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Demographic response of black bears at Cold Lake, Alberta, to the removal of adult males

January 1, 2001

Previous reports described an increase in population density following the removal of 23 adult male black bears (Ursus americanus) from a 218-km2 study area near Cold Lake, Alberta (the CLSA). This finding plays a central role in continuing debates over population regulation in bears, but has recently been criticized because density estimates were based on assumptions that were not met. Moreover, subsequent discussion has been predicated on conjecture that human exploitation had minimal influence on population dynamics. Our reanalysis supports previous descriptions of trends in bear density at Cold Lake. However, survival records revealed heavier exploitation than previously suspected. An underlying assumption of previous interpretationsCthat the Cold Lake bear population was naturally regulated near carrying capacityCno longer seems reasonable. Adult males deterred bears in other sex-age groups from using the CLSA; however, we found no evidence that birth or death rates were affected. The observed increase in local density should not be construed as a density-dependent response. Abrupt changes in local density might not have occurred if males had been removed from a larger area encompassing the CLSA.

Publication Year 2001
Title Demographic response of black bears at Cold Lake, Alberta, to the removal of adult males
Authors Glen A. Sargeant, Robert L. Ruff
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ursus
Index ID 1001868
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center