Title

Movement Ecology of Brown Bears (ursus arctos) in the Romanian Eastern Carpathians

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-17-2018

Abstract

© Ioan Mihai Pop et al. Brown bear movement patterns are driven by their opportunistic feeding behaviour, with their complex life history and seasonality playing an important role in habitat selection. Within a large unfragmented forest habitats persisting over decades in the Romanian Carpathians and a prohibitive hunting management during 40 years of communist centralised game management, information about brown bear movements and spatial ecology is lacking. Using data obtained from 13 brown bears fitted with GPS telemetry collars, we estimated home ranges and core activity areas and we investigated the daily, seasonal and altitudinal movements of brown bears in the Eastern Romanian Carpathians and surrounding high hills. The median MCP95% home ranges of brown bears was 629.92 km2 and the median size of core activity areas (estimated as 50% kernel density) was 36.37 km2, with no significant differences between males and females. The mean daily distance travelled, measured as daily displacement length, was 1818 m and an analysis of seasonal movements indicated significant differences between seasons (greatest movements during the Hyperphagia season). The GPS-collared brown bears travelled between a minimum altitude measured at ~234 m and a maximum at ~1634 m. Analysing the spatial overlap between the estimated home range and the game management units (GMU) limits, we obtained a median number of 8 GMUs overlapping totally or partially with estimated home range polygons. Our study, using GPS telemetry, highlights the complex spatial ecology of the brown bear in the Romanian Carpathians, with larger home range size than those estimated in other European brown bear populations and with daily movements that vary by season and within a large altitude range. Our study supports the implementation of brown bear monitoring at a regional scale, rather than focusing on county level GMUs as the monitoring unit.

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