressive during encounters with humans.

  19. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2015-03-17

    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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. The influence of diet on faecal DNA amplification and sex identification in brown bears (Ursus arctos)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

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

    2003-01-01

    To evaluate the influence of diet on faecal DNA amplification, 11 captive brown bears (Ursus arctos) were placed on six restricted diets: grass (Trifolium spp., Haplopappus hirtus and Poa pratensis), alfalfa (Lupinus spp.), carrots (Daucus spp.), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), blueberries (Vaccinium spp.) and salmon (Salmo spp.). DNA was extracted from 50 faecal samples of each restricted diet, and amplification of brown bear DNA was attempted for a mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) locus and nuclear DNA (nDNA) locus. For mtDNA, no significant differences were observed in amplification success rates across diets. For nDNA, amplification success rates for salmon diet extracts were significantly lower than all other diet extracts (P < 0.001). To evaluate the accuracy of faecal DNA sex identification when female carnivores consume male mammalian prey, female bears were fed male white-tailed deer. Four of 10 extracts amplified, and all extracts were incorrectly scored as male due to amplification of X and Y-chromosome fragments. The potential biases highlighted in this study have broad implications for researchers using faecal DNA for individual and sex identification, and should be evaluated in other species.

  9. Oxygen supplementation in anesthetized brown bears (Ursus arctos)-how low can you go?

    PubMed

    Fahlman, Åsa; Arnemo, Jon M; Pringle, John; Nyman, Görel

    2014-07-01

    Hypoxemia is anticipated during wildlife anesthesia and thus should be prevented. We evaluated the efficacy of low flow rates of supplemental oxygen for improvement of arterial oxygenation in anesthetized brown bears (Ursus arctos). The study included 32 free-ranging brown bears (yearlings, subadults, and adults; body mass 12-250 kg) that were darted with medetomidine-zolazepam-tiletamine (MZT) from a helicopter in Sweden. During anesthesia, oxygen was administered intranasally from portable oxygen cylinders at different flow rates (0.5-3 L/min). Arterial blood samples were collected before (pre-O2), during, and after oxygen therapy and immediately processed with a portable analyzer. Rectal temperature, respiratory rate, heart rate, and pulse oximetry-derived hemoglobin oxygen saturation were recorded. Intranasal oxygen supplementation at the evaluated flow rates significantly increased the partial pressure of arterial oxygen (PaO2) from pre-O2 values of 9.1 ± 1.3 (6.3-10.9) kPa to 20.4 ± 6.8 (11.1-38.7) kPa during oxygen therapy. When oxygen therapy was discontinued, the PaO2 decreased to values not significantly different from the pre-O2 values. In relation to the body mass of the bears, the following oxygen flow rates are recommended: 0.5 L/min to bears <51 kg, 1 L/min to bears 51-100 kg, 2 L/min to bears 101-200 kg, and 3 L/min to bears 201-250 kg. In conclusion, low flow rates of intranasal oxygen were sufficient to improve arterial oxygenation in brown bears anesthetized with MZT. Because hypoxemia quickly recurred when oxygen was discontinued, oxygen supplementation should be provided continuously throughout anesthesia.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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.

  13. Winter blood values of selected parameters in a group of non-hibernating captive brown bears (Ursus arctos).

    PubMed

    Sergiel, A; Bednarski, M; Maślak, R; Piasecki, T; Huber, D

    2015-01-01

    Bears undergo some significant changes reflected in blood values during winter season. The most significant are reduced urea and increased creatinine, by some authors considered to be physiological indicators of hibernation. Studied group of six captive brown bears (Ursus arctos) showed decreased activity in winter but were accepting food and walked outdoors. Blood parameters assessed in February 2011 revealed mean values of leucocytes and neutrophils as significantly lower, and creatinine significantly increased compared to captive and free living bears sampled during other seasons when bears are active.

  14. Selenium in brown bears (Ursus arctos) from Croatia: Relation to cadmium and mercury.

    PubMed

    Lazarus, Maja; Sekovanić, Ankica; Reljić, Slaven; Kusak, Josip; Kovačić, Jelena; Orct, Tatjana; Jurasović, Jasna; Huber, Đuro

    2014-01-01

    Muscle (n = 111), liver (n = 111), and kidney cortex (n = 101) samples from brown bears (Ursus arctos) were collected in the 2009 and 2010 hunting seasons in Croatia and analysed for selenium (Se), cadmium (Cd), and total mercury (Hg). The aim was to assess the levels of these elements according to age, sex, and season of collection, and to investigate possible Se/Cd and Se/Hg interactions. Median Se concentrations were 0.139 μg/g in muscle, 0.409 μg/g in liver and 1.75 μg/g wet mass in kidney cortex. Median Cd and Hg were 0.0078 and 0.0018 μg/g in muscle, 1.09 and 0.031 μg/g in liver, and 16.5 and 0.206 μg/g wet mass in the renal cortex, respectively. Se/Cd molar ratios were less than 1 in the kidney cortex, and close to or above 1 in liver and muscle, respectively. Toxic Cd and Hg correlated with Se in all of the studied tissues. Sex differences were found for all three elements (except Se in liver), with females having higher tissue concentration than males. Only Cd showed age-dependence. Bear samples collected in fall had higher Se in muscles, and Hg in muscles and liver compared to samples collected in spring. Element concentrations in brown bear tissues were within the range of previously reported studies. Bear meat is considered a rich source of Se, safe for consumption with regard to its Cd and Hg content. According to the molar ratio and correlation results, we assume that Se binding is not the primary detoxification pathway for Cd and Hg in brown bears.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) genetic profiles, 1998-2012

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Graves, Tabitha A.; Mikle, Nathaniel; Kendall, Katherine C.; Macleod, Amy C.

    2016-01-01

    Two independent sampling methods were used to collect genetic samples from grizzly bears (Ursus arctos): (i) hair traps—corrals of barbed wire with lure in the center systematically distributed using an 8 x 8 km (1998, 2000) or 7 x 7 km (2004) grid and (ii) bear rubs—naturally occurring trees or other objects that bears rub on fitted with barbed wire (1998–2000, 2004, and 2009–2012). From 1998 to 2000, sampling occurred on 8000 km2 in the northern extent of the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem (NCDE), whereas systematic and consistent, ecosystem-wide sampling occurred in 2004 and 2009–2012. In total, there were 6160 confirmed grizzly bear detections, leading to the identification of 1115 unique individual genotypes (520 male, 595 female). The data contain the genotypes or partial genotypes of those 1115 individuals, with an individual ID, sex, and up to 24 genotyped, codominant loci. The loci represented are; G10J, G1A, G10B, G1D, G10H, G10M, G10P, G10C, CXX110, CXX20, G10L, MU50, MU59, G10U, MU23, G10X, REN145.P07, MSUT2, CPH9, MU51, REN144.A06, MU26, D123, D1A. Each locus is split into two columns, the first of which contains the first allele and the second of which contains the second allele of each genotyped locus for each individual. Values within the columns of each locus represent the size of the alleles.

  20. 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

  1. 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

  2. Environmental DNA from Residual Saliva for Efficient Noninvasive Genetic Monitoring of Brown Bears (Ursus arctos)

    PubMed Central

    Wheat, Rachel E.; Allen, Jennifer M.; Miller, Sophie D. L.; Wilmers, Christopher C.; Levi, Taal

    2016-01-01

    Noninvasive genetic sampling is an important tool in wildlife ecology and management, typically relying on hair snaring or scat sampling techniques, but hair snaring is labor and cost intensive, and scats yield relatively low quality DNA. New approaches utilizing environmental DNA (eDNA) may provide supplementary, cost-effective tools for noninvasive genetic sampling. We tested whether eDNA from residual saliva on partially-consumed Pacific salmon (Oncorhynchus spp.) carcasses might yield suitable DNA quality for noninvasive monitoring of brown bears (Ursus arctos). We compared the efficiency of monitoring brown bear populations using both fecal DNA and salivary eDNA collected from partially-consumed salmon carcasses in Southeast Alaska. We swabbed a range of tissue types from 156 partially-consumed salmon carcasses from a midseason run of lakeshore-spawning sockeye (O. nerka) and a late season run of stream-spawning chum (O. keta) salmon in 2014. We also swabbed a total of 272 scats from the same locations. Saliva swabs collected from the braincases of salmon had the best amplification rate, followed by swabs taken from individual bite holes. Saliva collected from salmon carcasses identified unique individuals more quickly and required much less labor to locate than scat samples. Salmon carcass swabbing is a promising method to aid in efficient and affordable monitoring of bear populations, and suggests that the swabbing of food remains or consumed baits from other animals may be an additional cost-effective and valuable tool in the study of the ecology and population biology of many elusive and/or wide-ranging species. PMID:27828988

  3. 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

  4. Serological survey of selected canine viral pathogens and zoonoses in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) and black bears (Ursus americanus) from Alaska.

    PubMed

    Chomel, B B; Kasten, R W; Chappuis, G; Soulier, M; Kikuchi, Y

    1998-12-01

    Between 1988 and 1991, 644 serum samples were collected from 480 grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) and 40 black bears (Ursus americanus) from Alaska, United States of America, and were tested for selected canine viral infections and zoonoses. Antibody prevalence in grizzly bears was 0% for parvovirus, 8.3% (40/480) for distemper, 14% (68/480) for infectious hepatitis, 16.5% (79/480) for brucellosis, 19% (93/480) for tularaemia and 47% (225/478) for trichinellosis. In black bears, prevalence ranged from 0% for distemper and parvovirus to 27.5% for trichinellosis and 32% for tularaemia. Antibody prevalence for brucellosis (2.5%) and tularaemia (32%) were identical for grizzly bears and black bears from the geographical area of interior Alaska. Links between differences in prevalence and the origin of the grizzly bears were observed. Antibodies to canine distemper virus and infectious hepatitis virus were mainly detected in grizzly bears from Kodiak Island and the Alaskan Peninsula. Brucellosis antibodies were prevalent in grizzly bears from western and northern Alaska, whereas tularaemia antibodies were detected in grizzly bears from interior Alaska and the Arctic. There was a strong gradient for antibodies to Trichinella spp. from southern to northern Alaska. For most diseases, antibody prevalence increased with age. However, for several infections, no antibodies were detected in grizzly bears aged from 0 to 2 years, in contrast to the presence of those infections in black bears. Grizzly bears served as excellent sentinels for surveillance of zoonotic infections in wildlife in Alaska.

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. Taenia arctos n. sp. (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea: Taeniidae) from its definitive (brown bear Ursus arctos Linnaeus) and intermediate (moose/elk Alces spp.) hosts.

    PubMed

    Haukisalmi, Voitto; Lavikainen, Antti; Laaksonen, Sauli; Meri, Seppo

    2011-11-01

    Taenia arctos n. sp. (Cestoda: Cyclophyllidea: Taeniidae) is described from the brown bear Ursus arctos Linnaeus (definitive host) and moose/elk Alces spp. (intermediate hosts) from Finland (type-locality) and Alaska, USA. The independent status of the new species and the conspecificity of its adults and metacestodes have been recently confirmed by the mtDNA sequence data of Lavikainen et al. (2011; Parasitology International, 60, 289-295). Special reference is given to morphological differences between the new species and T. krabbei Moniez, 1879 (definitive hosts primarily canines for the latter), both of which use the moose/elk (Alces spp.) as intermediate hosts (the latter also uses Rangifer and perhaps other northern ruminants), and between the new species and T. ursina Linstow, 1893, both of which use the brown bear U. arctos as a definitive host. New morphological data are also provided for adults and cysticerci of T. krabbei. The analysis includes potentially useful morphometric features that have not been previously applied to Taenia spp.

  8. Molecular phylogeography of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) in Northeastern Asia based on analyses of complete mitochondrial DNA sequences.

    PubMed

    Hirata, Daisuke; Mano, Tsutomu; Abramov, Alexei V; Baryshnikov, Gennady F; Kosintsev, Pavel A; Vorobiev, Alexandr A; Raichev, Evgeny G; Tsunoda, Hiroshi; Kaneko, Yayoi; Murata, Koichi; Fukui, Daisuke; Masuda, Ryuichi

    2013-07-01

    To further elucidate the migration history of the brown bears (Ursus arctos) on Hokkaido Island, Japan, we analyzed the complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequences of 35 brown bears from Hokkaido, the southern Kuril Islands (Etorofu and Kunashiri), Sakhalin Island, and the Eurasian Continent (continental Russia, Bulgaria, and Tibet), and those of four polar bears. Based on these sequences, we reconstructed the maternal phylogeny of the brown bear and estimated divergence times to investigate the timing of brown bear migrations, especially in northeastern Eurasia. Our gene tree showed the mtDNA haplotypes of all 73 brown and polar bears to be divided into eight divergent lineages. The brown bear on Hokkaido was divided into three lineages (central, eastern, and southern). The Sakhalin brown bear grouped with eastern European and western Alaskan brown bears. Etorofu and Kunashiri brown bears were closely related to eastern Hokkaido brown bears and could have diverged from the eastern Hokkaido lineage after formation of the channel between Hokkaido and the southern Kuril Islands. Tibetan brown bears diverged early in the eastern lineage. Southern Hokkaido brown bears were closely related to North American brown bears.

  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.

  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.

  11. Liver and kidney structure and iron content in romanian brown bears (Ursus arctos) before and after hibernation.

    PubMed

    Prunescu, Carol- Constantin; Serban-Parau, Nicolae; Brock, Jeremy H; Vaughan, Diane M; Prunescu, Paula

    2003-01-01

    The annual cycle of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) in the Carpathian Mountains (Romania) consists of an active period from April to November, and an inactive period (hibernation) of approximately 4-5 months between November and March. During hibernation, the brown bears sleep continually and do not feed or drink water. Analyses of liver and kidney of male brown bears showed that liver iron content was 3 times higher in bears at the end of hibernation than at the end of the active period. A possible trend towards a decrease in iron content was noted for the kidney. The presence of iron in the liver was confirmed by the presence of the Perls-positive granules in the cytoplasm of Kupffer cells, in other non-parenchymal cells and also in some hepatocytes. The hepatic veins of the bear liver samples obtained in early spring showed narrower lumens with pleated walls, compared to the normal outline of the hepatic veins in the liver from the bears sampled during autumn. Also in the early spring bears, the renal glomeruli were partially fibrosed. Renal glomerular fibrosis was sometimes observed in samples from the prehibernation period. The tissue iron values from the livers and kidneys of brown bears in early spring or autumn might provide useful data on iron metabolism under conditions of hibernation and accompanying starvation.

  12. 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.

  13. Brown bears (Ursus arctos) seem resistant to atherosclerosis despite highly elevated plasma lipids during hibernation and active state.

    PubMed

    Arinell, Karin; Sahdo, Berolla; Evans, Alina L; Arnemo, Jon M; Baandrup, Ulrik; Fröbert, Ole

    2012-06-01

    Hibernation is an extreme physiological challenge for the brown bear (Ursus arctos) in which metabolism is based mainly on lipids. The study objective was to compare plasma lipids in hibernating and active free-ranging brown bears and relate them to arterial histopathology. Blood was drawn from seven immobilized free-ranging brown bears (three females, 2-3 years old) during hibernation in February and from the same bears while active in June and analyzed by enzymatic and automated hematology methods within 48 hours of sampling. Left anterior descending coronary arteries and aortic arches from 12 bears (six females, 1.5-12 years old) killed in hunting were examined by histopathology. Total plasma cholesterol decreased from hibernation to the active period (11.08 ± 1.04 mmol/L vs. 7.89 ± 1.96 mmol/L, P= 0.0028) as did triglyceride (3.16 ± 0.62 mmol/L vs. 1.44 ± 0.27 mmol/L, P= 0.00012) and LDL cholesterol (4.30 ± 0.71 mmol/L vs. 2.02 ± 1.03 mmol/L, P= 0.0075), whereas HDL cholesterol was unchanged. No atherosclerosis, fatty streaks, foam cell infiltration, or inflammation were seen in any arterial samples. Brown bears tolerate elevated cholesterol levels, obesity, physical inactivity, and circulatory slow flow during hibernation without signs of -atherosclerosis. This species might serve as a reverse translational model for atherosclerosis resistance.

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. Behavioural differences between single scandinavian brown bears (Ursus arctos) and females with dependent young when experimentally approached by humans.

    PubMed

    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.

  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.

  18. EFFECT OF ACTIVE COOLING AND α-2 ADRENOCEPTOR ANTAGONISM ON CORE TEMPERATURE IN ANESTHETIZED BROWN BEARS (URSUS ARCTOS).

    PubMed

    Ozeki, Larissa Mourad; Caulkett, Nigel; Stenhouse, Gordon; Arnemo, Jon M; Fahlman, Åsa

    2015-06-01

    Hyperthermia is a common complication during anesthesia of bears, and it can be life threatening. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of active cooling on core body temperature for treatment of hyperthermia in anesthetized brown bears (Ursus arctos). In addition, body temperature after reversal with atipamezole was also evaluated. Twenty-five adult and subadult brown bears were captured with a combination of zolazepam-tiletamine and xylazine or medetomidine. A core temperature capsule was inserted into the bears' stomach or 15 cm into their rectum or a combination of both. In six bears with gastric temperatures≥40.0°C, an active cooling protocol was performed, and the temperature change over 30 min was analyzed. The cooling protocol consisted of enemas with 2 L of water at approximately 5°C/100 kg of body weight every 10 min, 1 L of intravenous fluids at ambient temperature, water or snow on the paws or the inguinal area, intranasal oxygen supplementation, and removing the bear from direct sunlight or providing shade. Nine bears with body temperature>39.0°C that were not cooled served as control for the treated animals. Their body temperatures were recorded for 30 min, prior to administration of reversal. At the end of the anesthetic procedure, all bears received an intramuscular dose of atipamezole. In 10 bears, deep rectal temperature change over 30 min after administration of atipamezole was evaluated. The active cooling protocol used in hyperthermic bears significantly decreased their body temperatures within 10 min, and it produced a significantly greater decrease in their temperature than that recorded in the control group.

  19. 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.

  20. Allelic diversity of the MHC class II DRB genes in brown bears (Ursus arctos) and a comparison of DRB sequences within the family Ursidae.

    PubMed

    Goda, N; Mano, T; Kosintsev, P; Vorobiev, A; Masuda, R

    2010-11-01

    The allelic diversity of the DRB locus in major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes was analyzed in the brown bear (Ursus arctos) from the Hokkaido Island of Japan, Siberia, and Kodiak of Alaska. Nineteen alleles of the DRB exon 2 were identified from a total of 38 individuals of U. arctos and were highly polymorphic. Comparisons of non-synonymous and synonymous substitutions in the antigen-binding sites of deduced amino acid sequences indicated evidence for balancing selection on the bear DRB locus. The phylogenetic analysis of the DRB alleles among three genera (Ursus, Tremarctos, and Ailuropoda) in the family Ursidae revealed that DRB allelic lineages were not separated according to species. This strongly shows trans-species persistence of DRB alleles within the Ursidae.

  1. Y chromosome haplotype distribution of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Northern Europe provides insight into population history and recovery.

    PubMed

    Schregel, Julia; Eiken, Hans Geir; Grøndahl, Finn Audun; Hailer, Frank; Aspi, Jouni; Kojola, Ilpo; Tirronen, Konstantin; Danilov, Piotr; Rykov, Alexander; Poroshin, Eugene; Janke, Axel; Swenson, Jon E; Hagen, Snorre B

    2015-12-01

    High-resolution, male-inherited Y-chromosomal markers are a useful tool for population genetic analyses of wildlife species, but to date have only been applied in this context to relatively few species besides humans. Using nine Y-chromosomal STRs and three Y-chromosomal single nucleotide polymorphism markers (Y-SNPs), we studied whether male gene flow was important for the recent recovery of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) in Northern Europe, where the species declined dramatically in numbers and geographical distribution during the last centuries but is expanding now. We found 36 haplotypes in 443 male extant brown bears from Sweden, Norway, Finland and northwestern Russia. In 14 individuals from southern Norway from 1780 to 1920, we found two Y chromosome haplotypes present in the extant population as well as four Y chromosome haplotypes not present among the modern samples. Our results suggested major differences in genetic connectivity, diversity and structure between the eastern and the western populations in Northern Europe. In the west, our results indicated that the recovered population originated from only four male lineages, displaying pronounced spatial structuring suggestive of large-scale population size increase under limited male gene flow within the western subpopulation. In the east, we found a contrasting pattern, with high haplotype diversity and admixture. This first population genetic analysis of male brown bears shows conclusively that male gene flow was not the main force of population recovery.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Biochemical Foundations of Health and Energy Conservation in Hibernating Free-ranging Subadult Brown Bear Ursus arctos.

    PubMed

    Welinder, Karen Gjesing; Hansen, Rasmus; Overgaard, Michael Toft; Brohus, Malene; Sønderkær, Mads; von Bergen, Martin; Rolle-Kampczyk, Ulrike; Otto, Wolfgang; Lindahl, Tomas L; Arinell, Karin; Evans, Alina L; Swenson, Jon E; Revsbech, Inge G; Frøbert, Ole

    2016-10-21

    Brown bears (Ursus arctos) hibernate for 5-7 months without eating, drinking, urinating, and defecating at a metabolic rate of only 25% of the summer activity rate. Nonetheless, they emerge healthy and alert in spring. We quantified the biochemical adaptations for hibernation by comparing the proteome, metabolome, and hematological features of blood from hibernating and active free-ranging subadult brown bears with a focus on conservation of health and energy. We found that total plasma protein concentration increased during hibernation, even though the concentrations of most individual plasma proteins decreased, as did the white blood cell types. Strikingly, antimicrobial defense proteins increased in concentration. Central functions in hibernation involving the coagulation response and protease inhibition, as well as lipid transport and metabolism, were upheld by increased levels of very few key or broad specificity proteins. The changes in coagulation factor levels matched the changes in activity measurements. A dramatic 45-fold increase in sex hormone-binding globulin levels during hibernation draws, for the first time, attention to its significant but unknown role in maintaining hibernation physiology. We propose that energy for the costly protein synthesis is reduced by three mechanisms as follows: (i) dehydration, which increases protein concentration without de novo synthesis; (ii) reduced protein degradation rates due to a 6 °C reduction in body temperature and decreased protease activity; and (iii) a marked redistribution of energy resources only increasing de novo synthesis of a few key proteins. The comprehensive global data identified novel biochemical strategies for bear adaptations to the extreme condition of hibernation and have implications for our understanding of physiology in general.

  7. 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

  8. Evaluation of the accuracy of different methods of monitoring body temperature in anesthetized brown bears (Ursus arctos).

    PubMed

    Ozeki, Larissa Mourad; Fahlman, Asa; Stenhouse, Gordon; Arnemo, Jon M; Caulkett, Nigel

    2014-12-01

    There is some evidence that the handheld rectal thermometer does not accurately measure core temperature in bears. The objective of this study was to compare body temperature measured by the handheld digital thermometer (HDT), deep rectally inserted core temperature capsules (CTCs), and gastrically inserted CTCs in anesthetized brown bears (Ursus arctos). Twenty-two brown bears were immobilized with a combination of zolazepam-tiletamine and xylazine or medetomidine. After immobilization, one CTC was inserted 15 cm deep into the animal's rectum (DRTC) with a standard applicator, and another CTC was inserted into the stomach (GTC) via a gastric tube inserted orally. Temperature was measured every 5-10 min with an HDT. Paired temperature data points were analyzed with the Bland-Altman technique for repeated measurements and regression analysis with a significance level of 0.05. The mean difference ± SD of the difference between HDT and GTC readings was 0.27 ± 0.47 degrees C and the 95% limits of agreement (LoA) were 1.20 and -0.66 degrees C. The determination coefficient (r2) found between these methods was 0.68 (P < 0.0001). The mean difference ± SD of the difference between HDT and DRTC readings was 0.36 ± 0.32 degreesC and the 95% LoA were 1.0 and -0.28 degrees C. The r2 between HDT and DRTC was 0.83 (P < 0.0001). The mean difference ± SD of the difference between the two insertions of the VitalSense capsules was -0.06 ± 0.24 degrees C and the 95% LoA were 0.42 and -0.54 degrees C. The r2 found between GTC and DRTC was 0.91 (P < 0.0001). This study demonstrates that DRTC provided accurate measurement of core temperature and that HDT did not accurately measure core temperature, compared with GTC in anesthetized brown bears.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Diseases and mortality in free-ranging brown bear (Ursus arctos), gray wolf (Canis lupus), and wolverine (Gulo gulo) in Sweden.

    PubMed

    Mörner, Torsten; Eriksson, Hanna; Bröjer, Caroline; Nilsson, Kristina; Uhlhorn, Henrik; Agren, Erik; af Segerstad, Carl Hård; Jansson, Désirée S; Gavier-Widén, Dolores

    2005-04-01

    Ninety-eight brown bears (Ursus arctos), 20 gray wolves (Canis lupus), and 27 wolverines (Gulo gulo), all free-ranging, were submitted to the National Veterinary Institute, Uppsala, Sweden, during 1987-2001 for investigation of diseases and causes of mortality. The most common cause of natural death in brown bears was infanticide. Infanticide also was observed in wolverines but not in wolves. Traumatic injuries, originating from road or railway accidents, were the most common cause of death in wolves and occurred occasionally in brown bears. Most wolverines were submitted as forensic cases in which illegal hunting/poaching was suspected. Sarcoptic mange was observed in several wolves but not in brown bears or wolverines. Sarcoptic mange most likely was acquired from infected red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) that were killed by wolves. Other parasites and infectious diseases were only found sporadically.

  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. 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).

    PubMed

    Robison, Hillary L; Schwartz, Charles C; Petty, Jim D; Brussard, Peter F

    2006-09-01

    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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. A Double-Blinded, Randomized Comparison of Medetomidine-Tiletamine-Zolazepam and Dexmedetomidine-Tiletamine-Zolazepam Anesthesia in Free-Ranging Brown Bears (Ursus Arctos)

    PubMed Central

    Cattet, Marc; Zedrosser, Andreas; Stenhouse, Gordon B.; Küker, Susanne; Evans, Alina L.; Arnemo, Jon M.

    2017-01-01

    We compared anesthetic features, blood parameters, and physiological responses to either medetomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam or dexmedetomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam using a double-blinded, randomized experimental design during 40 anesthetic events of free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos) either captured by helicopter in Sweden or by culvert trap in Canada. Induction was smooth and predictable with both anesthetic protocols. Induction time, the need for supplemental drugs to sustain anesthesia, and capture-related stress were analyzed using generalized linear models, but anesthetic protocol did not differentially affect these variables. Arterial blood gases and acid-base status, and physiological responses were examined using linear mixed models. We documented acidemia (pH of arterial blood < 7.35), hypoxemia (partial pressure of arterial oxygen < 80 mmHg), and hypercapnia (partial pressure of arterial carbon dioxide ≥ 45 mmHg) with both protocols. Arterial pH and oxygen partial pressure were similar between groups with the latter improving markedly after oxygen supplementation (p < 0.001). We documented dose-dependent effects of both anesthetic protocols on induction time and arterial oxygen partial pressure. The partial pressure of arterial carbon dioxide increased as respiratory rate increased with medetomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam, but not with dexmedetomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam, demonstrating a differential drug effect. Differences in heart rate, respiratory rate, and rectal temperature among bears could not be attributed to the anesthetic protocol. Heart rate increased with increasing rectal temperature (p < 0.001) and ordinal day of capture (p = 0.002). Respiratory rate was significantly higher in bears captured by helicopter in Sweden than in bears captured by culvert trap in Canada (p < 0.001). Rectal temperature significantly decreased over time (p ≤ 0.05). Overall, we did not find any benefit of using dexmedetomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam instead of

  19. A Double-Blinded, Randomized Comparison of Medetomidine-Tiletamine-Zolazepam and Dexmedetomidine-Tiletamine-Zolazepam Anesthesia in Free-Ranging Brown Bears (Ursus Arctos).

    PubMed

    Fandos Esteruelas, Núria; Cattet, Marc; Zedrosser, Andreas; Stenhouse, Gordon B; Küker, Susanne; Evans, Alina L; Arnemo, Jon M

    2017-01-01

    We compared anesthetic features, blood parameters, and physiological responses to either medetomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam or dexmedetomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam using a double-blinded, randomized experimental design during 40 anesthetic events of free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos) either captured by helicopter in Sweden or by culvert trap in Canada. Induction was smooth and predictable with both anesthetic protocols. Induction time, the need for supplemental drugs to sustain anesthesia, and capture-related stress were analyzed using generalized linear models, but anesthetic protocol did not differentially affect these variables. Arterial blood gases and acid-base status, and physiological responses were examined using linear mixed models. We documented acidemia (pH of arterial blood < 7.35), hypoxemia (partial pressure of arterial oxygen < 80 mmHg), and hypercapnia (partial pressure of arterial carbon dioxide ≥ 45 mmHg) with both protocols. Arterial pH and oxygen partial pressure were similar between groups with the latter improving markedly after oxygen supplementation (p < 0.001). We documented dose-dependent effects of both anesthetic protocols on induction time and arterial oxygen partial pressure. The partial pressure of arterial carbon dioxide increased as respiratory rate increased with medetomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam, but not with dexmedetomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam, demonstrating a differential drug effect. Differences in heart rate, respiratory rate, and rectal temperature among bears could not be attributed to the anesthetic protocol. Heart rate increased with increasing rectal temperature (p < 0.001) and ordinal day of capture (p = 0.002). Respiratory rate was significantly higher in bears captured by helicopter in Sweden than in bears captured by culvert trap in Canada (p < 0.001). Rectal temperature significantly decreased over time (p ≤ 0.05). Overall, we did not find any benefit of using dexmedetomidine-tiletamine-zolazepam instead of

  20. 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.

  1. Dietary protein content alters energy expenditure and composition of the mass gain in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis).

    PubMed

    Felicetti, Laura A; Robbins, Charles T; Shipley, Lisa A

    2003-01-01

    Many fruits contain high levels of available energy but very low levels of protein and other nutrients. The discrepancy between available energy and protein creates a physiological paradox for many animals consuming high-fruit diets, as they will be protein deficient if they eat to meet their minimum energy requirement. We fed young grizzly bears both high-energy pelleted and fruit diets containing from 1.6% to 15.4% protein to examine the role of diet-induced thermogenesis and fat synthesis in dealing with high-energy-low-protein diets. Digestible energy intake at mass maintenance increased 2.1 times, and composition of the gain changed from primarily lean mass to entirely fat when the protein content of the diet decreased from 15.4% to 1.6%. Daily fat gain was up to three times higher in bears fed low-protein diets ad lib., compared with bears consuming the higher-protein diet and gaining mass at the same rate. Thus, bears eating fruit can either consume other foods to increase dietary protein content and reduce energy expenditure, intake, and potentially foraging time or overeat high-fruit diets and use diet-induced thermogenesis and fat synthesis to deal with their skewed energy-to-protein ratio. These are not discrete options but a continuum that creates numerous solutions for balancing energy expenditure, intake, foraging time, fat accumulation, and ultimately fitness, depending on food availability, foraging efficiency, bear size, and body condition.

  2. Grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) locomotion: forelimb joint mechanics across speed in the sagittal and frontal planes.

    PubMed

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

    2017-04-01

    The majority of terrestrial locomotion studies have focused on parasagittal motion and paid less attention to forces or movement in the frontal plane. Our previous research has shown that grizzly bears produce higher medial ground reaction forces (lateral pushing from the animal) than would be expected for an upright mammal, suggesting frontal plane movement may be an important aspect of their locomotion. To examine this, we conducted an inverse dynamics analysis in the sagittal and frontal planes, using ground reaction forces and position data from three high-speed cameras of four adult female grizzly bears. Over the speed range collected, the bears used walks, running walks and canters. The scapulohumeral joint, wrist and the limb overall absorb energy (average total net work of the forelimb joints, -0.97 W kg(-1)). The scapulohumeral joint, elbow and total net work of the forelimb joints have negative relationships with speed, resulting in more energy absorbed by the forelimb at higher speeds (running walks and canters). The net joint moment and power curves maintain similar patterns across speed as in previously studied species, suggesting grizzly bears maintain similar joint dynamics to other mammalian quadrupeds. There is no significant relationship with net work and speed at any joint in the frontal plane. The total net work of the forelimb joints in the frontal plane was not significantly different from zero, suggesting that, despite the high medial ground reaction forces, the forelimb acts as a strut in that plane.

  3. Mitogenetic structure of brown bears (Ursus arctos L.) in northeastern Europe and a new time frame for the formation of European brown bear lineages.

    PubMed

    Saarma, Urmas; Ho, Simon Y W; Pybus, Oliver G; Kaljuste, Marju; Tumanov, Igor L; Kojola, Ilpo; Vorobiev, Alex A; Markov, Nikolai I; Saveljev, Alexander P; Valdmann, Harri; Lyapunova, Elena A; Abramov, Alexei V; Männil, Peep; Korsten, Marju; Vulla, Egle; Pazetnov, Sergei V; Pazetnov, Valentin S; Putchkovskiy, Stanislav V; Rõkov, Alexander M

    2007-01-01

    We estimated the phylogenetic relationships of brown bear maternal haplotypes from countries of northeastern Europe (Estonia, Finland and European Russia), using sequences of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) control region of 231 bears. Twenty-five mtDNA haplotypes were identified. The brown bear population in northeastern Europe can be divided into three haplogroups: one with bears from all three countries, one with bears from Finland and Russia, and the third composed almost exclusively of bears from European Russia. Four haplotypes from Finland and European Russia matched exactly with haplotypes from Slovakia, suggesting the significance of the current territory of Slovakia in ancient demographic processes of brown bears. Based on the results of this study and those from the recent literature, we hypothesize that the West Carpathian Mountains have served either as one of the northernmost refuge areas or as an important movement corridor for brown bears of the Eastern lineage towards northern Europe during or after the last ice age. Bayesian analyses were performed to investigate the temporal framework of brown bear lineages in Europe. The molecular clock was calibrated using Beringian brown bear sequences derived from radiocarbon-dated ancient samples, and the estimated mutation rate was 29.8% (13.3%-47.6%) per million years. The whole European population and Western and Eastern lineages formed about 175,000, 70,000 and 25,000 years before present, respectively. Our approach to estimating the time frame of brown bear evolution demonstrates the importance of using an appropriate mutation rate, and this has implications for other studies of Pleistocene populations.

  4. Effect of colloid (Androcoll-Bear, Percoll, and PureSperm) selection on the freezability of brown bear (Ursus arctos) sperm.

    PubMed

    Álvarez-Rodríguez, M; Álvarez, M; Anel-López, L; López-Urueña, E; Manrique, P; Borragán, S; Morrell, J M; de Paz, P; Anel, L

    2016-04-01

    The development of a species-specific conservation protocol that involves artificial insemination with frozen semen needs to validate an effective methodology for freezing semen. Colloid centrifugation has been suggested and widely applied as an effective tool for selecting animal spermatozoa for artificial breeding. The objective of the present study was to compare different methods of centrifugation, single layer using Androcoll-Bear and Percoll and double layer using PureSperm 100 (in two different discontinuous gradients 40%-80% and 45%-90%), for the selection of fresh brown bear sperm samples. In the before freezing group, all selected samples showed a higher progressive motility and viability (except Percoll for motility 43.0 ± 5.3 [P < 0.05]); all colloids except PureSperm 45/90% rendered samples with fewer damaged acrosomes. In the after thawing group, all tested centrifugation colloids showed a good capacity to decrease the number of damaged acrosomes. Furthermore, PureSperm treatment (45/90%) resulted in an increase in apoptotic-like changes not only immediately after thawing but also after the incubation test, leading us to suggest that this gradient could induce some kind of deleterious effects on the sperm samples. On the other hand, PureSperm treatment (40/80%) yielded a quality preservation capacity similar to Androcoll-Bear in number of damaged acrosomes, different relative to the control (control, 5.3 ± 0.6; PureSperm 80, 2.0 ± 0.3; Androcoll, 2.1 ± 0.9 [P < 0.05]) but a decrease in the number of viable spermatozoa recovered after thawing relative to the control (control, 21.2 ± 3.1; PureSperm 80, 13.7 ± 2.7 [P < 0.05]). In conclusion, Androcoll-Bear constitutes a useful tool for handling of brown bear ejaculates owing to its simple handling and procedure with a reliable sperm selection and freezability. This colloid yielded an improvement in several sperm parameters in brown bear frozen-thawed semen; the selected spermatozoa of fresh samples

  5. 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.

  6. Escherichia coli isolated from feces of brown bears (Ursus arctos) have a lower prevalence of human extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli virulence-associated genes.

    PubMed

    Vadnov, Maruša; Barbič, Damjana; Žgur-Bertok, Darja; Erjavec, Marjanca Starčič

    2017-01-01

    Eighty-six Escherichia coli strains from feces of either wild brown bears or those living in a zoo were screened for phylogenetic groups using the revisited Clermont phylotyping method and the prevalence of 24 virulence-associated genes (VAGs) of extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli (ExPEC). Our results showed that most strains of E. coli in bears belonged to phylogenetic groups III/IV/V (29%) and B1 (26%). Only half of the tested VAGs were found in the E. coli bear strains, with fimH present in 72%, ompT in 63%, and kpsMT in 43% of the strains. When the data obtained on the fecal E. coli strains from brown bears were compared with the data obtained on 90 fecal E. coli strains from healthy humans, there were significant differences in E. coli population structures between both hosts.

  7. Genetic relationships of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in the Prudhoe Bay region of Alaska: inference from microsatellite DNA, mitochondrial DNA, and field observations.

    PubMed

    Cronin, M; Shideler, R; Hechtel, J; Strobeck, C; Paetkau, D

    1999-01-01

    Grizzly bears are abundant in the region of the Prudhoe Bay oil fields in northern Alaska. We used field observations and molecular genetic data to identify parent-offspring and sibling relationships among bears in this region. We determined genotypes at 14 microsatellite DNA loci and the cytochrome b gene of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) for 36 bears. We identified 17 possible mother-offspring pairs and 8 possible father-offspring pairs. This includes verification of the relationships of 14 mother-offspring pairs identified from field observations. Three additional mother-offspring pairs and all eight father-offspring pairs were determined from genetic and age data. Relatedness coefficients based on numbers of shared alleles between individuals were as expected: approximately 0.50 for parent-offspring and sibling pairs and approximately 0.75 for a father-offspring pair resulting from a father-daughter mating. The level of genetic variation (mean number of alleles per locus = 6.6, mean heterozygosity = 70%) and allele frequencies in grizzly bears in the Prudhoe Bay region are similar to those in other parts of the species' range.

  8. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Cronin, M.A.; Amstrup, S.; Garner, G.; Vyse, Ernest 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.

  10. 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

    2015-11-24

    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.

  11. 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

  12. The history of effective population size and genetic diversity in the Yellowstone grizzly (Ursus arctos): implications for conservation.

    PubMed

    Miller, Craig R; Waits, Lisette P

    2003-04-01

    Protein, mtDNA, and nuclear microsatellite DNA analyses have demonstrated that the Yellowstone grizzly bear has low levels of genetic variability compared with other Ursus arctos populations. Researchers have attributed this difference to inbreeding during a century of anthropogenic isolation and population size reduction. We test this hypothesis and assess the seriousness of genetic threats by generating microsatellite data for 110 museum specimens collected between 1912 and 1981. A loss of variability is detected, but it is much less severe than hypothesized. Variance in allele frequencies over time is used to estimate an effective population size of approximately 80 across the 20th century and >100 currently. The viability of the population is unlikely to be substantially reduced by genetic factors in the next several generations. However, gene flow from outside populations will be beneficial in avoiding inbreeding and the erosion of genetic diversity in the future.

  13. 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.

  14. Trichinella surveillance in black bears (Ursus americanus) from Oregon, USA.

    PubMed

    Mortenson, J A; Kent, M L; Fowler, D R; Chomel, B B; Immell, D A

    2014-01-01

    We used serology and muscle digestion to test black bears (Ursus americanus) from western Oregon, USA, for Trichinella. Results indicate black bears in Oregon are not part of a sylvatic cycle for Trichinella, and risk of human exposure to Trichinella larvae from eating black bear meat from Oregon appears low.

  15. 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.

  16. Glucuronidation in the polar bear (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Sacco, James C; James, Margaret O

    2004-01-01

    Polar bears bioaccumulate lipophilic pollutants, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), into their bodies from their exclusive diet of marine organisms. Hydroxylated PCB metabolites (OH-PCBs) have been found in plasma, presumably due to CYP-dependent biotransformation of PCBs in liver. Little is known about the phase 2 metabolism of hydroxylated xenobiotics in polar bears. The objective of this study was to examine UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) activity with OH-PCBs and a hydroxylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, 3-hydroxy-benzo(a)pyrene (3-OH-BaP), in polar bear liver. Samples of frozen polar bear liver were used to prepare microsomes. UGT activity with 3-OH-BaP in Brij-treated microsomes, measured by a fluorescence assay, was readily measurable with protein concentrations in assay tubes of up to 10 g/ml, but dropped off very sharply at higher protein concentrations. The apparent Km for 3-OH-BaP was 1.71 +/- 0.04 microM, and Vmax 1.26 +/- 0.16 nmol/min/mg protein (mean +/- SD, n=3). UGT activities with a model tetrachloro-OH-PCB (4'-OH-CB72) and a model hexachloro-OH-PCB (4'-OH-CB159) were assayed with [14-C]-UDPGA and separation of the [14-C]-glucuronide by ion-pair extraction and thin-layer chromatography. [14-C]-glucuronide conjugates were readily formed by polar bear liver microsomes in the absence of added substrate, apparently from contaminants present in liver. This phenomenon was not observed using hepatic microsomes from laboratory-held catfish. Glucuronidation efficiency was much higher with 4'-OH-CB72 (Km 7.3 microM; Vmax 1.55 nmol/min/mg) than 4'-OH-CB159 (Km 16.1 microM; Vmax 0.46 nmol/min/mg). The identities of the aglycones present in polar bear liver are not known, but could include OH-PCBs or hydroxylated metabolites of other persistent organic pollutants. This study demonstrates that UGT with high activity for 3-OH-BaP and other substrates is present in polar bear liver.

  17. 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.

  18. Acquired umbilical hernias in four captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Velguth, Karen E; Rochat, Mark C; Langan, Jennifer N; Backues, Kay

    2009-12-01

    Umbilical hernias are a common occurrence in domestic animals and humans but have not been well documented in polar bears. Surgical reduction and herniorrhaphies were performed to correct acquired hernias in the region of the umbilicus in four adult captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus) housed in North American zoos. Two of the four bears were clinically unaffected by their hernias prior to surgery. One bear showed signs of severe discomfort following acute enlargement of the hernia. In another bear, re-herniation led to acute abdominal pain due to gastric entrapment and strangulation. The hernias in three bears were surgically repaired by debridement of the hernia ring and direct apposition of the abdominal wall, while the large defect in the most severely affected bear was closed using polypropylene mesh to prevent excessive tension. The cases in this series demonstrate that while small hernias may remain clinically inconsequential for long periods of time, enlargement or recurrence of the defect can lead to incarceration and acute abdominal crisis. Umbilical herniation has not been reported in free-ranging polar bears, and it is suspected that factors such as body condition, limited exercise, or enclosure design potentially contribute to the development of umbilical hernias in captive polar bears.

  19. 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.

  20. 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).

  1. 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.

  2. Bear attack--A unique fatality in Finland.

    PubMed

    De Giorgio, Fabio; Rainio, Juha; Pascali, Vincenzo; Lalu, Kaisa

    2007-11-15

    Fatalities due to animal bites, the vast majority of which are associated with dogs and big cats, are relatively uncommon and rarely described in the literature. Especially rare are fatal bear attacks on humans. We herein present a forensic investigation of a fatal assault, involving numerous bites on a 42-year-old man in Finland by an European brown bear (Ursus arctos arctos).

  3. 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...

  4. 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.

  5. Blindness in a wild American black bear cub (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Dombrowski, Elizabeth; McGregor, Glenna F; Bauer, Bianca S; Parker, Dennilyn; Grahn, Bruce H

    2016-07-01

    An approximately six-month-old wild American black bear (Ursus americanus) was found wandering in Saskatchewan and was presented to the Veterinary Medical Centre of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine for apparent blindness. Clinical examination confirmed an inability to navigate a photopic maze, bilateral tapetal hyper-reflectivity, fundi devoid of retinal vessels, and small pale optic nerve papillae. Single-flash electroretinography revealed A and B-wave amplitudes of approximately 40 and 140 microvolts, respectively, in both eyes. Histologic abnormalities included bilateral optic papillary mineralization and bilateral segmental optic nerve degeneration, with occasional intralesional lymphocytes confirmed with immunohistochemistry for CD3+. There was also bilateral multifocal retinal dysplasia, gliosis, lymphocytic retinitis, a complete lack of retinal blood vessels, an intravitreal vascular membrane, and a mild lymphocytic-plasmacytic uveitis with small pre-iridal cellular membranes. The presence of a positive ERG in a blind bear with numerous retinal ganglion cells and degenerative changes in the optic nerve are most consistent with vision loss due to optic nerve injury, which given the young age of the bear likely occurred during ocular development. The presence of ocular inflammation suggests this injury resulted from an inflammatory/infectious process. The etiology could not be determined. Hepatic concentrations of vitamin A were within the normal reference range for domestic species. Pan-herpesvirus PCR and immunohistochemistry for canine distemper virus and Toxoplasma gondii were negative, although this does not rule out these or other infectious etiologies. This represents the first case report of neonatal or congenital ocular abnormalities in an ursid species.

  6. 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.

  7. 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 ...

  8. Seroprevalence of Toxoplasma gondii in American Black Bears ( Ursus americanus ) of the Central Appalachians, USA.

    PubMed

    Cox, John J; Murphy, Sean M; Augustine, Ben C; Guthrie, Joseph M; Hast, John T; Maehr, Sutton C; McDermott, Joseph

    2017-03-20

    We assessed Toxoplasma gondii seroprevalence in 53 free-ranging American black bears ( Ursus americanus ) in the Central Appalachian Mountains, US. Seroprevalence was 62% with no difference between males and females or between juvenile and adult bears. Wildlife agencies should consider warnings in hunter education programs to reduce the chances for human infection from this source.

  9. Annual changes in serum leptin concentration in the adult female Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    PubMed

    Tsubota, Toshio; Sato, Miho; Okano, Tsukasa; Nakamura, Sachiko; Asano, Makoto; Komatsu, Takeshi; Shibata, Haruki; Saito, Masayuki

    2008-12-01

    In the present study, assay of the serum leptin concentration of the Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) was attempted using a canine-leptin-specific sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The dose-response curve of the bear serum was linear and parallel to the canine leptin standard curve. In mated and unmated bears, the serum leptin concentration was stable at low levels from May to August or September, gradually increased from September or October, and then remarkably increased in late November. We conclude that this method may be useful for measuring bear serum leptin concentration and that the serum leptin concentration changes annually with a peak in late November.

  10. 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.

  11. 75 FR 14496 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Reinstatement of Protections for the Grizzly Bear...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-03-26

    ...; Reinstatement of Protections for the Grizzly Bear in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in Compliance With Court... grizzly bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) in the Greater Yellowstone Area (GYA) and surrounding area. This rule corrects the grizzly bear listing to reinstate the listing of grizzly bears in the GYA. This...

  12. Acute Chagas' cardiopathy in a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) in Guadalajara, Mexico.

    PubMed

    Jaime-Andrade, J; Avila-Figueroa, D; Lozano-Kasten, F J; Hernández-Gutiérrez, R J; Magallón-Gastélum, E; Kasten-Monges, M J; Lopes, E R

    1997-01-01

    We report a 24-year-old female polar bear (Ursus maritimus) who contracted Chagas' infection at the Guadalajara Zoo, in Jalisco, México, and died of acute Chagas' carditis 15 days later. The histopathological findings are described, as well as the presence of triatomids (Triatoma longipennis Usinger) infected with Trypanosoma cruzi collected within 5 meters from the place where the animal lived in the city of Guadalajara.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Picture object recognition in an American black bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Johnson-Ulrich, Zoe; Vonk, Jennifer; Humbyrd, Mary; Crowley, Marilyn; Wojtkowski, Ela; Yates, Florence; Allard, Stephanie

    2016-11-01

    Many animals have been tested for conceptual discriminations using two-dimensional images as stimuli, and many of these species appear to transfer knowledge from 2D images to analogous real life objects. We tested an American black bear for picture-object recognition using a two alternative forced choice task. She was presented with four unique sets of objects and corresponding pictures. The bear showed generalization from both objects to pictures and pictures to objects; however, her transfer was superior when transferring from real objects to pictures, suggesting that bears can recognize visual features from real objects within photographic images during discriminations.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. Retreat and extinction of the Late Pleistocene cave bear ( Ursus spelaeus sensu lato)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baca, Mateusz; Popović, Danijela; Stefaniak, Krzysztof; Marciszak, Adrian; Urbanowski, Mikołaj; Nadachowski, Adam; Mackiewicz, Paweł

    2016-12-01

    The cave bear ( Ursus spelaeus sensu lato) is a typical representative of Pleistocene megafauna which became extinct at the end of the Last Glacial. Detailed knowledge of cave bear extinction could explain this spectacular ecological transformation. The paper provides a report on the youngest remains of the cave bear dated to 20,930 ± 140 14C years before present (BP). Ancient DNA analyses proved its affiliation to the Ursus ingressus haplotype. Using this record and 205 other dates, we determined, following eight approaches, the extinction time of this mammal at 26,100-24,300 cal. years BP. The time is only slightly earlier, i.e. 27,000-26,100 cal. years BP, when young dates without associated collagen data are excluded. The demise of cave bear falls within the coldest phase of the last glacial period, Greenland Stadial 3. This finding and the significant decrease in the cave bear records with cooling indicate that the drastic climatic changes were responsible for its extinction. Climate deterioration lowered vegetation productivity, on which the cave bear strongly depended as a strict herbivore. The distribution of the last cave bear records in Europe suggests that this animal was vanishing by fragmentation into subpopulations occupying small habitats. One of them was the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland in Poland, where we discovered the latest record of the cave bear and also two other, younger than 25,000 14C years BP. The relatively long survival of this bear in karst regions may result from suitable microclimate and continuous access to water provided by deep aquifers, indicating a refugial role of such regions in the Pleistocene for many species.

  20. Retreat and extinction of the Late Pleistocene cave bear (Ursus spelaeus sensu lato).

    PubMed

    Baca, Mateusz; Popović, Danijela; Stefaniak, Krzysztof; Marciszak, Adrian; Urbanowski, Mikołaj; Nadachowski, Adam; Mackiewicz, Paweł

    2016-12-01

    The cave bear (Ursus spelaeus sensu lato) is a typical representative of Pleistocene megafauna which became extinct at the end of the Last Glacial. Detailed knowledge of cave bear extinction could explain this spectacular ecological transformation. The paper provides a report on the youngest remains of the cave bear dated to 20,930 ± 140 (14)C years before present (BP). Ancient DNA analyses proved its affiliation to the Ursus ingressus haplotype. Using this record and 205 other dates, we determined, following eight approaches, the extinction time of this mammal at 26,100-24,300 cal. years BP. The time is only slightly earlier, i.e. 27,000-26,100 cal. years BP, when young dates without associated collagen data are excluded. The demise of cave bear falls within the coldest phase of the last glacial period, Greenland Stadial 3. This finding and the significant decrease in the cave bear records with cooling indicate that the drastic climatic changes were responsible for its extinction. Climate deterioration lowered vegetation productivity, on which the cave bear strongly depended as a strict herbivore. The distribution of the last cave bear records in Europe suggests that this animal was vanishing by fragmentation into subpopulations occupying small habitats. One of them was the Kraków-Częstochowa Upland in Poland, where we discovered the latest record of the cave bear and also two other, younger than 25,000 (14)C years BP. The relatively long survival of this bear in karst regions may result from suitable microclimate and continuous access to water provided by deep aquifers, indicating a refugial role of such regions in the Pleistocene for many species.

  1. 78 FR 17708 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Draft Revised Supplement to the Grizzly Bear...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2013-03-22

    ... the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of document... availability of a draft Revised Supplement to the Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan. Specifically, this supplement..., Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) are federally listed as threatened under the Endangered...

  2. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mulcahy, Daniel M.; Garner, Gerald W.

    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 (x̄ = 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.

  4. 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...

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Circumpolar contaminant concentrations in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and potential population-level effects.

    PubMed

    Nuijten, R J M; Hendriks, A J; Jenssen, B M; Schipper, A M

    2016-11-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) currently receive much attention in the context of global climate change. However, there are other stressors that might threaten the viability of polar bear populations as well, such as exposure to anthropogenic pollutants. Lipophilic organic compounds bio-accumulate and bio-magnify in the food chain, leading to high concentrations at the level of top-predators. In Arctic wildlife, including the polar bear, various adverse health effects have been related to internal concentrations of commercially used anthropogenic chemicals like PCB and DDT. The extent to which these individual health effects are associated to population-level effects is, however, unknown. In this study we assembled data on adipose tissue concentrations of ∑PCB, ∑DDT, dieldrin and ∑PBDE in individual polar bears from peer-reviewed scientific literature. Data were available for 14 out of the 19 subpopulations. We found that internal concentrations of these contaminants exceed threshold values for adverse individual health effects in several subpopulations. In an exploratory regression analysis we identified a clear negative correlation between polar bear population density and sub-population specific contaminant concentrations in adipose tissue. The results suggest that adverse health effects of contaminants in individual polar bears may scale up to population-level consequences. Our study highlights the need to consider contaminant exposure along with other threats in polar bear population viability analyses.

  16. Families in space: relatedness in the Barents Sea population of polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Zeyl, E; Aars, J; Ehrich, D; Wiig, O

    2009-02-01

    The kin structure and dispersal pattern of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of the Barents Sea was investigated during the spring mating season using two complementary approaches. First, individual genotypes based on the analyses of 27 microsatellite loci of 583 polar bears were related to field information gathered from 1146 bears in order to reconstruct the animals' pedigrees and to infer geographical distances between adult bears of different relatedness categories. According to the data, the median natal dispersal distance of the male animals was 52 km while that of the females was 93 km. Second, the relatedness of pairs of adult bears was estimated and correlated to the geographical distance between them. The female dyads had a much stronger kin structure than the male dyads. The 'pedigree approach' revealed a male kin structure which could not be detected using the 'relatedness approach'. This suggests that, on a broader scale, effective dispersal is slightly male biased. Despite fidelity to natal areas, male-mediated gene flow may nevertheless prevent genetic differentiation. Males might occasionally shift their home range which could therefore lead to a male-biased breeding dispersal. Our results showed that a nonterritorial species such as the polar bear that has a high dispersal potential, lives in a highly unstable environment and migrates seasonally is still able to exhibit a distinct kin structure during the mating season.

  17. 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.

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

    PubMed

    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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Temporal trends and future predictions of mercury concentrations in Northwest Greenland polar bear (Ursus maritimus) hair.

    PubMed

    Dietz, R; Born, E W; Rigét, F; Aubail, A; Sonne, C; Drimmie, R; Basu, N

    2011-02-15

    Hair samples from 117 Northwest Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) were taken during 1892-2008 and analyzed for total mercury (hereafter Hg). The sample represented 28 independent years and the aim of the study was to analyze for temporal Hg trends. Mercury concentrations showed yearly significant increases of 1.6-1.7% (p < 0.0001) from 1892 to 2008 and the two most recent median concentrations from 2006 and 2008 were 23- to 27-fold higher respectively than baseline level from 1300 A.D. in the same region (Nuullit). This indicates that the present (2006-2008) Northwest Greenland polar bear Hg exposure is 95.6-96.2% anthropogenic in its origin. Assuming a continued anthropogenic increase, this model estimated concentrations in 2050 and 2100 will be 40- and 92-fold the baseline concentration, respectively, which is equivalent to a 97.5 and 98.9% man-made contribution. None of the 2001-2008 concentrations of Hg in Northwest Greenland polar bear hair exceeded the general guideline values of 20-30 μg/g dry weight for terrestrial wildlife, whereas the neurochemical effect level of 5.4 μg Hg/g dry weight proposed for East Greenland polar bears was exceeded in 93.5% of the cases. These results call for detailed effect studies in main target organs such as brain, liver, kidney, and sexual organs in the Northwest Greenland polar bears.

  3. 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.

  4. Serological evidence of morbillivirus infection in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Alaska and Russia

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Follmann, E.H.; Garner, G.W.; Evermann, Jim F.; McKeirnan,, A.J.

    1996-01-01

    One-hundred-and-ninety-one samples of blood serum collected from 186 polar bears (Ursus maritimus) between 1987 and 1992 were analysed for morbillivirus antibodies. The samples were collected in the Bering, Chukchi and East Siberian seas. Sixty-eight samples (35.6 per cent) had morbillivirus antibody titres > 5; the percentage of positive samples ranged from 26.2 to 46.2 per cent from year to year. The proportions of adults, sub-adults and cubs which were seropositive were 43.9, 35.7 and 37.9 per cent respectively. Some seropositive dams had seronegative young and some that were seronegative had seropositive young. One litter of two cubs, in which the dam was seronegative, had one seropositive and one seronegative cub. Seropositive bears occurred in all the areas from which the samples were collected but there was a significantly greater incidence in the bears sampled in Russia. The high prevalence of seropositive bears over the period suggests that the bear morbillivirus is endemic in these regions of the Arctic, but its source is unknown.

  5. Use of hyaluronidase to improve chemical immobilization of free-ranging polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Cattet, Marc R L; Obbard, Martyn E

    2010-01-01

    We assessed the efficacy and safety of hyaluronidase to improve chemical immobilization of free-ranging polar bears (Ursus maritimus) captured from helicopter by remote drug delivery along the Ontario coast line of northwestern James Bay and southern Hudson Bay during September 2005 and October 2007. We used a single blind study design in which one person prepared and loaded all darts without the shooter knowing whether hyaluronidase (150 IU per dart) or sterile water was added to the immobilizing drug mixture of xylazine and zolazepam-tiletamine (XZT). We found that we often required more than one dart to immobilize bears in the control group (XZT+sterile water; >1 dart for 15 of 28 captures) versus the treatment group (XZT+hyaluronidase; >1 dart for seven of 26 captures). As a consequence, treatment bears were generally immobilized with smaller XZT dosages (7.9 vs. 9.4 mg/kg; P = 0.08) and shorter induction (10 vs. 15 min; P = 0.004) than control bears. We found no differences in vital rates and serum biochemistry results between control and treatment bears. We did find, however, that induction times correlated directly with rectal temperature at bears. Overall we found hyaluronidase to be effective and safe for capture of polar bears. We recommend further study to determine whether effects of hyaluronidase are dose dependent and recommend that others involved with capture of seasonally fat species such as polar bears consider use of hyaluronidase to improve chemical immobilization.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. Serosurvey for Trichinella in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard and the Barents Sea.

    PubMed

    Asbakk, Kjetil; Aars, Jon; Derocher, Andrew E; Wiig, Oystein; Oksanen, Antti; Born, Erik W; Dietz, Rune; Sonne, Christian; Godfroid, Jacques; Kapel, Christian M O

    2010-09-20

    Blood samples of live-caught polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard collected 1991-2000 (Period 1) and 2006-2008 (Period 2) and from the pack ice of the Barents Sea collected in Period 1, were assayed for antibodies against Trichinella spp. by ELISA. Of 54 cubs-of-the-year included in the Period 1 sample, 53 were seronegative, indicating that exposure to Trichinella infected meat is uncommon during the first months of life for polar bears in the Svalbard region. Of 30 mother-offspring pairs, 18 mothers were seropositive with seronegative offspring (n=27), suggesting (1) that maternal antibodies had dropped to levels below detection limit by the time of capture in April (offspring approximately 4 months old), and (2) supporting experimental studies in other animal models showing that vertical transmission of Trichinella spp. is uncommon. Bear 1 year and older had higher prevalence in Svalbard (78%) than in the Barents Sea (51%). There was no temporal change in prevalence for bears from Svalbard during the time between the two periods. The prevalence increased with age in both sexes. A positive correlation was found between anti-Toxoplasma gondii and anti-Trichinella spp. antibodies.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Smith, T.S.; Partridge, Steven 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.

  13. 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 ...

  14. Right paw foraging bias in wild black bear (Ursus americanus kermodei).

    PubMed

    Reimchen, T E; Spoljaric, M A

    2011-07-01

    Using field observations of ~15 wild adult black bear (Ursus americanus kermodei) foraging on a salmon stream during two autumns on the central coast of British Columbia, we tested for laterality of forelimb use during lunging and during handling of salmon. Of 288 lunging events observed overall, 53% were non biased, 26% were right-limb biased, and 21% left-limb biased (p = .53 between left and right bias). Among six bears in which we could ascertain individual identity (182 lunging events), there was heterogeneity among individuals (p <.05) of which two were significantly right biased and one significantly left biased (p<.005). Of 186 carcass-handling (pick-up) events, 68% were right-pawed (p <.005) and there was no heterogeneity among five individually identifiable bears (p = .19). There was no forelimb laterality in adjustment of the prey in the mouth or in securing the prey to the substrate. This is the first report of task-specific behavioural lateralisation of a wild carnivore and is suggestive of a right bias (left-hemisphere dominance) in object manipulation.

  15. Assessing polar bear (Ursus maritimus) population structure in the Hudson Bay region using SNPs.

    PubMed

    Viengkone, Michelle; Derocher, Andrew Edward; Richardson, Evan Shaun; Malenfant, René Michael; Miller, Joshua Moses; Obbard, Martyn E; Dyck, Markus G; Lunn, Nick J; Sahanatien, Vicki; Davis, Corey S

    2016-12-01

    Defining subpopulations using genetics has traditionally used data from microsatellite markers to investigate population structure; however, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) have emerged as a tool for detection of fine-scale structure. In Hudson Bay, Canada, three polar bear (Ursus maritimus) subpopulations (Foxe Basin (FB), Southern Hudson Bay (SH), and Western Hudson Bay (WH)) have been delineated based on mark-recapture studies, radiotelemetry and satellite telemetry, return of marked animals in the subsistence harvest, and population genetics using microsatellites. We used SNPs to detect fine-scale population structure in polar bears from the Hudson Bay region and compared our results to the current designations using 414 individuals genotyped at 2,603 SNPs. Analyses based on discriminant analysis of principal components (DAPC) and STRUCTURE support the presence of four genetic clusters: (i) Western-including individuals sampled in WH, SH (excluding Akimiski Island in James Bay), and southern FB (south of Southampton Island); (ii) Northern-individuals sampled in northern FB (Baffin Island) and Davis Strait (DS) (Labrador coast); (iii) Southeast-individuals from SH (Akimiski Island in James Bay); and (iv) Northeast-individuals from DS (Baffin Island). Population structure differed from microsatellite studies and current management designations demonstrating the value of using SNPs for fine-scale population delineation in polar bears.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Paraparesis in a polar bear (Ursus maritimus) associated with West Nile virus infection.

    PubMed

    Dutton, Christopher J; Quinnell, Mark; Lindsay, Robbin; DeLay, Josepha; Barker, Ian K

    2009-09-01

    A polar bear (Ursus maritimus) housed at the Toronto Zoo presented with acute-onset, nonambulatory paraparesis. Physical examination 24 hr after onset was otherwise unremarkable, spinal radiographs looked normal, and blood tests indicated mild dehydration. With continued deterioration in its general condition, euthanasia was elected a day later. Necropsy did not reveal a cause for the major presenting clinical signs. Serum collected at the time of initial examination was positive for West Nile virus (WNV) antibodies in a serum neutralization assay and at the time of euthanasia was positive in both a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and in a plaque reduction neutralization assay. The major microscopic finding was a mild-to-moderate nonsuppurative meningoencephalomyelitis. WNV was not detected by immunohistochemistry in brain or spinal cord or by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and cell culture of brain and kidney, but it was isolated and identified by RT-PCR in second passage cell culture of spleen. Retrospective immunohistochemistry on spleen revealed rare antigen-positive cells, probably macrophages. Prevention of exposure to potentially WNV-infected mosquitoes or vaccination of captive bears against WNV should be considered.

  19. Elevated expression of protein biosynthesis genes in liver and muscle of hibernating black bears (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Fedorov, Vadim B; Goropashnaya, Anna V; Tøien, Oivind; 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

    2009-04-10

    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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Brucella species survey in polar bears (ursus maritimus) of northern Alaska.

    PubMed

    O'Hara, Todd M; Holcomb, Darce; Elzer, Philip; Estepp, Jessica; Perry, Quinesha; Hagius, Sue; Kirk, Cassandra

    2010-07-01

    We report on the presence of specific antibodies to Brucella spp. and Yersinia enterocolitica in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from northern Alaska (southern Beaufort Sea) during 2003-2006. Based on numerous known stressors (e.g., climate change and loss of sea ice habitat, contaminants), there is increased concern regarding the status of polar bears. Considering these changes, it is important to assess exposure to potentially pathogenic organisms and to improve understanding of transmission pathways. Brucella or specific antibodies to Brucella spp. has been reported in marine mammals. Various assays were used to elucidate the pathway or source of exposure (e.g., "marine" vs. "terrestrial" Brucella spp.) of northern Alaska polar bears to Brucella spp. The standard plate test (SPT) and the buffered Brucella antigen card test (BBA) were used for initial screening for antibodies specific to Brucella. We then evaluated positive reactors (presence of serum antibody specific for Brucella spp.) using immunoblots and competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (cELISA; based on pinniped-derived Brucella spp. antigen). Annual prevalence of antibody (BBA and SPT) for Brucella spp. ranged from 6.8% to 18.5% over 2003-2006, with an overall prevalence of 10.2%. Prevalence of Brucella spp. antibody did vary by age class. Western blot analyses indicated 17 samples were positive for Brucella spp. antibody; of these, 13 were negative by marine (pinniped) derived Brucella antigen cELISA and four were positive by marine cELISA. Of the four samples positive for Brucella antibody by marine cELISA, three cross-reacted with Y. enterocolitica and Brucella spp. (one sample was Brucella negative and Y. enterocolitica positive). It appears the polar bear antibody does not react with the antigens used on the marine cELISA assay, potentially indicating a terrestrial (nonpinniped) source of Brucella spp.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Hepatozoon ursi n. sp. (Apicomplexa: Hepatozoidae) in Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    PubMed

    Kubo, Masahito; Uni, Shigehiko; Agatsuma, Takeshi; Nagataki, Mitsuru; Panciera, Roger J; Tsubota, Toshio; Nakamura, Sachiko; Sakai, Hiroki; Masegi, Toshiaki; Yanai, Tokuma

    2008-09-01

    Morphological and genetic features of a new Hepatozoon species, Hepatozoon ursi n. sp., in Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) were studied. Schizogonic developmental stages were observed in the lungs of Japanese black bears. The schizonts were sub-spherical in shape and 45.7+/-4.6 x 42.7+/-4.5 microm in size. Each mature schizont contained approximately 80-130 merozoites and 0-5 residual bodies. The merozoites were 7.0+/-0.7 x 1.8+/-0.3 microm in size. Intraleukocytic gametocytes were slightly curved, cigar-like in shape and had a beak-like protrusion at one end. The size of the gametocytes was 10.9+/-0.3 x 3.3+/-0.2 microm. The analyses of the18S rRNA gene sequences supported the hypothesis that H. ursi n. sp. is different from other Hepatozoon species. Mature Hepatozoon oocysts were detected in two species of ticks (Haemaphysalis japonica and Haemaphysalis flava) collected on the bears infected with H. ursi n. sp. Two measured oocysts were 263.2 x 234.0 microm and 331.8 x 231.7 microm, respectively. The oocysts contained approximately 40 and 50 sporocysts, respectively. The sporocysts were sub-spherical in shape and 31.2+/-2.5 x 27.0+/-2.9 microm in size. Each sporocyst contained at least 8-16 sporozoites, with the sporozoites being 12.2+/-1.4 x 3.5+/-0.5 microm in size. H. ursi n. sp. is the first Hepatozoon species recorded from the family Ursidae.

  6. Modulation of gene expression in heart and liver of hibernating black bears (Ursus americanus)

    PubMed Central

    2011-01-01

    Background Hibernation is an adaptive strategy to survive in highly seasonal or unpredictable environments. The molecular and genetic basis of hibernation physiology in mammals has only recently been studied using large scale genomic approaches. We analyzed gene expression in the American black bear, Ursus americanus, using a custom 12,800 cDNA probe microarray to detect differences in expression that occur in heart and liver during winter hibernation in comparison to summer active animals. Results We identified 245 genes in heart and 319 genes in liver that were differentially expressed between winter and summer. The expression of 24 genes was significantly elevated during hibernation in both heart and liver. These genes are mostly involved in lipid catabolism and protein biosynthesis and include RNA binding protein motif 3 (Rbm3), which enhances protein synthesis at mildly hypothermic temperatures. Elevated expression of protein biosynthesis genes suggests induction of translation that may be related to adaptive mechanisms reducing cardiac and muscle atrophies over extended periods of low metabolism and immobility during hibernation in bears. Coordinated reduction of transcription of genes involved in amino acid catabolism suggests redirection of amino acids from catabolic pathways to protein biosynthesis. We identify common for black bears and small mammalian hibernators transcriptional changes in the liver that include induction of genes responsible for fatty acid β oxidation and carbohydrate synthesis and depression of genes involved in lipid biosynthesis, carbohydrate catabolism, cellular respiration and detoxification pathways. Conclusions Our findings show that modulation of gene expression during winter hibernation represents molecular mechanism of adaptation to extreme environments. PMID:21453527

  7. Detection of human bacterial pathogens in ticks collected from Louisiana black bears (Ursus americanus luteolus).

    PubMed

    Leydet, Brian F; Liang, Fang-Ting

    2013-04-01

    There are 4 major human-biting tick species in the northeastern United States, which include: Amblyomma americanum, Amblyomma maculatum, Dermacentor variabilis, and Ixodes scapularis. The black bear is a large mammal that has been shown to be parasitized by all the aforementioned ticks. We investigated the bacterial infections in ticks collected from Louisiana black bears (Ursus americanus subspecies luteolus). Eighty-six ticks were collected from 17 black bears in Louisiana from June 2010 to March 2011. All 4 common human-biting tick species were represented. Each tick was subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting select bacterial pathogens and symbionts. Bacterial DNA was detected in 62% of ticks (n=53). Rickettsia parkeri, the causative agent of an emerging spotted fever group rickettsiosis, was identified in 66% of A. maculatum, 28% of D. variabilis, and 11% of I. scapularis. The Lyme disease bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi, was detected in 2 I. scapularis, while one A. americanum was positive for Borrelia bissettii, a putative human pathogen. The rickettsial endosymbionts Candidatus Rickettsia andeanae, rickettsial endosymbiont of I. scapularis, and Rickettsia amblyommii were detected in their common tick hosts at 21%, 39%, and 60%, respectively. All ticks were PCR-negative for Anaplasma phagocytophilum, Ehrlichia spp., and Babesia microti. This is the first reported detection of R. parkeri in vector ticks in Louisiana; we also report the novel association of R. parkeri with I. scapularis. Detection of both R. parkeri and B. burgdorferi in their respective vectors in Louisiana demands further investigation to determine potential for human exposure to these pathogens.

  8. 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

    2013-05-07

    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.

  9. 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

  10. 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

  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

    2009-09-08

    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.

  12. Dental and Temporomandibular Joint Pathology of the American Black Bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Clark, E J; Chesnutt, S R; Winer, J N; Kass, P H; Verstraete, F J M

    2016-12-15

    Museum specimens (maxillae and/or mandibles) from 371 American black bears (Ursus americanus) acquired between 1889 and 2006 were examined macroscopically according to predefined criteria, and 348 were included in this study. Of the 348 specimens, 126 (36.2%) were from male animals, 106 (30.5%) were from female animals and 116 (33.3%) were from animals of unknown sex. Specimen ages ranged from young adult (n = 63, 18.1%) to adult (n = 285, 81.9%), with juveniles excluded from the study. The number of teeth available for examination was 12,019 (82.2%); 7.0% of teeth were absent artefactually, 0.4% were deemed absent due to acquired tooth loss and 9.7% were absent congenitally. In 43 specimens (12.3%), 82 teeth (0.68%) were small vestigial structures with crowns that were flush with the level of surrounding alveolar bone. The remaining teeth (99.3%) were of normal morphology. Only three supernumerary teeth and three instances of enamel hypoplasia were encountered. Persistent deciduous teeth or teeth with an aberrant number of roots were not encountered in any of the specimens. Approximately one-third of the teeth examined (4,543, 37.8%) displayed attrition/abrasion, affecting nearly all of the specimens (n = 338, 97.1%). Incisor and molar teeth accounted for 52.5% and 34.3% of the affected teeth, respectively, with significantly more adults affected than young adults. Dental fractures were noted in 63 bears, affecting 18.1% of specimens and 1.0% of the total number of present teeth. The canine teeth were most often fractured, with adults having significantly more complicated crown fractures of these teeth than young adults. There were 11 specimens (3.2%) that displayed periapical lesions, affecting 12 (0.1%) dental alveoli. There were 179 specimens (51.4%) displaying bony changes indicative of periodontitis, affecting 816 (6.8%) dental alveoli. The proportion of adult bears affected by periodontitis (57.9%) was significantly greater than that of young adults

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. Bacteriology of a bear bite wound to a human: case report.

    PubMed

    Kunimoto, Dennis; Rennie, Robert; Citron, Diane M; Goldstein, Ellie J C

    2004-07-01

    Human contact with bears has become more frequent, as has the resultant bear maulings and bite injuries. We report the bacteriology of a patient bitten by a grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) from the Rocky Mountains foothills area east of Banff National Park, Alberta, Canada. The patient received field care, including metronidazole and cefazolin. Subsequent deep-wound cultures grew Serratia fonticola, Serratia marcescens, Aeromonas hydrophila, Bacillus cereus, and Enterococcus durans but no anaerobes.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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.

  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.

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. 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...

  4. Use of acepromazine and medetomidine in combination for sedation and handling of Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) and black bears (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Wolfe, Lisa L; Johnson, Heather E; Fisher, Mark C; Sirochman, Michael A; Kraft, Benjamin; Miller, Michael W

    2014-10-01

    We opportunistically evaluated a combination of acepromazine maleate and medetomidine HCl for use in sedating Rocky Mountain elk (Cervus elaphus nelsoni) and black bears (Ursus americanus) as an alternative to scheduled drug combinations. This combination was safe and effective with limitations inherent in its sedative rather than anesthetic properties.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  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. Geographic variation of PCB congeners in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard east to the Chukchi Sea

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Andersen, M.; Lie, E.; Derocher, A.E.; Belikov, S.E.; Bernhoft, A.; Boltunov, Andrei N.; Garner, G.W.; Skaare, J.U.; Wiig, Øystein

    2001-01-01

    We present data on geographic variation in polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) congeners in adult female polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard eastward to the Chukchi Sea. Blood samples from 90 free-living polar bears were collected in 1987–1995. Six PCB congeners, penta to octa chlorinated (PCB-99, -118, -153, -156, -180, -194), were selected for this study. Differences between areas were found in PCB levels and congener patterns. Bears from Franz Josef Land (11,194 ng/g lipid weight) and the Kara Sea (9,412 ng/g lw) had similar ΣPCB levels and were higher than all other populations (Svalbard 5,043 ng/g lw, East Siberian Sea 3,564 ng/g lw, Chukchi Sea 2,465 ng/g lw). Svalbard PCB levels were higher than those from the Chukchi Sea. Our results, combined with earlier findings, indicate that polar bears from Franz Josef Land and the Kara Sea have the highest PCB levels in the Arctic. Decreasing trends were seen eastwards and westwards from this region. Of the congeners investigated in the present study, the lower chlorinated PCBs are increasing and the high chlorinated PCBs are decreasing from Svalbard eastward to the Chukchi Sea. Different pollution sources, compound transport patterns and regional prey differences could explain the variation in PCB congener levels and patterns between regions.

  11. Population genetic studies of the polar bear (Ursus maritimus): A summary of available data and interpretation of results

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Scribner, Kim T.; Garner, G.W.; Amstrup, Steven C.; Cronin, M.A.; Dizon, Andrew E.; Chivers, Susan J.; Perrin, William F.

    1997-01-01

    A summary of existing population genetics literature is presented for polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and interpreted in the context of the species' life-history characteristics and regional heterogeneity in environmental regimes and movement patterns. Several nongenetic data sets including morphology, contaminant levels, geographic variation in reproductive characteristics, and the location and distribution of open-water foraging habitat suggest some degree of spatial structuring. Eleven populations are recognized by the IUCN Polar Bear Specialist Group. Few genetics studies exist for polar bears. Interpretation and generalizations of regional variation in intra- and interpopulation levels of genetic variability are confounded by the paucity of data from many regions and by the fact that no single informative genetic marker has been employed in multiple regions. Early allozyme studies revealed comparatively low levels of genetic variability and no compelling evidence of spatial structuring. Studies employing mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) also found low levels of genetic variation, a lack of phylogenetic structure, and no significant evidence for spatial variation in haplotype frequency. In contrast, microsatellite variable number of tandem repeat (VNTR) loci have revealed significant heterogeneity in allele frequency among populations in the Canadian Arctic. These regions are characterized by archipelgic patterns of sea-ice movements. Further studies using highly polymorphic loci are needed in regions characterized by greater polar bear dependency on pelagic sea-ice movements and in regions for which no data currently exist (i.e., Laptev and Novaya Zemlya/Franz Josef).

  12. Cardiorespiratory effects of isoflurane in Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) anesthetized with intramuscular medetomidine and zolazepam/tiletamine

    PubMed Central

    JEONG, Dong-Hyuk; YANG, Jeong-Jin; SEOK, Seong-Hoon; SONG, Dong-Joo; YEON, Seong-Chan

    2016-01-01

    The objective of this study was to determine the dose-dependent effects of isoflurane on various cardiovascular parameters and the stable range of isoflurane concentrations in Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus). Seven Asiatic black bears were intramuscularly injected with medetomidine, zolazepam and tiletamine (MZT) to induce anesthesia, and anesthesia was maintained by administering isoflurane in 100% oxygen (4 l/min) without mechanical ventilation. Several cardiovascular parameters were measured at five end-tidal isoflurane concentrations (0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, and 2.5%). Blood was collected from the femoral artery before administration of isoflurane and after each administration for immediate blood gas analysis. Isoflurane produced dose-dependent increases in heart rate, respiratory rate, minute volume, end-tidal carbon dioxide (CO2) partial pressure and the partial pressure of arterial CO2, and dose-dependent decreases in non-invasive blood pressure and tidal volume. Rectal temperature, oxygenation and acid-base balance were unaffected by isoflurane. All parameters in this study were in a clinically acceptable range at all times. The data show that the combination of MZT and isoflurane is suitable for general anesthesia in Asiatic black bears with spontaneous breathing during prolonged procedures. End-tidal isoflurane concentrations of 0.5 to 2.5% can be used in Asiatic black bears without adverse side effects. PMID:27725350

  13. 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.

  14. Skull pathology in East Greenland and Svalbard polar bears (Ursus maritimus) during 1892 to 2002 in relation to organochlorine pollution.

    PubMed

    Sonne, Christian; Rigét, Frank F; Dietz, Rune; Wiig, Oystein; Kirkegaard, Maja; Born, Erik W

    2007-01-01

    East Greenland and Svalbard polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are heavily polluted with long-range transported organochlorines such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls). To investigate the negative health impacts, a time-trend study of skull pathology was conducted on 269 East Greenland and 241 Svalbard polar bears. The skulls were sampled during 1892-2002 and 1964-1992, respectively. Seven different pathological changes were found: adonti, displacement of teeth, caries, osseous proliferations, exostosis, tooth wear and periodontitis. Only tooth wear and periodontitis was in a prevalence that allowed statistical treatment. The most severe cases of tooth wear and periodontitis were accompanied by a substantial loss of alveolar bone structure. The prevalence of tooth wear and periodontitis increased significantly with age (p<0.001) with incisor wear being more severe than in canines, premolars and molars (p<0.001). No sex difference was found for tooth wear (p=0.22) while a significant difference between sexes was found for periodontitis (p=0.01) with males having higher prevalence than females (odds ratio of 2.5 for males:females). In East Greenland, the prevalence of tooth wear was significantly higher in polar bears collected in the pre pollution period (<1960) than in bears sampled during polluted periods (1960-1980 and 1981-2002) (p<0.001). Regarding periodontitis, the prevalence was not significantly different between pre-pollution and pollution periods (p=0.309). Polar bears from Svalbard had significantly higher prevalence of tooth wear (p<0.001) and periodontitis (p=0.02) than polar bears from East Greenland. The tooth wear and periodontitis odds ratios for Svalbard:East Greenland were 135 and 2.6, respectively. Hence, we found a clear age/sex link and geographical difference but no evidence for an association between skull pathology and exposure to organochlorines in East Greenland and Svalbard polar bears.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. Differences in mercury bioaccumulation between polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Canadian high- and sub-Arctic.

    PubMed

    St Louis, Vincent L; Derocher, Andrew E; Stirling, Ian; Graydon, Jennifer A; Lee, Caroline; Jocksch, Erin; Richardson, Evan; Ghorpade, Sarah; Kwan, Alvin K; Kirk, Jane L; Lehnherr, Igor; Swanson, Heidi K

    2011-07-15

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) are being impacted by climate change and increased exposure to pollutants throughout their northern circumpolar range. In this study, we quantified concentrations of total mercury (THg) in the hair of polar bears from Canadian high- (southern Beaufort Sea, SBS) and sub- (western Hudson Bay, WHB) Arctic populations. Concentrations of THg in polar bears from the SBS population (14.8 ± 6.6 μg g(-1)) were significantly higher than in polar bears from WHB (4.1 ± 1.0 μg g(-1)). On the basis of δ(15)N signatures in hair, in conjunction with published δ(15)N signatures in particulate organic matter and sediments, we estimated that the pelagic and benthic food webs in the SBS are ∼ 4.7 and ∼ 4.0 trophic levels long, whereas in WHB they are only ∼ 3.6 and ∼ 3.3 trophic levels long. Furthermore, the more depleted δ(13)C ratios in hair from SBS polar bears relative to those from WHB suggests that SBS polar bears feed on food webs that are relatively more pelagic (and longer), whereas polar bears from WHB feed on those that are relatively more benthic (and shorter). Food web length and structure accounted for ∼ 67% of the variation we found in THg concentrations among all polar bears across both populations. The regional difference in polar bear hair THg concentrations was also likely due to regional differences in water-column concentrations of methyl Hg (the toxic form of Hg that biomagnifies through food webs) available for bioaccumulation at the base of the food webs. For example, concentrations of methylated Hg at mid-depths in the marine water column of the northern Canadian Arctic Archipelago were 79.8 ± 37.3 pg L(-1), whereas, in HB, they averaged only 38.3 ± 16.6 pg L(-1). We conclude that a longer food web and higher pelagic concentrations of methylated Hg available to initiate bioaccumulation in the BS resulted in higher concentrations of THg in polar bears from the SBS region compared to those inhabiting the western

  19. 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.

  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.

  1. 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.

  2. Identification of the expressed MHC class II DQB gene of the Asiatic black bear, Ursus thibetanus, in Japan.

    PubMed

    Yasukochi, Yoshiki; Kurosaki, Toshifumi; Yoneda, Masaaki; Koike, Hiroko

    2010-04-01

    Genetic diversity estimation of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) gene may be an important tool in the assessment of immune response ability against infectious disease. We were able to identify a near full-length expressed DQB sequence by RACE-PCR method from the Asiatic black bear, Ursus thibetanus in Japan. This is the first such full length expression in the Ursidae. The bear had at least one functional DQB locus. In phylogenetic tree analysis its DQB amino acid sequence formed a monophyletic group with DQB sequences from members of the order Carnivora and had a 90% nucleotide sequence similarity with the DQB allele of the California sea lion, Zalophus californianus. We compared the DQB amino acid composition of U. thibetanus with those of several other mammalian species including Homo sapiens. Amino acid residues known to be functionally important for human MHC genes, tended to be also conserved among other mammalian species while PBRs in the beta1 domain were heterogeneous among mammalian species. The DQB sequence obtained from the bear had not only no putative frameshifts or deletions but also no abnormal amino acid mutations such as had been observed in human DQB molecules. This suggests that the bear DQB sequence was an apparently functional DQB allele. As a preliminary study, we sequenced the exon 2 region of DQB alleles from genomic DNA, and succeeded to amplify the exon 2 of DQB loci. Our study will provide useful information for conservation genetics of the U. thibetanus as well as more generally regarding the mammalian MHC region.

  3. 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.

  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. 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.

  6. Is the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) a hibernator? Continued studies on opioids and hibernation

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Bruce, David S.; Darling, Nancy K.; Seeland, Katheleen J.; Oeltgen, Peter R.; Nilekani, Sita P.; Amstrup, Steven C.

    1990-01-01

    Polar bear behavior and biochemistry suggest they may have the ability to hibernate year-round, even though this species is not considered to be a true hibernator. This observation, plus the discovery of a hibernation-induced trigger (HIT) in the blood of black bears, prompted the examination of polar bear blood collected thoughout the year for evidence ofr HIT, and to determine if it displayed opioid activity, as black bear blood does. A bioassay was conducted by injected summer 13-lined ground squirrels with serum collected from polar bears at different seasons. One group of squirrels was previously implanted with osmotic pumps containing naloxone. The rest had pumps containing saline. Squirrels with saline pumps all hibernated significantly more than those with naloxone, except the group receiving blood from a November polar bear, observed to be highly active and hyperphagic. An in vitro study, using guinea pig ileum, showed that 400 nM morphine inhibited induced contractions and 100 nM naloxone reversed the inhibition. Ten mg of winter polar bear serum albumin fraction (to which HIT binds in ground squirrels and woodchucks) had a similar inhibiting effect, but naloxone, even at 4,000 nM, didn't reverse it. It is concluded that polar bear contains HIT, that it has an opioid effct, but may not itself be an opioid.

  7. 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.

  8. Isolation and characterization of new genetic types of Toxoplasma gondii and prevalence of Trichinella murrelli from black bear (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Dubey, J P; Hill, D; Zarlenga, D; Choudhary, S; Ferreira, L R; Oliveira, S; Verma, S K; Kwok, O C H; Driscoll, C P; Spiker, H; Su, C

    2013-09-01

    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 were found in juice from tongues of 17 (25.7%) of 66 wild black bear from Maryland during the hunting season of 2010 and 2011. Antibodies to T. gondii were assessed by the modified agglutination test. Tongues of 17 seropositive bears were bioassayed in mice and viable T. gondii was isolated from three samples. These three T. gondii isolates (TgBbMd1-3) were further propagated in cell culture and DNA isolated from culture-derived tachyzoites was characterized using 11 PCR-RFLP markers (SAG1, 5'- and 3'-SAG2, alt.SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1 and Apico). Results revealed three genotypes. TgBbMd1 is a Type 12 strain (ToxoDB PCR-RFLP genotype #4) and TgBbMd2 is ToxoDB PCR-RFLP genotype #216, and TgBbMd3 is a Type II clonal strain (ToxoDB PCR-RFLP genotype #1). The isolate TgBbMd2 was highly virulent for outbred Swiss Webster mice; all infected mice died of acute toxoplasmosis. Results indicate that mouse virulent strains of T. gondii are circulating in wildlife in the USA. These 66 tongues in addition to tongues collected during hunts in previous years were further investigated for the presence of muscle larvae of Trichinella spp. Tongues from 40 bears in 2005, 41 in 2006, 51 in 2007, 56 in 2008, 68 in 2009, 67 in 2010, and 66 in 2011 were subjected to digestion with pepsin/HCl and microscopic examination. Two bears were infected with Trichinella spp.; one in 2008 and one in 2009. Genotyping of collected muscle larvae revealed that the infecting species in both cases was Trichinella murrelli.

  9. Serial transrectal ultrasonography for monitoring the reproductive activity of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus ussuricus).

    PubMed

    Kang, H G; Jeong, D H; Yang, J J; Lee, B K; Kong, J K; Lee, J W; Kim, I H

    2015-02-01

    This study evaluated the structural changes in the reproductive tract of Asiatic black bears using serial transrectal ultrasonography. In addition, the ultrasonographic observations were compared with the results of vaginal cytology and hormonal analyses. The collection of blood for hormonal analysis, vaginal cytology and transrectal ultrasonography was performed in two bears (Bears 1 and 2) from June 2011 to August 2013 without mating and in a third bear (Bear 3) from April to December 2012, allowing natural mating. Serial ultrasonographic observations showed cyclic changes in ovarian structures (e.g. emergence of small follicles, growth and ovulation of dominant follicles and corpus luteum (CL) formation) during the reproductive cycles of the three bears. The diameter of the uterine horns remained similar throughout the reproductive cycle in Bears 1 and 2, and it remained similar from April until October, but an enlargement containing foetuses was observed in Bear 3 in December. The ultrasonographic observations were consistent with the data obtained through vaginal cytology and progesterone analysis during the reproductive cycle. An average of 4.0 (±0.4) dominant follicles was observed during the oestrous stage (May-August), during which the superficial cells accounted for >90% of the total vaginal cells. In addition, the detection of an average of 2.6 (±0.2) CL was associated with increased plasma progesterone concentrations (3.0 ± 0.4 ng/ml) between June and December (near hibernation). In conclusion, serial transrectal ultrasonography demonstrated yearly oestrous (ovulation) cycles via follicular dynamics and CL formation on ovaries, accordingly with vaginal cytology and hormonal level in the Asiatic black bear.

  10. Fatal hepatic sarcocystosis in a captive black bear (Ursus americanus) associated with Sarcocystis canis-like infection.

    PubMed

    Davies, Jennifer L; Haldorson, Gary J; Bradway, Dan S; Britton, Ann P

    2011-03-01

    Fatal hepatic sarcocystosis was diagnosed in a 13-year-old captive black bear (Ursus americanus) with a history of acute onset of vomiting, polyuria, polydipsia, and bilirubinuria. Gross lesions included severe icterus, multisystemic hemorrhage, and gall bladder edema. The most significant microscopic lesion was severe necrotizing hepatitis with intralesional protozoa that reproduced by endopolygeny consistent with a Sarcocystis spp. Infrequent microglial nodules were randomly scattered within the white matter of the cerebral cortices, thalamus, and brainstem, but intralesional protozoal schizonts were not observed. In the liver, immunohistochemistry was positive for Sarcocystis spp. and negative for Toxoplasma gondii and Neospora spp. Positive staining was not observed in the brain. Genus-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the 18S ribosomal RNA gene was performed on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded sections of liver and brain; in both tissues, PCR was positive for Sarcocystis spp. Sequence analysis of the PCR amplicons revealed 100% identity to the published sequences of Sarcocystis canis and Sarcocystis arctosi.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Conservation status of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in relation to projected sea-ice declines.

    PubMed

    Regehr, Eric V; Laidre, Kristin L; Akçakaya, H Resit; Amstrup, Steven C; Atwood, Todd C; Lunn, Nicholas J; Obbard, Martyn; Stern, Harry; Thiemann, Gregory W; Wiig, Øystein

    2016-12-01

    Loss of Arctic sea ice owing to climate change is the primary threat to polar bears throughout their range. We evaluated the potential response of polar bears to sea-ice declines by (i) calculating generation length (GL) for the species, which determines the timeframe for conservation assessments; (ii) developing a standardized sea-ice metric representing important habitat; and (iii) using statistical models and computer simulation to project changes in the global population under three approaches relating polar bear abundance to sea ice. Mean GL was 11.5 years. Ice-covered days declined in all subpopulation areas during 1979-2014 (median -1.26 days year(-1)). The estimated probabilities that reductions in the mean global population size of polar bears will be greater than 30%, 50% and 80% over three generations (35-41 years) were 0.71 (range 0.20-0.95), 0.07 (range 0-0.35) and less than 0.01 (range 0-0.02), respectively. According to IUCN Red List reduction thresholds, which provide a common measure of extinction risk across taxa, these results are consistent with listing the species as vulnerable. Our findings support the potential for large declines in polar bear numbers owing to sea-ice loss, and highlight near-term uncertainty in statistical projections as well as the sensitivity of projections to different plausible assumptions.

  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.

  18. Conservation status of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) in relation to projected sea-ice declines

    PubMed Central

    Akçakaya, H. Resit; Amstrup, Steven C.; Atwood, Todd C.; Lunn, Nicholas J.; Obbard, Martyn; Stern, Harry; Thiemann, Gregory W.; Wiig, Øystein

    2016-01-01

    Loss of Arctic sea ice owing to climate change is the primary threat to polar bears throughout their range. We evaluated the potential response of polar bears to sea-ice declines by (i) calculating generation length (GL) for the species, which determines the timeframe for conservation assessments; (ii) developing a standardized sea-ice metric representing important habitat; and (iii) using statistical models and computer simulation to project changes in the global population under three approaches relating polar bear abundance to sea ice. Mean GL was 11.5 years. Ice-covered days declined in all subpopulation areas during 1979–2014 (median −1.26 days year−1). The estimated probabilities that reductions in the mean global population size of polar bears will be greater than 30%, 50% and 80% over three generations (35–41 years) were 0.71 (range 0.20–0.95), 0.07 (range 0–0.35) and less than 0.01 (range 0–0.02), respectively. According to IUCN Red List reduction thresholds, which provide a common measure of extinction risk across taxa, these results are consistent with listing the species as vulnerable. Our findings support the potential for large declines in polar bear numbers owing to sea-ice loss, and highlight near-term uncertainty in statistical projections as well as the sensitivity of projections to different plausible assumptions. PMID:27928000

  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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Parasites in grizzly bears from the central Canadian Arctic.

    PubMed

    Gau, R J; Kutz, S; Elkin, B T

    1999-07-01

    Standardized flotation techniques were used to survey 56 grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) fecal samples for parasites. The samples were collected during the spring and autumn of 1995 and 1996 in the central Arctic of the Northwest Territories (Canada). Parasites of the genera Nematodirus, gastrointestinal coccidia, and an unidentified first stage protostrongylid larva are reported for the first time from grizzly bear feces in North America. Parasites of the genera Diphyllobothrium and Baylisascaris also were collected. Prevalence of gastrointestinal parasites were significantly different between the spring and autumn seasons (31% and 58% respectively). Thus, we provide evidence supporting the theory that bears void gastrointestinal parasites before hibernation.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Removal of Lipid from Serum Increases Coherence between Brucellosis Rapid Agglutination Test and Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay in Bears in Alaska, USA.

    PubMed

    Godfroid, Jacques; Beckmen, Kimberlee; Helena Nymo, Ingebjørg

    2016-10-01

    In cases of chronic Brucella spp. infection, results of the rose bengal plate test (RBPT) and indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) should be coherent, as reported in controlled conditions in the literature. We compared RBPT and ELISA results in 58 Alaska grizzly bears ( Ursus arctos horribilis), eight Kodiak brown bears ( Ursus arctos middendorffi), and six Alaska Peninsula brown bears ( Ursus arctos gyas). Of the 72 bears tested, 42 (58%) were ELISA positive and 53 (73%) were RBPT positive. However, the coherence between the tests was only fair (K=0.37, SE=0.11), suggesting that either the serologic results were not compatible with Brucella spp. infection or that there was a technical problem with the tests. To address a potential technical problem, we performed a 30-min chloroform/centrifugation cleanup. Following cleanup, the ELISA identified 43 positives (59%) and the RBPT identified 47 (65%), and the coherence between the tests was much improved (K=0.80, SE=0.07). We recommend cleaning wildlife sera with a high lipid content before performing RBPT and performing RBPT and ELISA in parallel to assess coherence. Our results suggest that Alaskan brown bears have been exposed to Brucella spp.

  6. 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.

  7. Sex identification of Japanese black bear, Ursus thibetanus japonicus, by PCR based on amelogenin gene.

    PubMed

    Yamamoto, Kaori; Tsubota, Toshio; Komatsu, Takeshi; Katayama, Atsushi; Murase, Tetsuma; Kita, Isao; Kudo, Tadaaki

    2002-06-01

    A method for sex identification of the Japanese black bear was examined using a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequencing of a part of the amelogenin gene. This gene is located on the X and Y chromosomes, and there are 54 nucleotide deletions on the Y chromosome-specific gene. Forty-seven (26 male and 21 female) DNA samples and 23 (13 male and 10 female) DNA samples, respectively extracted from white blood cells and hairs of Japanese black bears were analyzed. The primers SE47 and SE48 from this X-Y homologous region were used in sex identification by PCR amplification. These primers amplified X- and Y-specific bands, which could be used to discriminate between sexes by a length polymorphism in all samples. We suggest that PCR amplification using the primers SE47 and SE48 is useful for sex determination of the Japanese black bear and could be applied to DNA analysis of small samples such as hairs.

  8. Xenoendocrine pollutants may reduce size of sexual organs in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus).

    PubMed

    Sonne, Christian; Leifsson, Pall S; Dietz, Rune; Born, Erik W; Letcher, Robert J; Hyldstrup, Lars; Riget, Frank F; Kirkegaard, Maja; Muir, Derek C G

    2006-09-15

    Reproductive organs from 55 male and 44 female East Greenland polar bears were examined to investigate the potential negative impact from organohalogen pollutants (OHCs). Multiple regressions normalizing for age showed a significant inverse relationship between OHCs and testis length and baculum length and weight, respectively, and was found in both subadults (dichlorodiphenyl trichloroethanes, dieldrin, chlordanes, hexacyclohexanes, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)) and adults (hexachlorobenzene [HCB]) (all p < 0.05). Baculum bone mineral densities decreased with increasing chlordanes, DDTs, and HCB in subadults and adults, respectively (all p < 0.05). In females, a significant inverse relationship was found between ovary length and sigma PCB (p = 0.03) and sigma CHL (p < 0.01), respectively, and between ovary weight and sigma PBDE (p < 0.01) and uterine horn length and HCB (p = 0.02). The study suggests thatthere is an impact from xenoendocrine pollutants on the size of East Greenland polar bear genitalia. This may pose a riskto this polar bear subpopulation in the future because of reduced sperm and egg quality/quantity and uterus and penis size/robustness.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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

    2015-08-27

    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.

  17. 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

  18. Population viability and connectivity of the Louisiana black bear (Ursus americanus luteolus)

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Laufenberg, Jared S.; Clark, Joseph D.

    2014-01-01

    From April 2010 to April 2012, global positioning system (GPS) radio collars were placed on 8 female and 23 male bears ranging from 1 to 11 years of age to develop a step-selection function model to predict routes and rates of interchange. For both males and females, the probability of a step being selected increased as the distance to natural land cover and agriculture at the end of the step decreased and as distance from roads at the end of a step increased. Of 4,000 correlated random walks, the least potential interchange was between TRB and TRC and between UARB and LARB, but the relative potential for natural interchange between UARB and TRC was high. The step-selection model predicted that dispersals between the LARB and UARB populations were infrequent but possible for males and nearly nonexistent for females. No evidence of natural female dispersal between subpopulations has been documented thus far, which is also consistent with model predictions.

  19. Spatial and temporal variation in size of polar bear (Ursus maritimus) sexual organs and its use in pollution and climate change studies.

    PubMed

    Sonne, Christian; Dietz, Rune; Born, Erik W; Riget, Frank F; Leifsson, Pall S; Bechshøft, Thea Ø; Kirkegaard, Maja

    2007-11-15

    Sexual organs and their development are susceptible to atmospheric transported environmental xenoendocrine pollutants and climate change (food availability). We therefore investigated sexual organs from 55 male and 44 female East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) to obtain information about growth/size and sexual maturity. Then, the genitalia size was compared with those previously reported from Canadian and Svalbard polar bears. Growth models showed that East Greenland male polar bears reached sexual maturity around 7 years of age and females around 4 years of age. When comparing East Greenland and Svalbard polar bears, the size of baculum and uterus were significantly lower in the East Greenland polar bears (ANOVA: all p < 0.05). Based on previously published baculum mean values from Canadian polar bears, a similar baculum pattern was found for East Greenland vs. Canadian polar bears. It is speculated whether this could be a result of the general high variation in polar bear body size, temporal distribution patterns of anthropogenic long-range transported persistent organic pollutants or climate change (decreasing food availability). The present investigation represents conservation and background data for future spatial and temporal assessments of hunting, pollution and climate change scenarios.

  20. Serologic survey for Trichinella spp. in grizzly bears from Alaska.

    PubMed

    Zarnke, R L; Gamble, R; Heckert, R A; Ver Hoef, J

    1997-07-01

    Blood was collected from 878 grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in seven geographic areas of Alaska from 1973 to 1987. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay procedure was used to test sera for evidence of exposure to Trichinella spp. Serum antibody prevalence ranged from 5% (10 positive of 196 tested) in the Southern Region of the state to 83% (355 of 430 tested) in the Northern Region. These major discrepancies may be a result of differing food habits of bears in the major geographic areas. Prevalence was higher in older age cohorts. Neither year-of-collection nor sex had a significant effect on prevalence.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. The first finding of Asian black bear (Carnivora, Ursidae, Ursus (Euarctos) thibetanus G. Cuvier, 1823) in the Late Pleistocene of northern Eurasia.

    PubMed

    Kosintsev, P A; Tiunov, M P; Gimranov, D O; Panov, V S

    2016-11-01

    An M1 tooth of Asian black bear (Ursus (Euarctos) thibetanus G. Cuvier, 1823) was found in deposits of the Tetyukhinskaya cave (Middle Sikhote-Alin, 44°35'N, 135°36'E). This finding is the first reliable evidence of Asian black bear's presence in Pleistocene of Primorye. Its morphological and morphometric descriptions are given. The period of inhabitation of U. (E.) thibetanus determined based on the radiocarbon date obtained during the study of the tooth, is 39 874 ± 133 BP (NSK-850, UGAMS-21786), which corresponds to the middle of Marine Isotope Stage 3 (MIS 3) of Late Pleistocene. The composition of ancient theriofauna indicates the existence of wide variety of landscapes in Primorye in the middle of Late Pleistocene. A refugium of forest fauna, in which species of taiga, nemoral, and Central Asian mountain-forest theriocomplexes were present, was located in southern Primorye in Late Pleistocene.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. Sea ice-associated decline in body condition leads to increased concentrations of lipophilic pollutants in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard, Norway.

    PubMed

    Tartu, Sabrina; Bourgeon, Sophie; Aars, Jon; Andersen, Magnus; Polder, Anuschka; Thiemann, Gregory W; Welker, Jeffrey M; Routti, Heli

    2017-01-15

    Global climate changes are magnified in the Arctic and are having an especially dramatic effect on the spatial and temporal distribution and the thickness traits of sea ice. Decline of Arctic sea ice may lead to qualitative and/or quantitative changes in diet and reduced body condition (i.e. adipose tissue stores) of ice-associated apex predators such as polar bears (Ursus maritimus). This may further affect their tissue concentrations of lipophilic pollutants. We determined how variations in adipose tissue stores associated to both breeding status and spatial changes in sea ice conditions and diet influence concentrations and biotransformation of lipophilic persistent organic pollutants (POPs). We collected 112 blood and fat samples from female polar bears (Ursus maritimus) of different breeding status (alone, with cubs of the year, or with yearlings) during two seasons (April and September) in 2012 and 2013 at three locations of Svalbard, Norway, with contrasted sea ice conditions. We inferred diet from nitrogen and carbon stable isotope ratios in red blood cells and fatty acid composition in adipose tissue. Relative to diet, body condition, which was negatively related to sea ice extent at both temporal and spatial scales, was the most important predictor for concentrations of POPs in plasma and fat, whereas diet showed a minor influence. Additionally, fatter females were more efficient at biotransforming PCBs than were leaner ones. Breeding status influenced the concentrations of less lipophilic compounds such as β-hexachlorocyclohexane, which were lower in females with yearlings, probably due to excretion into milk and subsequent offloading to young. In conclusion, our results indicate that declining sea ice indirectly leads to increased concentrations of lipophilic pollutants in polar bears mediated through reduced feeding opportunities and declining body condition rather than changes in diet composition.

  7. Six months of disuse during hibernation does not increase intracortical porosity or decrease cortical bone geometry, strength, or mineralization in black bear (Ursus americanus) femurs.

    PubMed

    McGee-Lawrence, Meghan E; Wojda, Samantha J; Barlow, Lindsay N; Drummer, Thomas D; Bunnell, Kevin; Auger, Janene; Black, Hal L; Donahue, Seth W

    2009-07-22

    Disuse typically uncouples bone formation from resorption, leading to bone loss which compromises bone mechanical properties and increases the risk of bone fracture. Previous studies suggest that bears can prevent bone loss during long periods of disuse (hibernation), but small sample sizes have limited the conclusions that can be drawn regarding the effects of hibernation on bone structure and strength in bears. Here we quantified the effects of hibernation on structural, mineral, and mechanical properties of black bear (Ursus americanus) cortical bone by studying femurs from large groups of male and female bears (with wide age ranges) killed during pre-hibernation (fall) and post-hibernation (spring) periods. Bone properties that are affected by body mass (e.g. bone geometrical properties) tended to be larger in male compared to female bears. There were no differences (p>0.226) in bone structure, mineral content, or mechanical properties between fall and spring bears. Bone geometrical properties differed by less than 5% and bone mechanical properties differed by less than 10% between fall and spring bears. Porosity (fall: 5.5+/-2.2%; spring: 4.8+/-1.6%) and ash fraction (fall: 0.694+/-0.011; spring: 0.696+/-0.010) also showed no change (p>0.304) between seasons. Statistical power was high (>72%) for these analyses. Furthermore, bone geometrical properties and ash fraction (a measure of mineral content) increased with age and porosity decreased with age. These results support the idea that bears possess a biological mechanism to prevent disuse and age-related osteoporoses.

  8. 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.

  9. Changes in expression of hepatic genes involved in energy metabolism during hibernation in captive, adult, female Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    PubMed

    Shimozuru, Michito; Kamine, Akari; Tsubota, Toshio

    2012-10-01

    Hibernating bears survive up to 6 months without feeding by utilizing stored body fat as fuel. To investigate how bears maintain energy homeostasis during hibernation, we analyzed changes in mRNA expression of hepatic genes involved in energy metabolism throughout the hibernation period in captive, adult, female Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus). Real-time PCR analysis revealed down-regulation of glycolysis- (e.g., glucokinase), amino acid catabolism- (e.g., alanine aminotransferase) and de novo lipogenesis-related genes (e.g., acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1), and up-regulation of gluconeogensis- (e.g., pyruvate carboxylase), β-oxidation- (i.e., uncoupling protein 2) and ketogenesis-related genes (i.e., 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutary-CoA synthase 2), during hibernation, compared to the active period (June). In addition, we found that glycolysis-related genes (i.e., glucokinase and pyruvate kinase) were more suppressed in the early phase of hibernation (January) compared to the late phase (March). One week after the commencement of feeding in April, expression levels of most genes returned to levels comparable to those seen in June, but β-oxidation-related genes were still up-regulated during this period. These results suggest that the modulation of gene expression is not static, but changes throughout the hibernation period. The transcriptional modulation during hibernation represents a unique physiological adaptation to prolonged fasting in bears.

  10. 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.

    PubMed

    Dubey, J P; Quirk, T; Pittt, J A; Sundar, N; Velmurugan, G V; Kwok, O C H; Leclair, D; Hill, R; Su, C

    2008-02-01

    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. Genotyping of these T. gondii isolates using polymorphisms at 10 nuclear markers including SAGI, SAG2, SAG3, BTUB, GRA6, c22-8, c29-2, L358, PK1, and an apicoplast marker Apico revealed 4 genotypes. None of the isolates was clonal archetypal Types I, II, and III found in the United States. These results are in contrast with the Type II genotype that is widespread in domestic animals and humans throughout the United States and Europe. This is the first genotyping of T. gondii isolates from this part of North America.

  11. 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

  12. Bioaccumulation and biotransformation of brominated and chlorinated contaminants and their metabolites in ringed seals (Pusa hispida) and polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from East Greenland.

    PubMed

    Letcher, Robert J; Gebbink, Wouter A; Sonne, Christian; Born, Erik W; McKinney, Melissa A; Dietz, Rune

    2009-11-01

    We report on the comparative bioaccumulation, biotransformation and/or biomagnification from East Greenland ringed seal (Pusa hispida) blubber to polar bear (Ursus maritimus) tissues (adipose, liver and brain) of various classes and congeners of persistent chlorinated and brominated contaminants and metabolic by-products: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chlordanes (CHLs), hydroxyl (OH-) and methylsulfonyl (MeSO(2)-) PCBs, polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs), OH-PBBs, polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) and hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD) flame retardants and OH- and methoxyl (MeO-) PBDEs, 2,2-dichloro-bis(4-chlorophenyl)ethene (p,p'-DDE), 3-MeSO(2)-p,p'-DDE, pentachlorophenol (PCP) and 4-OH-heptachlorostyrene (4-OH-HpCS). We detected all of the investigated contaminants in ringed seal blubber with high frequency, the main diet of East Greenland bears, with the exception of OH-PCBs and 4-OH-HpCS, which indicated that these phenolic contaminants were likely of metabolic origin and formed in the bears from accumulated PCBs and octachlorostyrene (OCS), respectively, rather than being bioaccumulated from a seal blubber diet. For all of the detectable sum of classes or individual organohalogens, in general, the ringed seal to polar bear mean BMFs for SigmaPCBs, p,p'-DDE, SigmaCHLs, SigmaMeSO(2)-PCBs, 3-MeSO(2)-p,p'-DDE, PCP, SigmaPBDEs, total-(alpha)-HBCD, SigmaOH-PBDEs, SigmaMeO-PBDEs and SigmaOH-PBBs indicated that these organohalogens bioaccumulate, and in some cases there was tissue-specific biomagnification, e.g., BMFs for bear adipose and liver ranged from 2 to 570. The blood-brain barrier appeared to be effective in minimizing brain accumulation as BMFs were bear tissues appeared to be mainly accumulated from the seal blubber rather than being metabolic formed from PBDEs in the bears. In vitro PBDE depletion assays using polar bear hepatic microsomes

  13. Serologic survey for Toxoplasma gondii in grizzly bears from Alaska.

    PubMed

    Zarnke, R L; Dubey, J P; Kwok, O C; Ver Hoef, J M

    1997-04-01

    Blood samples were collected from 892 grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in Alaska (USA) from 1973 to 1987. Sera were tested for evidence of exposure to Toxoplasma gondii by means of the modified agglutination test. Two hundred twenty sera (25%) had titers > or = 25, the minimum threshold titer. Six hundred seventy-two sera (75%) had titers < 25. Antibody prevalence ranged from 9% (18 positive of 196 tested) in southern areas to 37% (162 of 433 tested) in northern areas. There was no readily apparent explanation for these discrepancies in location-specific prevalence.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. cDNA, genomic sequence cloning, and overexpression of EIF1 from the giant panda (Ailuropoda Melanoleuca) and the black bear (Ursus Thibetanus Mupinensis).

    PubMed

    Hou, Wan-ru; Tang, Yun; Hou, Yi-ling; Song, Yan; Zhang, Tian; Wu, Guang-fu

    2010-07-01

    Eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF) EIF1 is a universally conserved translation factor that is involved in translation initiation site selection. The cDNA and the genomic sequences of EIF1 were cloned successfully from the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) and the black bear (Ursus thibetanus mupinensis) using reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) technology and touchdown-polymerase chain reaction, respectively. The cDNAs of the EIF1 cloned from the giant panda and the black bear are 418 bp in size, containing an open reading frame (ORF) of 342 bp encoding 113 amino acids. The length of the genomic sequence of the giant panda is 1909 bp, which contains four exons and three introns. The length of the genomic sequence of the black bear is 1897 bp, which also contains four exons and three introns. Sequence alignment indicates a high degree of homology to those of Homo sapiens, Mus musculus, Rattus norvegicus, and Bos Taurus at both amino acid and DNA levels. Topology prediction shows there are one N-glycosylation site, two Casein kinase II phosphorylation sites, and a Amidation site in the EIF1 protein of the giant panda and black bear. In addition, there is a protein kinase C phosphorylation site in EIF1 of the giant panda. The giant panda and the black bear EIF1 genes were overexpressed in E. coli BL21. The results indicated that the both EIF1 fusion proteins with the N-terminally His-tagged form gave rise to the accumulation of two expected 19 kDa polypeptide. The expression products obtained could be used to purify the proteins and study their function further.

  17. Combined thin layer chromatography and gas chromatography with mass spectrometric analysis of lipid classes and fatty acids in malnourished polar bears (Ursus maritimus) which swam to Iceland.

    PubMed

    Eibler, Dorothee; Krüger, Sabine; Skírnisson, Karl; Vetter, Walter

    2017-03-01

    Between 2008 and 2011, four polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from the Greenland population swam and/or drifted on ice to Iceland where they arrived in very poor body condition. Body fat resources in these animals were only between 0% and 10% of the body weight (usually 25%). Here we studied the lipid composition in different tissues (adipose tissue if available, liver, kidney and muscle). Lipid classes were determined by thin layer chromatography (TLC) and on-column gas chromatography with mass spectrometry (GC/MS). The fatty acid pattern of total lipids and free fatty acids was analyzed by GC/MS in selected ion monitoring (SIM) mode. Additionally, cholesteryl esters and native fatty acid methyl esters, initially detected as zones in thin layer chromatograms, were enriched by solid phase extraction and quantified by GC/MS. The ratio of free fatty acids to native fatty acid methyl esters could be correlated with the remained body lipids in the polar bears and thus may also serve as a marker for other starving animals or even for humans.

  18. Localization of five steroidogenic enzyme mRNAs in Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) testes during the mating season by in situ hybridization.

    PubMed

    Iibuchi, Ruriko; Shimozuru, Michito; Kamine, Akari; Nio-Kobayashi, Junko; Iwanaga, Toshihiko; Tsubota, Toshio

    2010-04-01

    The Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) is a typical seasonal breeder that has a mating season in early summer. Spermatogenesis and testicular steroidogenesis are known to develop and regress annually; however, its molecular mechanism has not yet been investigated. In the present study, we clarified the mRNA sequence of 5 steroidogenic enzymes (P450scc, 3betaHSD, P450c17, 17betaHSD3 and P450arom) using RT-PCR and RACE methods and the localization of these gene expressions in the bear testis using an in situ hybridization technique. The amino acid sequence deduced from each mRNA sequence had high homology with the corresponding sequences of other species and possessed a motif typical of the P450 family or short chain alcohol dehydrogenase family. Expression of P450scc, 3betaHSD and P450c17 mRNA in interstitial tissue indicated that conversion from cholesterol to androstenedione occurs in Leydig cells. On the other hand, the mRNA of 17betaHSD3, which plays a central role in synthesizing testosterone, was detected not only in the interstitium but also inside the seminiferous tubules, along the basement membrane. P450arom mRNAs were distributed in the seminiferous tubules. These results suggest the possibility of testosterone and estradiol-17beta synthesis inside the seminiferous tubules in the bear testis. We expect that the results of this study will be useful for further investigation of the molecular mechanism of steroidogenic seasonality in the bear testis.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. Reproductive performance in East Greenland polar bears (Ursus maritimus) may be affected by organohalogen contaminants as shown by physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) modelling.

    PubMed

    Sonne, Christian; Gustavson, Kim; Rigét, Frank F; Dietz, Rune; Birkved, Morten; Letcher, Robert J; Bossi, Rossana; Vorkamp, Katrin; Born, Erik W; Petersen, Gitte

    2009-12-01

    Polar bears (Ursus maritimus) feed mainly on ringed seal (Phoca hispida) and consume large quantities of blubber and consequently have one of the highest tissue concentrations of organohalogen contaminants (OHCs) worldwide. In East Greenland, studies of OHC time trends and organ system health effects, including reproductive, were conducted during 1990-2006. However, it has been difficult to determine the nature of the effects induced by OHC exposures on wild caught polar bears using body burden data and associated changes in reproductive organs and systems. We therefore conducted a risk quotient (RQ) evaluation to more quantitatively evaluate the effect risk on reproduction (embryotoxicity and teratogenicity) based on the critical body residue (CBR) concept and using a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model. We applied modelling approaches to PCBs, p,p'-DDE, dieldrin, oxychlordane, HCHs, HCB, PBDEs and PFOS in East Greenland polar bears based on known OHC pharmacokinetics and dynamics in laboratory rats (Rattus rattus). The results showed that subcutaneous adipose tissue concentrations of dieldrin (range: 79-1271 ng g(-1) lw) and PCBs (range: 4128-53,923 ng g(-1) lw) reported in bears in the year 1990 were in the range to elicit possible adverse health effects on reproduction in polar bears in East Greenland (all RQs > or = 1). Similar results were found for PCBs (range: 1928-17,376 ng g(-1) lw) and PFOS (range: 104-2840 ng g(-1) ww) in the year 2000 and for dieldrin (range: 43-640 ng g(-1) lw), PCBs (range: 3491-13,243 ng g(-1) lw) and PFOS (range: 1332-6160 ng g(-1) ww) in the year 2006. The concentrations of oxychlordane, DDTs, HCB and HCHs in polar bears resulted in RQs<1 and thus appear less likely to be linked to reproductive effects. Furthermore, sumRQs above 1 suggested risk for OHC additive effects. Thus, previous suggestions of possible adverse health effects in polar bears correlated to OHC exposure are supported by the present study. This

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Genetic status of Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) reintroduced into South Korea based on mitochondrial DNA and microsatellite loci analysis.

    PubMed

    Kim, Yung-Kun; Hong, Yoon-Jee; Min, Mi-Sook; Kim, Kyung Seok; Kim, Young-Jun; Voloshina, Inna; Myslenkov, Alexander; Smith, Gavin J D; Cuong, Nguyen Dinh; Tho, Huynh Huu; Han, Sang-Hoon; Yang, Doo-Ha; Kim, Chang-Bae; Lee, Hang

    2011-01-01

    The Asiatic black bear is one of the most endangered mammals in South Korea owing to population declines resulting from human exploitation and habitat fragmentation. To restore the black bear population in South Korea, 27 bear cubs from North Korea and Russian Far East (Primorsky Krai) were imported and released into Jirisan National Park, a reservoir of the largest wild population in South Korea, in 2004. To monitor the success of this reintroduction, the genetic diversity and population structure of the reintroduced black bears were measured using both mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers. Mitochondrial D-loop region DNA sequences (615 bp) of 43 Japanese black bears from previous study and 14 Southeast Asian black bears in this study were employed to obtain phylogenetic inference of the reintroduced black bears. The mitochondrial phylogeny indicated Asiatic black bear populations from Russian Far East and North Korea form a single evolutionary unit distinct from populations from Japan and Southeast Asia. Mean expected heterozygosity (H(E)) across 16 microsatellite loci was 0.648 for Russian and 0.676 for North Korean populations. There was a moderate but significant level of microsatellite differentiation (F(ST) = 0.063) between black bears from the 2 source areas. In addition, genetic evidences revealed that 2 populations are represented as diverging groups, with lingering genetic admixture among individuals of 2 source populations. Relatedness analysis based on genetic markers indicated several discrepancies with the pedigree records. Implication of the phylogenetic and genetic evidences on long-term management of Asiatic black bears in South Korea is discussed.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. Estimating the success rate of ovulation and early litter loss rate in the Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) by examining the ovaries and uteri.

    PubMed

    Yamanaka, Atsushi; Yamauchi, Kiyoshi; Tsujimoto, Tsunenori; Mizoguchi, Toshio; Oi, Toru; Sawada, Seigo; Shimozuru, Michito; Tsubota, Toshio

    2011-02-01

    In order to develop a method for estimating the success/failure rates of reproductive processes, especially those of ovulation and neonate nurturing, in the Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus), we examined offspring status, corpora lutea (CLs), placental scars (PSs) and corpora albicantia (CAs) in 159 females (0-23 years old) killed as nuisances on Honshu Island of Japan during 2001-2009. PSs were found to remain in the uterus at least until November of the year of parturition. CA detectability began to decline after September of the year of parturition. Monthly and age-specific proportions of CL-present females revealed that the post-mating season starts in August, and that the age of first ovulation is 4 years. These results indicate that the success rate of ovulation (SRO: the probability that solitary/non-lactating mature females actually succeed in ovulation) can be estimated by calculating the proportion of CL-present females among > or = 4-year-old females without PSs captured from August to November; the early litter loss rate (ELLR: the probability that parenting females lose all of their cubs [0-year-old offspring] before mating season) can be estimated by calculating the proportion of CL-present females among those with PSs and CAs captured in August or later. The estimated values of SRO and ELLR were 0.93 (62/67) and 0.27 (6/22), respectively.

  10. Detection and prevalence of four different hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. in Eastern North Carolina American black bears (Ursus americanus).

    PubMed

    Westmoreland, Lori S H; Stoskopf, Michael K; Maggi, Ricardo G

    2017-02-01

    Hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. are globally emerging, obligate parasitic, epierythrocytic bacteria that infect many vertebrates, including humans. Hemoplasma infection can cause acute life-threatening symptoms or lead to a chronic sub-clinical carrier state. Hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. transmission, prevalence, and host specificity are uncertain. The purpose of this study was to determine the molecular prevalence of Mycoplasma species in blood from 68 free-ranging black bears from the eastern coast of North Carolina. DNA amplification of Mycoplasma 16S rRNA gene identified four distinct species infecting 34/68 (50%) of the black bear blood samples, including Candidatus M. haematoparvum. The high prevalence of hemotropic Mycoplasma infection in this wildlife species highlights the importance of understanding intra and inter species transmission. Black bears may play a role in the transmission of hemotropic Mycoplasma spp. between animals, arthropod vectors, and humans. Further studies are needed to elucidate black bears as a potential reservoir for hemotropic Mycoplasma infections.

  11. Environmental Chemicals Modulate Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma (PPARG) and Adipogenesis in Vitro.

    PubMed

    Routti, Heli; Lille-Langøy, Roger; Berg, Mari K; Fink, Trine; Harju, Mikael; Kristiansen, Kurt; Rostkowski, Pawel; Rusten, Marte; Sylte, Ingebrigt; Øygarden, Lene; Goksøyr, Anders

    2016-10-04

    We studied interactions between polar bear peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (pbPPARG) and selected compounds using a luciferase reporter assay and predictions through molecular docking. Furthermore, we studied adipogenesis by liver and adipose tissue extracts from a polar bear and three synthetic mixtures of contaminants in murine 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and polar bear adipose tissue-derived stem cells (pbASCs). PCB153 and p,p'-DDE antagonized pbPPARG, although their predicted receptor-ligand affinity was weak. PBDEs, tetrabromobisphenol A, and PCB170 had a weak agonistic effect on pbPPARG, while hexabromocyclododecane, bisphenol A, oxychlordane, and endosulfan were weak antagonists. pbPPARG-mediated luciferase activity was suppressed by synthetic contaminant mixtures reflecting levels measured in polar bear adipose tissue, as were transcript levels of PPARG and the PPARG target gene fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4) in pbASCs. Contaminant extracts from polar bear tissues enhanced triglyceride accumulation in murine 3T3-L1 cells and pbASCs, whereas triglyceride accumulation was not affected by the synthetic mixtures. Chemical characterization of extracts using nontarget methods revealed presence of exogenous compounds that have previously been reported to induce adipogenesis. These compounds included phthalates, tonalide, and nonylphenol. In conclusion, major legacy contaminants in polar bear adipose tissue exert antagonistic effects on PPARG, but adipogenesis by a mixture containing emerging compounds may be enhanced through PPARG or other pathways.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.; Beringer, J.; Belant, Jerrold L.; White, D.; 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. Preservation of bone mass and structure in hibernating black bears (Ursus americanus) through elevated expression of anabolic genes.

    PubMed

    Fedorov, Vadim B; Goropashnaya, Anna V; Tøien, Øivind; Stewart, Nathan C; Chang, Celia; Wang, Haifang; Yan, Jun; Showe, Louise C; Showe, Michael K; Donahue, Seth W; Barnes, Brian M

    2012-06-01

    Physical inactivity reduces mechanical load on the skeleton, which leads to losses of bone mass and strength in non-hibernating mammalian species. Although bears are largely inactive during hibernation, they show no loss in bone mass and strength. To obtain insight into molecular mechanisms preventing disuse bone loss, we conducted a large-scale screen of transcriptional changes in trabecular bone comparing winter hibernating and summer non-hibernating black bears using a custom 12,800 probe cDNA microarray. A total of 241 genes were differentially expressed (P < 0.01 and fold change >1.4) in the ilium bone of bears between winter and summer. The Gene Ontology and Gene Set Enrichment Analysis showed an elevated proportion in hibernating bears of overexpressed genes in six functional sets of genes involved in anabolic processes of tissue morphogenesis and development including skeletal development, cartilage development, and bone biosynthesis. Apoptosis genes demonstrated a tendency for downregulation during hibernation. No coordinated directional changes were detected for genes involved in bone resorption, although some genes responsible for osteoclast formation and differentiation (Ostf1, Rab9a, and c-Fos) were significantly underexpressed in bone of hibernating bears. Elevated expression of multiple anabolic genes without induction of bone resorption genes, and the down regulation of apoptosis-related genes, likely contribute to the adaptive mechanism that preserves bone mass and structure through prolonged periods of immobility during hibernation.

  18. Preservation of bone mass and structure in hibernating black bears (Ursus americanus) through elevated expression of anabolic genes

    PubMed Central

    Goropashnaya, Anna V.; Tøien, Øivind; Stewart, Nathan C.; Chang, Celia; Wang, Haifang; Yan, Jun; Showe, Louise C.; Showe, Michael K.; Donahue, Seth W.; Barnes, Brian M.

    2015-01-01

    Physical inactivity reduces mechanical load on the skeleton, which leads to losses of bone mass and strength in non-hibernating mammalian species. Although bears are largely inactive during hibernation, they show no loss in bone mass and strength. To obtain insight into molecular mechanisms preventing disuse bone loss, we conducted a large-scale screen of transcriptional changes in trabecular bone comparing winter hibernating and summer non-hibernating black bears using a custom 12,800 probe cDNA microarray. A total of 241 genes were differentially expressed (P<0.01 and fold change >1.4) in the ilium bone of bears between winter and summer. The Gene Ontology and Gene Set Enrichment Analysis showed an elevated proportion in hibernating bears of overexpressed genes in six functional sets of genes involved in anabolic processes of tissue morphogenesis and development including skeletal development, cartilage development, and bone biosynthesis. Apoptosis genes demonstrated a tendency for downregulation during hibernation. No coordinated directional changes were detected for genes involved in bone resorption, although some genes responsible for osteoclast formation and differentiation (Ostf1, Rab9a, and c-Fos) were significantly underexpressed in bone of hibernating bears. Elevated expression of multiple anabolic genes without induction of bone resorption genes, and the down regulation of apoptosis-related genes, likely contribute to the adaptive mechanism that preserves bone mass and structure through prolonged periods of immobility during hibernation. PMID:22351243

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. First report of clinical disease associated with canine distemper virus infection in a wild black bear (Ursus americana).

    PubMed

    Cottrell, W O; Keel, M Kevin; Brooks, J W; Mead, D G; Phillips, J E

    2013-10-01

    An approximately 1-yr-old black bear was discovered on the porch of a rural residence in southwestern Pennsylvania on October 26, 2011, where it remained during the day in spite of efforts to frighten it away. The bear exhibited periods of somnolence and sporadic tremors and seizures. It was euthanized by gunshot that evening. Immediately after euthanasia it was observed to have footpads that exuded fluid when compressed. It was submitted for necropsy the next day where roughened footpads were noted. Histologic examination of the brain demonstrated nonsuppurative encephalitis with eosinophilic intranuclear and intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies in neurons. The footpads were thickened and hyperkeratotic. Canine distemper virus (CDV) was detected by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in the brain and footpads, and by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from the brain tissue. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the CDV cDNA from the bear had 98.2% nucleotide identity to the Rockborn-Candur vaccine and a canine isolate from 2004 in Missouri, USA, and 97.3% nucleotide identity to a raccoon CDV isolated in 2011 from Tennessee, USA. This represents a first report of CDV as a cause of encephalitis or footpad hyperkeratosis in a wild black bear.

  3. Leptin Receptor (Ob-R) expression in the ovary and uterus of the wild japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    PubMed

    Nakamura, Sachiko; Nishii, Naohito; Yamanaka, Atsushi; Kitagawa, Hitoshi; Asano, Makoto; Tsubota, Toshio; Suzuki, Masatsugu

    2009-04-01

    To verify target organ(s) of leptin in the reproductive system of the Japanese black bear, we examined the expression of leptin receptor (Ob-R) protein in ovaries and uteri collected from July to December 2006 by immunohistochemical techniques. Eleven of 22 female Japanese black bears examined had corpora lutea (CLs) in their ovaries and were thought to have undergone or to have terminated delayed implantation in the early pregnancy stage. The CLs were classified into 3 types based on morphological features. The maximum diameters of Type 1 CLs ranged 3 to 7 mm, and the luteal cells contained numerous vacuoles in the cytoplasm, which suggests that this type of CL was functional. The maximum diameters of Type 2 CLs were approximately 7 mm, and the luteal cells contained fewer vacuoles in the cytoplasm, which suggests that this type of CL was in the early stage of regression. Finally, the maximum diameters of Type 3 CLs were approximately 1 mm, and these CLs contained collagen fibers among their luteal cells, which suggests that this type of CL had regressed. The 3 types of CLs showed different reactions to Ob-R, with positive staining in Type 1, much less positive staining in Type 2 and nearly negative staining in Type 3. In bears having CLs with functional and regressive features (Type 1 and 2 CLs), Ob-R was also immunolocalized in the developed glandular and ductal endometrial epithelium. In contrast, the Ob-R was absent in the undeveloped endometrial epithelium in bears with regressed (Type 3 CLs) or no CLs. These findings suggested that leptin directly targets CLs and the endometrium so as to develop and maintain them during the delayed implantation period in Japanese black bears.

  4. 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.

  5. 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

  6. Whitebark pine, grizzly bears, and red squirrels

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Mattson, D.J.; Kendall, K.C.; Reinhart, D.P.; Tomback, D.F.; Arno, S.F.; Keane, R.E.

    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.

  7. 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%.

  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. 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.

  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. Estimates of brown bear abundance on Kodiak Island, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barnes, V.G.; Smith, R.B.

    1998-01-01

    During 1987-94 we used capture-mark-resight (CMR) methodology and rates of observation (bears/hour and bears/100 km2) of unmarked brown bears (Ursus arctos middendorffi) during intensive aerial surveys (IAS) to estimate abundance of brown bears on Kodiak Island and to establish a baseline for monitoring population trends. CMR estimates were obtained on 3 study areas; density ranged from 216-234 bears/1,000 km2 for independent animals and 292-342 bears/1,000 km2 including dependent offspring. Rates of observation during IAS ranged from 1.4-5.4 independent bears/hour and 2.9-18.0 independent bears/100 km2. Density estimates for independent bears on each IAS area were obtained by dividing mean number of bears observed during replicate surveys by estimated sightability (based on CMR-derived sightability in areas with similar habitat. Brown bear abundance on 21 geographic units of Kodiak Island and 3 nearby islands was estimated by extrapolation from CMR and IAS data using comparisons of habitat characteristics and sport harvest information. Population estimates for independent and total bears were 1,800 and 2,600. The CMR and IAS procedures offer alternative means, depending on management objective and available resources, of measuring population trend of brown bears on Kodiak Island.

  12. 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

    2013-02-07

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. Brown bear habituation to people - Safety, risks, and benefits

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Herrero, Stephen; Smith, Tom; DeBruyn, Terry D.; Gunther, Kerry; Matt, Colleen 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.

  17. 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.

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

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    White, D.; 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Physiologic responses of grizzly bears to different methods of capture.

    PubMed

    Cattet, Marc R; Christison, Katina; Caulkett, Nigel A; Stenhouse, Gordon B

    2003-07-01

    The physiologic effects of two methods of capture, chemical immobilization of free-ranging (FR) bears by remote injection from a helicopter and physical restraint (PR) by leg-hold snare prior to chemical immobilization, were compared in 46 grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) handled during 90 captures between 1999 and 2001. Induction dosages and times were greater for FR bears than PR bears, a finding consistent with depletion of, or decreased sensitivity to, catecholamines. Free-ranging bears also had higher rectal temperatures 15 min following immobilization and temperatures throughout handling that correlated positively with induction time. Physically restrained bears had higher white blood cell counts, with more neutrophils and fewer lymphocytes and eosinophils, than did FR bears. This white blood cell profile was consistent with a stress leukogram, possibly affected by elevated levels of serum cortisol. Serum concentrations of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and creatine kinase were higher in PR bears that suggested muscle injury. Serum concentrations of sodium and chloride also were higher in PR bears and attributed to reduced body water volume through water deprivation and increased insensible water loss. Overall, different methods of capture resulted in different patterns of physiologic disturbance. Reducing pursuit and drug induction times should help to minimize increase in body temperature and alteration of acid-base balance in bears immobilized by remote injection. Minimizing restraint time and ensuring snare-anchoring cables are short should help to minimize loss of body water and prevent serious muscle injury in bears captured by leg-hold snare.

  1. Roadside bear viewing opportunities in Yellowstone National Park: characteristics, trends, and influence of whitebark pine

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Haroldson, Mark A.; Gunther, Kerry

    2014-01-01

    Opportunities for viewing grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and American black bears (U. americanus) from roadways in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) have increased in recent years. Unlike the panhandling bears common prior to the 1970s, current viewing usually involves bears feeding on natural foods. We define roadside bear viewing opportunities that cause traffic congestion as ‘‘bear-jams.’’ We investigated characteristics of bear-jams and their frequency relative to whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) cone production, an important fall food for bears, during 1990–2004. We observed a difference in diel distribution of bear-jams between species (x2=70.609, 4 df, P<0.001) with the occurrence of grizzly bear-jams being more crepuscular. We found evidence for decreasing distances between bears and roadways and increasing durations of bears-jams. The annual proportion of bear-jams for both species occurring after the week of 13–19 August were 3–4 times higher during poor cone crop years than good. We suggest that native foods found in road corridors may be especially important to some individual bears during years exhibiting poor whitebark pine crops. We discuss management implications of threats to whitebark pine and increasing habituation of bears to people.

  2. 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

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

    PubMed

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

    2014-04-07

    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.

  4. 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)

  5. A comprehensive analysis of three Asiatic black bear mitochondrial genomes (subspecies ussuricus, formosanus and mupinensis), with emphasis on the complete mtDNA sequence of Ursus thibetanus ussuricus (Ursidae).

    PubMed

    Hwang, Dae-Sik; Ki, Jang-Seu; Jeong, Dong-Hyuk; Kim, Bo-Hyun; Lee, Bae-Keun; Han, Sang-Hoon; Lee, Jae-Seong

    2008-08-01

    In the present paper, we describe the mitochondrial genome sequence of the Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus ussuricus) with particular emphasis on the control region (CR), and compared with mitochondrial genomes on molecular relationships among the bears. The mitochondrial genome sequence of U. thibetanus ussuricus was 16,700 bp in size with mostly conserved structures (e.g. 13 protein-coding, two rRNA genes, 22 tRNA genes). The CR consisted of several typical conserved domains such as F, E, D, and C boxes, and a conserved sequence block. Nucleotide sequences and the repeated motifs in the CR were different among the bear species, and their copy numbers were also variable according to populations, even within F1 generations of U. thibetanus ussuricus. Comparative analyses showed that the CR D1 region was highly informative for the discrimination of the bear family. These findings suggest that nucleotide sequences of both repeated motifs and CR D1 in the bear family are good markers for species discriminations.

  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, Steven 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

    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.

  10. 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.

  11. Possible relationships between trichinellosis and abnormal behavior in bears

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Worley, David E.; Greer, Kenneth R.; Palmisciano, D.A.

    1983-01-01

    Data compiled from parasite studies of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) and black bears (U. americanus) in the Yellowstone and Glacier National Park populations and surrounding areas of Montana and Wyoming during 1969-79 are reviewed with reference to the possible influence of infection with the muscleworm Trichinella sp. on bear behavior. In grizzly bears, the high prevalence of this parasite (61% of 254 bears infected), the elevated larval concentrations in sensitive anatomical sites such as the tongue (average, 51 larvae per gram of tissue), and the chronic nature of bear infections as indicated by the tendency for highest infection rates to occur in older age classes (> 16 yrs.), suggest a potential behavior-modifying effect might exist. However, retrospective analysis of recent human attacks by 4 grizzlies and 2 black bears in the northern Rocky Mountain region failed to demonstrate a consistent connection between erratic conduct and levels of Trichinella larvae (trichinae) in bear tissues. Clinical similarities of trichinellosis in bears and humans are hypothesized, and possible behavioral effects of ursine trichinellosis are discussed.

  12. 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.

  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. Insights from the Den: How Hibernating Bears May Help Us Understand and Treat Human Disease.

    PubMed

    Berg von Linde, Maria; Arevström, Lilith; Fröbert, Ole

    2015-10-01

    Hibernating brown bears (Ursus arctos) and black bears (Ursus americanus) spend half of the year in a physically inactive state inside their winter dens without food intake and defecating and no or little urination. Under similar extreme conditions, humans would suffer from loss of lean body mass, heart failure, thrombosis, azotemia, osteoporosis, and more. However, bears exit the den in the spring strong without organ injuries. Translational animal models are used in human medicine but traditional experimental animals have several shortcomings; thus, we believe that it is time to systematically explore new models. In this review paper, we describe physiological adaptations of hibernating bears and how similar adaptations in humans could theoretically alleviate medical conditions. The bear has solved most of the health challenges faced by humans, including heart and kidney disease, atherosclerosis and thrombosis, and muscle wasting and osteoporosis. Understanding and applying this library of information could lead to a number of major discoveries that could have implications for the understanding and treatment of human disease.

  15. 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.

  16. Changes in plasma gonadotropins, inhibin and testosterone concentrations and testicular gonadotropin receptor mRNA expression during testicular active, regressive and recrudescent phase in the captive Japanese black bear (Ursus thibetanus japonicus).

    PubMed

    Iibuchi, Ruriko; Kamine, Akari; Shimozuru, Michito; Nio-Kobayashi, Junko; Watanabe, Gen; Taya, Kazuyoshi; Tsubota, Toshio

    2010-02-01

    Male Japanese black bears (Ursus thibetanus japonicus) have an explicit reproductive cycle. The objective of this study was to clarify the variation of plasma testosterone, FSH, inhibin, LH levels and testicular gonadotropin receptor mRNA expression of male bears associated with their testicular activity. Notably, this study investigated peripheral FSH concentration and localization of gonadotropin receptor mRNAs for the first time in male bears. Blood and testicular tissue samples were taken from captive, mature, male Japanese black bears during testicular active, regressive and recrudescent phases. Plasma hormone concentrations were measured by immunoassays, and gonadotropin receptor mRNA expression in the testis was investigated by in situ hybridization technique and also by real-time PCR. There were significant variations in plasma testosterone and inhibin concentrations. Changes in FSH concentration preceded these hormones with a similar tendency. Hormones started to increase during denning, and achieved the highest values at the end of the recrudescent phase for FSH and in the active phase for testosterone and inhibin. These changes in hormone concentrations were accompanied by testicular growth. In situ hybridization analysis revealed that FSH and LH receptor mRNA was possibly expressed in Sertoli cells and Leydig cells, respectively, as they are in other mammals. However, neither plasma LH concentration nor testicular gonadotropin receptor mRNA expression level varied significantly among the sampling months. These results suggest that FSH, inhibin and testosterone have roles in testicular activity in male bears. This study provides important endocrine information for comprehending seasonal reproductivity in male Japanese black bears.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

    ,; 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.

  1. 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

  2. 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

  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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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).

  7. 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).

  8. 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

  9. 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.

  10. Responses of brown bears to human activities at O'Malley River, Kodiak Island, Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Wilker, Gregory A.; Barnes, Victor G.

    1998-01-01

    We classified levels of direct response of brown bears (Ursus arctos middendorffi) to aircraft, watercraft, and groups of people on the O'Malley River area of Kodiak Island, Alaska. General public use occurred on the area in 1991 and 1993, whereas structured bear viewing programs used the area in 1992 and 1994. Brown bears displayed high (running) or moderate (walking away) response on 18 (48%) occasions when fixed-wing aircraft flew over the animals <100 m above ground. Three of 4 helicopter flights <200 m overhead and 9 interactions with watercraft at ≤200 m distance also elicited strong response. Encounters between people and bears resulted in strong responses from bears more frequently (37%, n = 134) during years of general public use than in years of structured bear viewing (6%, n = 72, P < 0.0001). We suggest that higher levels of low or neutral response by bears to encounters with guided bear viewing groups was the result of consistent and predictable patterns of human activity.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. Formal behavioral evaluation of enrichment programs on a zookeeper's schedule: a case study with a polar bear (Ursus Maritimus) at the Bronx Zoo.

    PubMed

    Canino, Wendy; Powell, David

    2010-01-01

    We conducted a brief study of the effectiveness of environmental enrichment for a polar bear at the Bronx Zoo with two objectives in mind. First we wanted to determine if a novel method of collecting data that easily fits into a zookeeper's work routine would produce usable data and if so, we wanted to evaluate the effectiveness of some new items that had been purchased for enriching the polar bear in reducing his pacing behavior. Observations were recorded for 119 days over a period of 5 months from April 2007 through August 2007. Five new items and eight previously used items were rotated and presented to the polar bear in the morning and afternoon. We recorded the bear's behavior five times per day as we passed by his exhibit during our regular work routine. Predictably, we found that the newer enrichment items were more effective at increasing play and decreasing pacing, as well as other more subtle effects on his behavior that helped us to design a better enrichment routine. More importantly, we found that this method of "multi-point scan sampling" was effective at producing ample and reliable data that could be used to analyze the bear's behavior without adding significant work to the keepers' daily routine.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. Grizzly bear predation rates on caribou calves in northeastern Alaska

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Young, Donald D.; McCabe, Thomas 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Seasonal changes in isoform composition of giant proteins of thick and thin filaments and titin (connectin) phosphorylation level in striated muscles of bears (Ursidae, Mammalia).

    PubMed

    Salmov, N N; Vikhlyantsev, I M; Ulanova, A D; Gritsyna, Yu V; Bobylev, A G; Saveljev, A P; Makariushchenko, V V; Maksudov, G Yu; Podlubnaya, Z A

    2015-03-01

    Seasonal changes in the isoform composition of thick and thin filament proteins (titin, myosin heavy chains (MyHCs), nebulin), as well as in the phosphorylation level of titin in striated muscles of brown bear (Ursus arctos) and hibernating Himalayan black bear (Ursus thibetanus ussuricus) were studied. We found that the changes that lead to skeletal muscle atrophy in bears during hibernation are not accompanied by a decrease in the content of nebulin and intact titin-1 (T1) isoforms. However, a decrease (2.1-3.4-fold) in the content of T2 fragments of titin was observed in bear skeletal muscles (m. gastrocnemius, m. longissimus dorsi, m. biceps) during hibernation. The content of the stiffer N2B titin isoform was observed to increase relative to the content of its more compliant N2BA isoform in the left ventricles of hibernating bears. At the same time, in spite of the absence of decrease in the total content of T1 in the myocardium of hibernating brown bear, the content of T2 fragments decreased ~1.6-fold. The level of titin phosphorylation only slightly increased in the cardiac muscle of hibernating brown bear. In the skeletal muscles of brown bear, the level of titin phosphorylation did not vary between seasons. However, changes in the composition of MyHCs aimed at increasing the content of slow (I) and decreasing the content of fast (IIa) isoforms of this protein during hibernation of brown bear were detected. Content of MyHCs I and IIa in the skeletal muscles of hibernating Himalayan black bear corresponded to that in the skeletal muscles of hibernating brown bear.

  6. 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.

  7. Physiological reactions to capture in hibernating brown bears

    PubMed Central

    Evans, Alina L.; Singh, Navinder J.; Fuchs, Boris; Blanc, Stéphane; Friebe, Andrea; Laske, Timothy G.; Frobert, Ole; Swenson, Jon E.; Arnemo, Jon M.

    2016-01-01

    Human disturbance can affect animal life history and even population dynamics. However, the consequences of these disturbances are difficult to measure. This is especially true for hibernating animals, which are highly vulnerable to disturbance, because hibernation is a process of major physiological changes, involving conservation of energy during a resource-depleted time of year. During the winters of 2011–15, we captured 15 subadult brown bears (Ursus arctos) and recorded their body temperatures (n = 11) and heart rates (n = 10) before, during and after capture using biologgers. We estimated the time for body temperature and heart rate to normalize after the capture event. We then evaluated the effect of the captures on the pattern and depth of hibernation and the day of den emergence by comparing the body temperature of captured bears with that of undisturbed subadult bears (n = 11). Both body temperature and heart rate increased during capture and returned to hibernation levels after 15–20 days. We showed that bears required 2–3 weeks to return to hibernation levels after winter captures, suggesting high metabolic costs during this period. There were also indications that the winter captures resulted in delayed den emergence. PMID:27990289

  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. Life in the fat lane: seasonal regulation of insulin sensitivity, food intake, and adipose biology in brown bears.

    PubMed

    Rigano, K S; Gehring, J L; Evans Hutzenbiler, B D; Chen, A V; Nelson, O L; Vella, C A; Robbins, C T; Jansen, H T

    2016-12-16

    Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) have evolved remarkable metabolic adaptations including enormous fat accumulation during the active season followed by fasting during hibernation. However, these fluctuations in body mass do not cause the same harmful effects associated with obesity in humans. To better understand these seasonal transitions, we performed insulin and glucose tolerance tests in captive grizzly bears, characterized the annual profiles of circulating adipokines, and tested the anorectic effects of centrally administered leptin at different times of the year. We also used bear gluteal adipocyte cultures to test insulin and beta-adrenergic sensitivity in vitro. Bears were insulin resistant during hibernation but were sensitive during the spring and fall active periods. Hibernating bears remained euglycemic, possibly due to hyperinsulinemia and hyperglucagonemia. Adipokine concentrations were relatively low throughout the active season but peaked in mid-October prior to hibernation when fat content was greatest. Serum glycerol was highest during hibernation, indicating ongoing lipolysis. Centrally administered leptin reduced food intake in October, but not in August, revealing seasonal variation in the brain's sensitivity to its anorectic effects. This was supported by strong phosphorylated signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 labeling within the hypothalamus of hibernating bears; labeling virtually disappeared in active bears. Adipocytes collected during hibernation were insulin resistant when cultured with hibernation serum but became sensitive when cultured with active season serum. Heat treatment of active serum blocked much of this action. Clarifying the cellular mechanisms responsible for the physiology of hibernating bears may inform new treatments for metabolic disorders.

  10. Temporal effects of hunting on foraging behavior of an apex predator: Do bears forego foraging when risk is high?

    PubMed

    Hertel, Anne G; Zedrosser, Andreas; Mysterud, Atle; Støen, Ole-Gunnar; Steyaert, Sam M J G; Swenson, Jon E

    2016-12-01

    Avoiding predators most often entails a food cost. For the Scandinavian brown bear (Ursus arctos), the hunting season coincides with the period of hyperphagia. Hunting mortality risk is not uniformly distributed throughout the day, but peaks in the early morning hours. As bears must increase mass for winter survival, they should be sensitive to temporal allocation of antipredator responses to periods of highest risk. We expected bears to reduce foraging activity at the expense of food intake in the morning hours when risk was high, but not in the afternoon, when risk was low. We used fine-scale GPS-derived activity patterns during the 2 weeks before and after the onset of the annual bear hunting season. At locations of probable foraging, we assessed abundance and sugar content, of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus), the most important autumn food resource for bears in this area. Bears decreased their foraging activity in the morning hours of the hunting season. Likewise, they foraged less efficiently and on poorer quality berries in the morning. Neither of our foraging measures were affected by hunting in the afternoon foraging bout, indicating that bears did not allocate antipredator behavior to times of comparably lower risk. Bears effectively responded to variation in risk on the scale of hours. This entailed a measurable foraging cost. The additive effect of reduced foraging activity, reduced forage intake, and lower quality food may result in poorer body condition upon den entry and may ultimately reduce reproductive success.

  11. 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.

  12. 75 FR 76085 - Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Polar Bear...

    Federal Register 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014

    2010-12-07

    ...; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) in the United States; Final Rule #0;#0... Wildlife and Plants; Designation of Critical Habitat for the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) in the United... Wildlife Service (Service), designate critical habitat for polar bear (Ursus maritimus) populations in...

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. Competition between apex predators? Brown bears decrease wolf kill rate on two continents.

    PubMed

    Tallian, Aimee; Ordiz, Andrés; Metz, Matthew C; Milleret, Cyril; Wikenros, Camilla; Smith, Douglas W; Stahler, Daniel R; Kindberg, Jonas; MacNulty, Daniel R; Wabakken, Petter; Swenson, Jon E; Sand, Håkan

    2017-02-08

    Trophic interactions are a fundamental topic in ecology, but we know little about how competition between apex predators affects predation, the mechanism driving top-down forcing in ecosystems. We used long-term datasets from Scandinavia (Europe) and Yellowstone National Park (North America) to evaluate how grey wolf (Canis lupus) kill rate was affected by a sympatric apex predator, the brown bear (Ursus arctos). We used kill interval (i.e. the number of days between consecutive ungulate kills) as a proxy of kill rate. Although brown bears can monopolize wolf kills, we found no support in either study system for the common assumption that they cause wolves to kill more often. On the contrary, our results showed the opposite effect. In Scandinavia, wolf packs sympatric with brown bears killed less often than allopatric packs during both spring (after bear den emergence) and summer. Similarly, the presence of bears at wolf-killed ungulates was associated with wolves killing less often during summer in Yellowstone. The consistency in results between the two systems suggests that brown bear presence actually reduces wolf kill rate. Our results suggest that the influence of predation on lower trophic levels may depend on the composition of predator communities.

  18. Competition between apex predators? Brown bears decrease wolf kill rate on two continents

    PubMed Central

    Ordiz, Andrés; Metz, Matthew C.; Milleret, Cyril; Wikenros, Camilla; Smith, Douglas W.; Stahler, Daniel R.; Kindberg, Jonas; MacNulty, Daniel R.; Wabakken, Petter; Swenson, Jon E.; Sand, Håkan

    2017-01-01

    Trophic interactions are a fundamental topic in ecology, but we know little about how competition between apex predators affects predation, the mechanism driving top-down forcing in ecosystems. We used long-term datasets from Scandinavia (Europe) and Yellowstone National Park (North America) to evaluate how grey wolf (Canis lupus) kill rate was affected by a sympatric apex predator, the brown bear (Ursus arctos). We used kill interval (i.e. the number of days between consecutive ungulate kills) as a proxy of kill rate. Although brown bears can monopolize wolf kills, we found no support in either study system for the common assumption that they cause wolves to kill more often. On the contrary, our results showed the opposite effect. In Scandinavia, wolf packs sympatric with brown bears killed less often than allopatric packs during both spring (after bear den emergence) and summer. Similarly, the presence of bears at wolf-killed ungulates was associated with wolves killing less often during summer in Yellowstone. The consistency in results between the two systems suggests that brown bear presence actually reduces wolf kill rate. Our results suggest that the influence of predation on lower trophic levels may depend on the composition of predator communities. PMID:28179516

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  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. Determinants of lifetime reproduction in female brown bears: early body mass, longevity, and hunting regulations.

    PubMed

    Zedrosser, Andreas; Pelletier, Fanie; Bischof, Richard; Festa-Bianchet, Marco; Swenson, Jon E

    2013-01-01

    In iteroparous mammals, conditions experienced early in life may have long-lasting effects on lifetime reproductive success. Human-induced mortality is also an important demographic factor in many populations of large mammals and may influence lifetime reproductive success. Here, we explore the effects of early development, population density, and human hunting on survival and lifetime reproductive success in brown bear (Ursus arctos) females, using a 25-year database of individually marked bears in two populations in Sweden. Survival of yearlings to 2 years was not affected by population density or body mass. Yearlings that remained with their mother had higher survival than independent yearlings, partly because regulations prohibit the harvest of bears in family groups. Although mass as a yearling did not affect juvenile survival, it was positively associated with measures of lifetime reproductive success and individual fitness. The majority of adult female brown bear mortality (72%) in our study was due to human causes, mainly hunting, and many females were killed before they reproduced. Therefore, factors allowing females to survive several hunting seasons had a strong positive effect on lifetime reproductive success. We suggest that, in many hunted populations of large mammals, sport harvest is an important influence on both population dynamics and life histories.

  16. Grizzly bears and calving caribou: What is the relation with river corridors?

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Young, Donald D.; McCabe, Thomas R.

    1998-01-01

    Researchers have debated the effect of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline (TAP) and associated developments to caribou (Rangifer tarandus) of the central Arctic herd (CAH) since the 1970s. Several studies have demonstrated that cows and calves of the CAH avoided the TAP corridor because of disturbance associated with the pipeline, whereas others have indicated that female caribou of the CAH avoided riparian habitats closely associated with the pipeline. This avoidance was explained as a predator-avoidance strategy. We investigated the relation between female caribou and grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) use of river corridors on the yet undisturbed calving grounds of the Porcupine caribou herd (PCH) in northeastern Alaska. On the coastal plain, caribou were closer to river corridors than expected (P = 0.038), but bear use of river corridors did not differ from expected (P = 0.740). In the foothills, caribou use of river corridors did not differ from expected (P = 0.520), but bears were farther from rivers than expected (P = 0.001). Our results did not suggest an avoidance of river corridors by calving caribou or a propensity for bears to be associated with riparian habitats, presumably for stalking or ambush cover. We propose that PCH caribou reduce the risks of predation to neonates by migrating to a common calving grounds, where predator swamping is the operational antipredator strategy. Consequently, we hypothesize that nutritional demands, not predator avoidance strategies, ultimately regulate habitat use patterns (e.g., use of river corridors) of calving PCH caribou.

  17. 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.

  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. 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.

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  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. Reproductive maturation and senescence in the female brown bear

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Schwartz, Charles C.; Keating, Kim A.; Reynolds III, Harry V.; Barnes, Victor G.; Sellers, Richard A.; Swenson, J.E.; Miller, Sterling D.; McLellan, B.N.; Keay, Jeffrey A.; McCann, Robert; Gibeau, Michael; Wakkinen, Wayne F.; Mace, Richard D.; Kasworm, Wayne; Smith, Rodger; Herrero, Steven

    2003-01-01

    Changes in age-specific reproductive rates can have important implications for managing populations, but the number of female brown (grizzly) bears (Ursus arctos) observed in any one study is usually inadequate to quantify such patterns, especially for older females and in hunted areas. We examined patterns of reproductive maturation and senescence in female brown bears by combining data from 20 study areas from Sweden, Alaska, Canada, and the continental United States. We assessed reproductive performance based on 4,726 radiocollared years for free-ranging female brown bears (age 3); 482 of these were for bears 20 years of age. We modeled age-specific probability of litter production using extreme value distributions to describe probabilities for young- and old-age classes, and a power distribution function to describe probabilities for prime-aged animals. We then fit 4 models to pooled observations from our 20 study areas. We used Akaike’s Information Criterion (AIC) to select the best model. Inflection points suggest that major shifts in litter production occur at 4–5 and 28–29 years of age. The estimated model asymptote (0.332, 95% CI ¼ 0.319–0.344) was consistent with the expected reproductive cycle of a cub litter every 3 years (0.333). We discuss assumptions and biases in data collection relative to the shape of the model curve. Our results conform to senescence theory and suggest that female age structure in contemporary brown bear populations is considerably younger than would be expected in the absence of modern man. This implies that selective pressures today differ from those that influenced brown bear evolution.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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. 

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

  4. Grizzly Bear Noninvasive Genetic Tagging Surveys: Estimating the Magnitude of Missed Detections

    PubMed Central

    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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. Brown bear-human interactions associated with deer hunting on Kodiak Island

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barnes, Victor G.

    1994-01-01

    I compared distribution and range of brown bears (Ursus arctos middendorffi) with temporal and spatial distribution of Sitka black-tailed deer (Odocoileus hemionus sitkensis) hunting activity on westside Kodiak Island, Alaska, to examine impacts of deer hunting on bears. Mean number of bears that annually ranged ≤5 km from the coast, >5 km inland from the coast, or in both areas was 10, 8, and 11, respectively. Bears that exclusively or seasonally occupied the coast zone were usually classed as having moderate or high potential to interact with hunters because most hunter access and effort (>95%) was via the coast. Bears that ranged exclusively inland were considered unlikely to encounter hunters. Animals that ranged in both zones often (39%) moved inland during fall (Oct-Dec) and most bears (70%) denned in the inland zone. Females that denned near the coast entered dens later (x̄ = 22 Nov) than females that denned inland (x̄ = 12 Nov). Two radio-collared bears were known to raid deer-hunting camps and 9 other marked bears were observed by hunters or were located <200 m from hunting camps. Deer-hunter surveys revealed that more than two-thirds of the deer harvest occurred during October-November. About half of the hunters observed at least 1 bear during their hunt. Seven to 21% of the respondents reported having a threatening encounter with a bear and 5-26% reported losing deer meat to bears. Human-induced mortality to radio-collared bears occurred more often near the coast (5) than inland (3); 7 bears were harvested by sport hunters and 1 was killed (nonsport) in a Native village. Deer hunters killed 2 unmarked females in defense of life or property situations in the study area. High bear densities and concentrated deer-hunting activity combine to make conflicts unavoidable. Adverse impacts to bears can be minimized by maintaining low levels of human activity in inland areas and improving hunter awareness of bear ecology and behavior.

  14. 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

  15. The dilemma of female mate selection in the brown bear, a species with sexually selected infanticide.

    PubMed

    Bellemain, Eva; Zedrosser, Andreas; Manel, Stéphanie; Waits, Lisette P; Taberlet, Pierre; Swenson, Jon E

    2006-02-07

    Because of differential investment in gametes between sexes, females tend to be the more selective sex. Based on this concept, we investigate mate selection in a large carnivore: the brown bear (Ursus arctos). We hypothesize that, in this species with sexually selected infanticide (SSI), females may be faced with a dilemma: either select a high-quality partner based on phenotypic criteria, as suggested by theories of mate choice, or rather mate with future potentially infanticidal males as a counter-strategy to SSI. We evaluated which male characteristics were important in paternity assignment. Among males available in the vicinity of the females, the largest, most heterozygous and less inbred and also the geographically closest males were more often the fathers of the female's next litter. We suggest that female brown bears may select the closest males as a counter-strategy to infanticide and exercise a post-copulatory cryptic choice, based on physical attributes, such as a large body size, reflecting male genetic quality. However, male-male competition either in the form of fighting before copulation or during the post-copulatory phase, in the form of sperm competition, cannot entirely be ruled out.

  16. 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 .

  17. 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.

  18. A meta-analysis of studies on attitudes toward bears and wolves across Europe 1976-2012.

    PubMed

    Dressel, S; Sandström, C; Ericsson, G

    2015-04-01

    The ranges of wolves (Canis lupus) and bears (Ursus arctos) across Europe have expanded recently, and it is important to assess public attitudes toward this expansion because responses toward these species vary widely. General attitudes toward an object are good predictors of broad behavioral patterns; thus, attitudes toward wolves and bears can be used as indicators to assess the social foundation for future conservation efforts. However, most attitude surveys toward bears and wolves are limited in scope, both temporally and spatially, and provide only a snapshot of attitudes. To extend the results of individual surveys over a much larger temporal and geographical range so as to identify transnational patterns and changes in attitudes toward bears and wolves over time, we conducted a meta-analysis. Our analysis included 105 quantitative surveys conducted in 24 countries from 1976 to 2012. Across Europe, people's attitudes were more positive toward bears than wolves. Attitudes toward bears became more positive over time, but attitudes toward wolves seemed to become less favorable the longer people coexisted with them. Younger and more educated people had more positive attitudes toward wolves and bears than people who had experienced damage from these species, and farmers and hunters had less positive attitudes toward wolves than the general public. For bears attitudes among social groups did not differ. To inform conservation of large carnivores, we recommend that standardized longitudinal surveys be established to monitor changes in attitudes over time relative to carnivore population development. Our results emphasize the need for interdisciplinary research in this field and more advanced explanatory models capable of capturing individual and societal responses to changes in large carnivore policy and management.

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  1. 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.

  2. A "clearcut" case? Brown bear selection of coarse woody debris and carpenter ants on clearcuts.

    PubMed

    Frank, Shane C; Steyaert, Sam M J G; Swenson, Jon E; Storch, Ilse; Kindberg, Jonas; Barck, Hanna; Zedrosser, Andreas

    2015-07-15

    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%) in

  3. 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.

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. Hunting promotes sexual conflict in brown bears.

    PubMed

    Gosselin, Jacinthe; Leclerc, Martin; Zedrosser, Andreas; Steyaert, Sam M J G; Swenson, Jon E; Pelletier, Fanie

    2017-01-01

    The removal of individuals through hunting can destabilize social structure, potentially affecting population dynamics. Although previous studies have shown that hunting can indirectly reduce juvenile survival through increased sexually selected infanticide (SSI), very little is known about the spatiotemporal effects of male hunting on juvenile survival. Using detailed individual monitoring of a hunted population of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Sweden (1991-2011), we assessed the spatiotemporal effect of male removal on cub survival. We modelled cub survival before, during and after the mating season. We used three proxies to evaluate spatial and temporal variation in male turnover; distance and timing of the closest male killed and number of males that died around a female's home range centre. Male removal decreased cub survival only during the mating season, as expected in seasonal breeders with SSI. Cub survival increased with distance to the closest male killed within the previous 1·5 years, and it was lower when the closest male killed was removed 1·5 instead of 0·5 year earlier. We did not detect an effect of the number of males killed. Our results support the hypothesis that social restructuring due to hunting can reduce recruitment and suggest that the distribution of the male deaths might be more important than the overall number of males that die. As the removal of individuals through hunting is typically not homogenously distributed across the landscape, spatial heterogeneity in hunting pressure may cause source-sink dynamics, with lower recruitment in areas of high human-induced mortality.

  7. 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

  8. 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. Facultativ