Researchers provide potential explanation for declines in brown bear populations

April 05, 2018

Animals may fall into what are called evolutionary and ecological traps when they make poor decisions using seemingly reliable environmental cues. For example, animals may select habitats to occupy based on food availability, but mortality may be highest in habitats with the highest food availability. A new Mammal Review article examines how the brown (grizzly) bear can fall into such traps in human-modified landscapes, which may contribute to decreases in brown bear populations.

In their article, researchers describe evolutionary and ecological traps for brown bears, and they propose mechanisms by which traps may affect the dynamics and viability of brown bear populations. There are six potential trap scenarios: food resources close to human settlements; agricultural landscapes; roads; artificial feeding sites; hunting by humans; and other human activities (including ecotourism and reindeer husbandry).

"Despite the interest in large carnivore conservation in human-modified landscapes, the emergence of traps and their potential effects on the conservation of large carnivore populations has frequently been overlooked," said lead author Dr. Vincenzo Penteriani, of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), in Spain. "More effort should thus be put into the consideration that traps may be behind the unexpected decreases of brown bear and other large carnivore populations in human-modified landscapes."
-end-


Wiley

Related Conservation Articles from Brightsurf:

New guide on using drones for conservation
Drones are a powerful tool for conservation - but they should only be used after careful consideration and planning, according to a new report.

Elephant genetics guide conservation
A large-scale study of African elephant genetics in Tanzania reveals the history of elephant populations, how they interact, and what areas may be critical to conserve in order to preserve genetic diversity of the species.

Measuring the true cost of conservation
BU Professor created the first high-resolution map of land value in the United states.

Environmental groups moving beyond conservation
Although non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become powerful voices in world environmental politics, little is known of the global picture of this sector.

Hunting for the next generation of conservation stewards
Wildlife ecology students become the professionals responsible for managing the biodiversity of natural systems for species conservation.

Conservation research on lynx
Scientists at the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology (Leibniz-FMP) discovered that selected anti-oxidative enzymes, especially the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD2), may play an important role to maintain the unusual longevity of the corpus luteum in lynxes.

New 'umbrella' species would massively improve conservation
The protection of Australia's threatened species could be improved by a factor of seven, if more efficient 'umbrella' species were prioritised for protection, according to University of Queensland research.

Trashed farmland could be a conservation treasure
Low-productivity agricultural land could be transformed into millions of hectares of conservation reserve across the world, according to University of Queensland-led research.

Bats in attics might be necessary for conservation
Researchers investigate and describe the conservation importance of buildings relative to natural, alternative roosts for little brown bats in Yellowstone National Park.

Applying biodiversity conservation research in practice
One million species are threatened with extinction, many of them already in the coming decades.

Read More: Conservation News and Conservation Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.