A lifetime of bearsAfter three decades of studying these mighty animals, Alberta biologist Gord Stenhouse remains in awe at how clever, powerful -and vulnerable -they are, and at how much we still need to learn in order to save them from us.
"...Most humbling perhaps was the sight of a small 110-kg bear that had killed a huge quarter-horse before burying it in the ground."It looked like a front-end loader had gone in there and buried that horse," he said. "It was a sobering reminder that these are awfully powerful animals..."
Grizzly had killed bull elk, farmer says ROSE LAKE, Idaho – The grizzly bear that was shot near Rose Lake this week had killed an elk on the Bugle Mountain Elk Farm, said owner Dave Riley.
June 11, 2009 “It was kind of unusual because he attacked a mature bull elk with horns,” said Riley, who shot and killed the grizzly on Sunday night.
Riley said the bear crawled underneath an 8-foot fence to attack the elk on Saturday. When the bear returned for the elk carcass at about 11 p.m. on Sunday, Riley said he shot it, thinking it was a black bear.
Riley contacted the Idaho Department of Fish and Game when he realized that the bear was a federally protected grizzly. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is investigating the incident.
Idaho law allows property owners to kill predators, including black bears, that are attacking livestock. However, people are responsible for identifying their target to avoid killing grizzlies.
Reports of Andean Bear (Tremarctos ornatus ) attacks on bovine livestock in Ecuador Armando Castellanos Fundación Espíritu del Bosque Andean Bear Foundation e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Barcelona 311 y Tolosa Quito -Ecuador The Spanish chronicler Antonio Herrera y Tordesillas reported the first attacks by Andean Bears (Tremarctos ornatus) on livestock in South America in the middle of the 16th Century. Similarly, Juan de Velasco narrated accounts of bear hunting during the 18th Century but did not offer an explanation for the practice. In the 19th and 20th Century, the Andean Bear was accused of attacking livestock in its distribution zone and, as a result, was hunted. Petroleum exploration in Ecuador began during the 1970’s, and was soon followed by the expansion of farming and cattle ranching into previously undeveloped areas . This expansion, combined with the reduction in habitat, led to an increase in human – bear conflicts. In 1995, a juvenile male bear reintroduced into the Maquipucuna Reserve (Pichincha Province ) was confirmed to have attacked and killed three calves. This was the first confirmed attack of livestock by an Andean Bear. This situation was resolved by relocating the bear to a more remote area. In 1999 reports arose of livestock attacks in the valleys of the Cosanga and Oyacachi Rivers . These rivers are located in the foothills of the north eastern Cordillera, Ecuador. Between April 2000 and 2001, thirty-one attacks on livestock were attributed to Andean Bears in the valley of the Cosanga River (Napo Province). Twenty-six of these attacks were fatal and four led to long -term injury. One of these attacks was later shown to have been incorrectly attributed to bears. In response to this “problem”, local cattle farmers were reported to have killed eleven bears (seven of these bears were shot and four were poisoned (none of these cases were confirmed by the author)). Twenty - five attacks were registered in the same area between May 2001 and March 2002. These left fifteen cows, one bull, three young bulls and three calves dead whilst two cows and one calf were injured. Three bears were implicated in these attacks and subsequently killed. However, only one of these bears was the actual predator. In early 2003, five attacks on calves were confirmed in the páramos (high grasslands) of Julio Andrade (Carchi Province), whilst in Mazar (Azuay Province), six cows were attacked and eaten. Not all Andean Bears attack livestock. It is not known at present why some bears attack livestock and others do not. Various methods to decrease and prevent human-bear conflict exist. As such, the current management strategy of hunting and killing Andean Bears as a response to livestock attacks must be carefully analysed as “innocent” bears have been killed in some areas to eliminate the “bear problem”.
ATTACKS BY ANDEAN BEARS ON LIVESTOCK IN THE COSANGA RIVER WATERSHED, ECUADOR By: Armando X. Castellanos P. Fundación Espíritu del Bosque Reina Victoria 17 - 37 y La Pinta / Quito - Ecuador Tel: (593-9) 936 01 29 Fax: (593-2) 250 44 52 E-mail: email@example.com Until 3 years ago there were no confirmed reports of Andean Bears attacking livestock in Ecuador. Since then, accusations of bears preying on cows have increased, especially in the Cosanga River Watershed, on the slopes of the northeastern mountain range of the Napo Province, which occupies an surface area of approximately 22,289 hectares and has mountainous terrain with a range of altitudes from 1,000m to the 3,600 m. Because the attacks were most intense in the Cosanga River area, the Corporation Jatun-Sacha/CDC, a conservation NGO that works in the region, asked me in May of 2001 to verify and record the bear attacks on livestock, and to look for management alternatives to diminish human-bear conflicts. I suggested initially that the "problem bears" should be caught and tagged with a radio collar to find, by means of monitoring, the ecological reasons the bear was attacking livestock. Sadly, lack of resources for capture and pursuit didn't allow that idea to come to fruition. Instead I used indirect methods to study the bear(s), such as recording tracks, marks on trees, and following trails. In the event of each attack I gathered hair and feces of the "killer bear", so-called by local farmers, to determine if it was one bear or several that were attacking livestock in Cosanga, by means of molecular genetic analysis carried out by Dr. Manuel Ruíz-García. Although the genetic results were not yet ready I sensed, based on tracking, records, and the testimonies of affected farmers, that it was a single bear, perhaps male, that attacked in the region. Most reported events happened in a hollow known as Oritoyacu. Here the bear built tree nests before beginning to hunt, from which it watched the herd and made sure there were no caretakers nearby. It generally attacked cows that were alone and pastured very close to the forest. On other occasions it crossed the pastures until arriving at its prey. The bear sometimes pursued the herd to make it turn, then caught a cow, which it devoured alive, not caring if it was asleep or standing up. The bites and scratches generally began between the shoulders. The dead or agonized cow was then dragged for more than 80 m, sometimes uphill, toward the foot of the tree nest, generally located inside the forest. There the bear finished devouring the cow in several visits. On some occasions the viscera must have been consumed in the high part of the tree nests, because cow feces were found in such nests. In Cosanga there have been 25 confirmed attacks on livestock so far, in which 15 cows, a bull, three male calves and three female calves died; two cows and a calf were wounded. The death of four cows was reported in a single incident. Additionally the remains of a young horse and a danta, or tapir, (Tapirus pinchaque) which had been eaten by a bear were found. In these cases I could not confirm whether they had been killed by the bear. In December of 2001, a woman was pursued by a bear when she tried to frighten it when it began to eat one of her cows alive. In January of 2002, a farmer was also pursued when he tried to drive away a couple of bears that were eating a dead cow. In both cases, it seems that the bear was defending its prey in the presence of intruders. Since the problem of the attacks appeared in Cosanga, the "killer bear" survived several of the farmers´ attempts to kill it. Several times it was shot and fed poisoned animals. Since the farmers could not destroy it quickly, they believed this animal was enveloped in a mystic and enigmatic atmosphere. To prevent the bear being murdered, the only option was to remove it from the area. To that end I arrived at an agreement with the farmers of the region and I made contacts with international zoos to trade the bear for GPS collars and input devices, which would be used to begin behavioral studies on the bears of the region. These arrangements had the approval of the Ministry of the Environment. In March of the present year the "killer bear" ran out of luck when it was killed in a place at which it arrived for the first time, having left its usual hunting grounds. Indeed, the ¨killer bear¨ was an 118kg male with a thin build for his size, according to local informants. Since then there have been no more attacks on livestock reported, but has the problem definitively been resolved? Since my arrival in Cosanga the deaths of two Andean bears that were involved in attacks have been confirmed. Incredibly, none of the identified bear hunters has been punished. Only deep ecological investigations will provide data demonstrating the reason bears attack livestock. I think that it is not abnormal behavior for this species. Perhaps the lack of food in the forest to satisfy metabolic needs and the offer of live prey in pastures causes to the bear to become a predator of livestock, because it is easier to attack a dull, heavy cow than a speedy deer or tapir.
Unusual behavior is puzzling environmental authorities. Bears are forming groups to attack cattle.
Bear attacks on cattle in Tomsk, Siberia, have increased this year and demonstrate a radical change in the behavior of these mammals, Konstantin Osadchi, the head of the Department of Environmental Protection of the Russian region said.
This year so far in the Tomsk region, there were ten attacks against cattle by bears, when in the entire year 2010, there were only three, Osadchi said in a statement to the news agency "Interfax."
"Probably, changes took place in the mind of the bears: they are curious or they lost their fear of man," indicated Osadchi.
However, he stressed that in the Tomsk region there weren't any bear attacks recorded against people.
"Previously cases never happened where bears joined in groups to kill cattle. It is a typical behavior of wolves, not bears," detailed the official.
He added that the last episode occurred early in the month in the Molchanovsk district, in the central region of Tomsk, where a bear walked into a barn and attacked, injuring a cow.
These attacks, according Osadchi are usually made by young bears, about three years old.
Conflicts over food between adults and young animals may be one of the causes of anomalous behavior of the animals, said the official, who estimates that the population of bears in the region of Tomsk is about 10,000 individuals.
Osadchi says the number of these animals could increase further with the forest fires of great magnitude in the region.
Himalayan Black Bear trapped in Bhutan A male Himalayan black was caught in a snare after several repeated attacks on livestock and stole or damaged many honey bee boxes belonging to a farmer in Bumthang, Central Bhutan.
It was on the morning of May 27 that farmer Sonam Tshering of Samtenling village, Chumey, saw the bear trapped in a homemade trap of electric wire, that is normally strung from pole to pole.
Sonam Tsheing claimed it was the same bear that, in November last year, killed a mithun-bred calf and injured another calf.
He said it also took away a bee box that same month.
“Starting early this year, it again began attacking my bees, and he already damaged two bee boxes,” he said.
The bear weighing about 100kg, measuring 70 inches between head and tail at the early adulthood, had its leg trapped in the hoop of a metallic rope that Sonam Tshering placed near his garden.
“That was the spot from where the bear always came and attacked my livestock and bees,” he said, adding all his initial measures to keep the bear away, by switching on the light outside the house at night, and trying to chase it away every night failed.
“Hurling stones at him was futile,” he said. “So I finally decided to lay three snares with hoops from where the bear entered, and tied its end to a tree.
One of the three hoops did the job and the bear was grounded with the tree.
Early that morning, Sonam Tshering informed the local forestry official about the bear that was caught in his trap.
The local officials informed the wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre in Thimphu to rescue and release the bear.
The officials fired a tranquiliser to intoxicate the bear, released his leg from the hoop and details of the animal was examined for future reference.
“We release the wild animals with radio collar and trace future movements and habitation,” wildlife rescue and rehabilitation centre’s senior livestock officer, Kuenzang Gyeltshen said.
The bear was released into the forest nearby after taking all of its details.
With the help of a few sturdy men and a few school students, the bear was dragged to the forest below Sonam Tshering’s house to be released.
“We’ve released many bears in Wangchutaba and many other places with radio collar and they’ve never returned to the same place,” Kuenzang Gyeltshen said. “Therefore, there’s no risk of it returning to the village.”
Sonam Tshering wondered if it was a good idea tp release the bear just at the same place.
"...Even if they sometimes come into orchards or fields to feed on crops and fruits, bears are not normally known to come into villages, as wolves do, but it seems it could happen exceptionally: "A few years ago, bears attacked here, they attacked a flock, here, in the village! He broke the door and he took some sheep..."
"...Among domestic animals killed by bears, sheep are the most cited (35 occurrences), followed by cattle (33 occurrences), horses (18 occurrences), and donkeys (7 occurrences). However, many informants considered that bears have a preference for cattle: "The bear doesn't want sheep as much as he wants cows" Indeed, in Albanian the meat situated between the shoulder blades in cows is called the bear's meat (mishi i arushës) as they attack cows on this part. Other informants affirmed bears have a preference for donkeys: "I heard that above all, the bear prefers donkey's meat." If the occurrence of each animal as part of bear diet is compared to the proportion of each animal among livestock in Macedonia (248,000 cattle and 1,244,000 sheep), it appears that the bears could have a preference for cattle..." Moreover, as this livestock breeder explains, it is possible to recognise carnivorous bears by their colour: "[…] it depends on the bear. Some of them are scavengers and often attack. For example, these bears we call black, they are scavengers, they frequently attack, and the others don't." In this example, the herbivorous bear is said to be brownish and yellowish while for other informants, it is yellow or even red. Sometimes the colours are reversed and the carnivorous bear is yellow while the herbivorous one is black. The shape of the nose seems to be important, too: "It is possible to recognise scavenger bears even by their nose. Those who graze have short noses and the scavengers have long noses, and they are yellow." It is unclear where this knowledge comes from, since this hunter told me: "According to the literature we refer to, the carnivorous one, by his head, he has got a shorter mouth and longer teeth, as herbivorous, this is a similar sort of bear but he has got a longer mouth, and we distinguish them like that..."
Abstract. In Romania more than 500 damage cases caused by large carnivores are reported by livestock owners and farmers each year. This is the main reason for hunting derogation despite the protected species status. This study is the result of detailed examination of 198 damage cases caused by bears in 2008 and 2009, in the south- eastern Carpathian Mts in Romania. The goal of the study was to examine whether an individual-specific behavioural pattern among problematic bears exists.We looked for bears which showed repeated killing of livestock, a phenomenon claimed by livestock owners to indicate the presence of a problematic individual in the area. In 27% of the observed cases the problematic bears exhibited specific behaviour patterns: clear specialization on a certain type of damage, high degree of tolerance for humans, selectivity for certain prey items, returning back to the damage site in less than 8 days. Fast adaptation and taking advantage of easily obtainable food around human created artificial sources is characteristic for all bear species, due to their high learning capacity and ecological plasticity, but from the conservation and management point of view dealing with individuals which specialize to live mainly around artificial areas becomes a “problem”. Thus defining and identifying individual behaviour patterns oriented towards conflicting behaviour might be useful for wildlife managers in identifying “problem individuals” in order to apply the proper control methods
There are likely few populations of bears anywhere in the world whose behaviour has not been significantly influenced by man (Stirling & Derocher, 1989). This may confound our understanding of their behaviour and ecology. Remaining populations of bears may not be able to adapt successfully to the combined effects of human predation, disappearing habitat, and climatic change unless profiting on their learning capacity and plasticity to different food sources even if the result is a compromise called by us “habituation” or “specialized individual”. Bears are omnivorous animals, with the most complex diet, feeding behaviour and ecological plasticity among large carnivores (Swenson et al., 2000).Their predatory or vegetarian feeding behaviour seems to show a big variation among geographical distribution ranges and also a great deal of individual variationin feeding strategies as a result of learning (Stirling & Derocher, 1989). There are evidences especially in North America that sometimes bears are more active predators than previously thought (Cole, 1972; Mysterud, 1973; Franzmann et al., 1980; Stewart et al., 1985; Reynolds & Garner, 1987; Boertje et al., 1988; Stirling & Derocher, 1989; Mattson, 1996). Observations showed that most of kills made by adult bears are done after a short rush from ambush or after stalking to close range and that most kills that require a longer chase will be made by smaller sized females or subadults (Cole, 1972; Reynolds & Garner, 1987). Although in many documented cases and areas bears seem to behave as true predators, there are also studies which concluded that bears use less than 20% animal protein and feed more on vegetal food (Swenson et al., 2000; Bereczky, 2004; Shinsuke, 2009; Paralikidis et al.,2009). Especially in European analyzes, the results showed that bears eat a wide range of plant species, insects, and some percent of meat resulted from scavenging or depredation on different mammalian species (Swenson et al., 2000; Bereczky, 2004; Shinsuke, 2009; Paralikidis et al., 2009). Hurst et al. (1982) found that the energy required for a plantigrade animal like a bear to move is about double that for most of other mammals. To move at the modest speed of 7 km/h, uses 13 times more energy than lying (Hurst et al., 1982). That is probably why bears pass so fast from predatory feeding to vegetarian and also why some big adult individuals take advantage on their learning skills.In general, biologists who have worked with bears have been impressed with how variable the behaviour of individuals appears to be. There are few quantitative studies about the ability of bears to learn, such as Bacon & Burghardt (1976), but generally, in the literature there is an appreciation of their ability to learn or remember things. The success that circuses have had with training bears also suggests that they are good to learn new tasks. We have many observations on the learning abilities of bear cubs performed in an ongoing orphan bear rehabilitation project in the Romanian Carpathians. As long-lived mammals that spend most of their lives within a home range and show strong seasonal fidelity to particular locations, bears probably learn much about the area, including where and how to find food under a variety of circumstances (Stirling & Derocher, 1989). The variability in the way bears from the same population behave within a particular area may be influenced by both genetic factors and learning (Mazur & Seher, 2007; Breck et al., 2008). It is generally accepted that bears vary their feeding manners according to habitat and the presence of human (Zunino & Herrero, 1972; Swenson et al., 2000). Thus, through learning, some bears may develop individual differences in food preference, vary in the degree to which they prey on live animals, or respond to human disturbance. Individuals will develop behavioural patterns that are modelled by their own experiences (Stirling & Derocher, 1989). Similarly, some behaviour will be learned by cubs while accompanying their mothers during the long period before weaning (Mazur & Seher, 2007). We presume that all the above mentioned specific behaviour particularities make bears to be able to develop so called “individuality” or “personality”. Predation on livestock animals or feeding in agricultural fields, orchards or beehives might be considered the behavioural response of bears to the existing multi-use landscape conditions characteristic of Europe (Swenson et al., 2000). Our assumption is that within this natural behavioural response, exist several undesired patterns, which could lead at the definition of the “problem” individual. Most researchers who have studied individuals of any mammalian species are likely to have subjectively recognized that different individuals appear to behave slightly differently (Bekoff, 1977). Primatologists have long recognized individuality and have started to use the expression “personality” to describe individuals with different behaviour (Stevenson-Hinde, 1983). Linell et al. (1999) describe several cases when predator individuals show a particular behaviour pattern. In this paper we try to analyze different depredation cases on domestic animals, in which the behaviour of the individuals showed certain characteristics repeatedly. Such behaviour patterns have been associated empirically by people with the “problem individual” reputation. The paper addresses a basic problem related with bear management in Romania: how to recognize/define a trouble-making bear which should be removed from the population due to its high potential of conflict. We observed that there is a difference in shyness, boldness or other characteristics between individuals involved in trouble situations. After analyzing many damages caused by bears, we speculate that at brown bears (Ursus arctos Linnaeus, 1758) there is a predisposition of some individuals to take advantage on easy to catch prey situations, thus exhibiting higher opportunism. Our observations led to the assumption that some individuals learn that in certain areas depredating on livestock is the easiest way to obtain good quality food. Inside of this phenomenon we were interested in the behaviour of those individuals which developed a “personal preference” towards searching areas with such opportunistic circumstances.At the moment, in Romania, the brown bear harvest is restricted due to the European legislation. The existing derogation for bear hunt is explained as being a prevention method for the control of problem causing individuals. But in the same time there is no clear definition of the “problem” bear and implicitly no clear suggestion for the right control methods in certain trouble situations. Thus any bear can be considered to have problem causing feeding habits, since there are clear observations and documentations in the literature that most individuals of large carnivore species will at least occasionally kill livestock or cause other type of damage where grazing or husbandry techniques create a favourable circumstance for that (Linnell et al., 1999). Since the result of a conflict situation is a consistent loss in people’s welfare, it is obvious that it will have a negative impact on the image of the whole species, lowering the acceptance of local people towards bears and large carnivores in general. Thus the recognizing of specific behaviour patterns and applying the right control methods (either lethal or non lethal) on livestock killing specialized individuals or individuals with problem causing feeding habits will have a better effect than leaving them in the population.
RESULTS In the study period, we recorded totally 198 livestock depredation cases. Fig. 2 shows the density of bear damages in the three counties and fig. 3 the locations of the observed cases. In every case when attacks were signalled in a range of maximum 15 km, with a repetition not passing 8 days, performed by the same individual, we considered that the bear shows significant specialized behaviour and preference for livestock killing. Among the observed attacks we founded 11 cases (Tab. 1), when specialized behaviour could be claimed as follows: -- Case of Barcani: the median of day no. passed between the attacks was 5. As we can observe from the table, between 26 June and 19 September the bear returned nearly every day to the damage site, making totally 12 victims. He showed a clear preference for swine. He developed a special strategy to enter into the stables and used that strategy repeatedly. -- Case of Bodoc: the median of attack repetition was 6 days. The bear preferred only beehives, coming into the beekeeper’s yards during 2 months. -- Oituz case: the median of attack repetition was 3 days. The bear showed preference for only small domestic animals like rabbits and domestic birds.
-- Turia case: the median of attack repetition was 3 days. The bear preferred only swine. -- Podul ªchiopului, Zãlan, Lunca de Sus and Aita Seacã cases: the bears attacked repeatedly the cattle during grazing. Attack repetition median: 4 days.-- Barcani-Zagon case: similar swine preference and attack repetition like in Barcani. --Moacºa case: the bear preferred domestic birds and sheep. Attack repetition median: 3 days. As we can observe the period of the attacks of these bears was between June- September. Field investigations revealed the following facts: -- Sometimes the bear came back several times in the same night. -- 77% of the attacks occurred in discontinuous urban areas according with Corine Land Cover map of Romania (Fig. 4.).--
When incidents occurred in urban areas, the preferred prey items were small sized domestic animals (sheep, goats, birds, etc.). -- In every case, the bears had to pass over different obstacles: fences, stables and others, or had to avoid guarding dogs and people. -- In the majority of cases the farms or yards where the damages occurred were very close to forest areas or the environment facilitated the approach of the bear (e.g. shrub lands or bush vegetation around). -- Bears with approximated body weight over 100 kg showed preference for bigger prey items, whereas smaller individuals preferred smaller prey species like sheep, birds, beehives. -- The circumstance in all of these cases offered other predation opportunities as well like other domestic animals, or food sources around the farms/ households, but the bears showed clear preference for a certain type of prey.In one of the cases (Barcani) the bear was killing only sows, even if on its way encountered male pigs and piglets Field observations made us to believe that the bear implicated in the Barcani (2008) and Zagon (2009) cases was the same individual. Preferred prey items, operation “style” and description of the bear by eye witnesses was similar. After the damage occurrence in 2009 that particular area, hunters from the area shared that they shot a bear near this damage spot and they assumed to be the trouble maker. Fact is that the bear damages decreased considerably after that in the surrounding areas. Among the 198 observed incidents, 70 matched the described behaviour patterns and have been considered to be done by bears specialized to obtain food in human created artificial areas. These incidents represent 27% of the studied cases. Their typology showed a big number of similarities and offered sufficient information for identifying behaviour patterns describing a “specialized individuals”. 54 of these 70 cases (77%) occurred in discontinuous urban areas. In all other incidents, when the bears didn’t show a clear predation pattern (128 cases), we can’t affirm that each case can be attributed to a different individual. There is an unquantifiable probability that some damages from different areas have been done by the sameindividual, considering the seasonal and daily movement patterns of the bears in the area. Though in the majority of cases the troubles done by “specialized” individuals occurred on areas between 1-10 km2 (Oituz, Bodoc, Valea Mare), in Barcani-Zagon case, the area surface is over 100 km2. We hypothesize that livestock herding techniques and the surrounding environment are main factors leading to the possible formation of “specialized” individuals. In many analyzed cases the cattle herd was kept free during the night without any guarding. The graze lands are near forest areas and the vegetation offers good cover to an approaching predator. In many cases when the bear entered into a settlement, in people’s yards, we founded garbage thrown around, with food remnants and sometimes even animal carcasses. It is unlikely that in such circumstances a brown bear will avoid to come closer to a potential abundant food source. The existing easy catchable prey in the area is a chance which probably would be interesting to any bear. In systems where domestic animals are constantly herded, kept in opened fields, or confined at night inside a corral, predation on livestock requires learning and development of specialized behaviour by the predator (Linnell et al., 1999). To successfully kill livestock, the predator has to either pass by the shepherd and his dogs, enter open habitat, or cross physical barriers. Individuals must learn how to access this food source. We founded also a relation between the approximate size of the bear and the size of the prey species specialized on. As table 2 shows, individuals with body weight approximated below 100 kg showed a preference towards small sized domestic animals such as birds, sheep, beehives, etc. whereas bigger bears preferred bigger prey like pigs and cattle. Body weight has been approximated with observations performed by experienced persons (hunters, foresters or members of our field crew). It is obvious that the body size of the predator influences not only his predation capability, but also its ability to carry away the prey. In an environment where guarding dogs, people, and other disturbing factors are present, a captured prey brings much bigger benefit to the predator if it is able to carry it away and consume it in a quiet place. Sometimes the big body size gives the power to defend himself during the consumption of the prey in the same place. We speculate that this logical aspect could enhance somehow the specialization of some individuals to certain prey species.
Body size/weight is documented to influence the way how different individuals develop their attacking and hunting strategy (Rosenvig, 1966; Gittleman, 1985; Vezina, 1985; Stirling & Derocher, 1989). In our case, the observations showed that bigger individuals took advantage on their power in order to obtain bigger quantity of food even if it was necessary to destroy a wood beam constructed stable, or to attack a herd which was guarded by many dogs. Observations showed that bigger individuals attack fast after sunset, showing less prudence whereas smaller ones were waiting after middle of the night, when the disturbing factors (people’s activity) decreased. Big bears consumed part of the prey directly at the killing site, coming back next day to the carcass, whereas smaller individuals tried to transport their capture away in bush or forest covered areas We presume that the energetic efficiency strategy plays an essential role in the development of specialized behaviour in some individuals, which will profit on their learning skills and power in order to get better quality and quantity of food. This theory is somehow sustained also by the fact that most of attacks occurred in late summer or fall, in the period when bears need big amounts of food/energy. We presume that the energetic efficiency strategy plays an essential role in the development of specialized behaviour in some individuals, which will profit on their learning skills and power in order to get better quality and quantity of food. This theory is somehow sustained also by the fact that most of attacks occurred in late summer or fall, in the period when bears need big amounts of food/energy.
DISCUSSIONS Surveying the people which suffered damages, we observed that the problem was considered much bigger when occurred repeatedly. The problem was fast forgotten when occurred accidentally (more than 500 damage cases caused by large carnivores are reported each year), but people highly condemned the carnivores when the predation occurred within several days, and when livestock depredation or damage occurred within a range of 15 km. It seems that the biggest problem consists not in that bear accidentally take the opportunity to feed on livestock items, but when certain habituation signs show up. Presuming that each predation case was done by different individuals, we can assume that on the study area a number of 198 potentially “specialized” bears exists, which would represent 8% of the existing 2300 individuals reported by the wildlife management units. Practically, these are bears which took advantage of opportunistic moments to feed on easily obtainable food sources around livestock, circumstances which existed within their homeranges. The fact that 35% of these damages have been done by only 11 bears, it is obvious that our presumption is false. According to the observations, only these individuals manifested a “special” behaviour pattern, risking repeatedly their lives approaching systematically to food sources around humans. Since any predator takes advantage of favourable factors as habitat, lack of protection measures, human negligence, etc., in order to obtain better quality food, it is unlikely that all the other cases were habituated “specialized” individuals. Thus, having a brown bear. population estimated at 2300 individuals in the study area, the proportion of the “specialized” individuals is 0.4%. Specialization in these individuals is oriented towards predation on livestock. In the 11 described cases, the bears demonstrated a high adapting capacity to an environment with high human activity. They identified and used narrow moving corridors between people’s yards. They showed a high learning capacity, in many cases finding the best entrance into the stables or protecting fences. Conclusions According to our study, there is a reason to believe that individuals within a bear population can show different behavioural trails. When in a certain area within a range of 15 km damages are reported with a smaller frequency than 8 days, there is enough reason to assume the presence of a “specialized” individual. We assume that exhibiting such individual specialized behaviour is in most of the cases associated with higher degree of intelligence. These identified behaviour typologies could be used in the future for signalling in utile time the existence of a specialized bear, in order to apply the right prevention methods or removing the individual out of the population. We hypothesize that most individuals within a bear population will at least occasionally kill accessible livestock they encounter in their home-range. If true, this implies that problem individual control will need to remove preferably those individuals which show a high degree of human acceptance, and the following observable indices like: -- Predation in a place where passing through human created obstacles is required. -- It was necessary to develop a special strategy for passing over protective items. -- Selective preference for prey items. -- The frequency of new predations: repetition within 8 days. We consider that damage control and prevention problematic must be oriented especially towards limiting occasional incidents, enhanced by the lack of proper protection methods, and not towards the bear population of which only a very small percent represents an imminent danger for farmers and livestock owners. Because changing the behaviour of bears is not a directly controllable process, the management objectives should regard first of all the elimination of those factors which enhance the occurrence of damage cases. Husbandry techniques and environmental factors which enhance the development of problem individuals should be seriously regarded by wildlife managers. Improving of livestock pasturing methods and equipments are highly required especially when farmers move with their livestock close to carnivore’s habitats.
Sloth Bears Prey on Domestic Animals in Response to Habitat Degradation in Eastern India Prakash Chandra Mardaraj Member: Sloth Bear Expert Team Wildlife Institute of India, Post box #18 Chandrabani, Dehradun 248001, India E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Subrat Debata North Orissa University, Baripada, India Kedar Kumar Swain D.F.O, Balasore Wildlife Division, India Throughout their range, sloth bears are known to rely almost exclusively on insects (mainly ants and termites) and fruits. The relative composition of these two dietary components varies seasonally and geographically. A few reports exist of sloth bears feeding on crops or scavenging on livestock carcasses (Laurie and Seidensticker 1977, Bargali et al. 2004). Here we report observations of sloth bears killing chickens and goats in villages surrounding the Swarnachuda Reserve forest, which is among 8 other Reserve forests in Nilgiri Range of Balasore Wildlife Division in the state of Orissa, eastern India. Bears strayed out of the forests at night and invaded human settlements around the Reserve forest. They smashed into pens where goats were kept and broke the clay walls of chicken coops to kill the poultry. Bears also chased and killed goats grazing near the forest. Local residents reported that sloth bears have inhabited this area for a long time, but such predatory behavior on domestic animals was new. The first such incident was reported in April 2010; it has been observed frequently since then. This sudden increase in predatory behavior appears to be due to the increasingly degraded and fragmented nature of the habitat, and a shortage of natural food for bears in the Nilgiri Range. There are 12 villages surrounding Swarnachuda Reserve forest and dependent on it for resources, even though their extraction of resources and grazing of livestock there is illegal. The forest has been degraded by uncontrolled cattle grazing, and lopping and cutting of trees and bushes for firewood. Local people also harvest non-timber forest products for personal and commercial purposes. They dig up tuberous plants and collect a number of wild fruits that are likely natural foods for bears — these include ambo (Mangifera indica), kendu (Diospyrox melanoxylon), sunari (Cassia fistula), bara (Fucus bengalensis), jamun (Syzygium cumini), borakuli (Zizyupus rugosa), mahulo (Madhuca indica) and belo (Aegle marmelos). Additional habitat destruction is caused by the rapid expansion of stone quarries and crushers near the forest border.We are presently studying this situation to better understand the diet of the bears and how this is changing over time, and the extent of resulting human−bear conflicts. It seems apparent that conflicts will escalate if the degradation of the forest continues. Local people will suffer the consequences of bears destroying their property and possibly threatening human lives, and bears will ultimately suffer from close interactions with humans and lack of food. It is not too late to turn this situation around. Communities must reduce cattle grazing and unsustainable exploitation of forest products, and the government must exert greater control on industries that destroy habitats, which forces bears and other wildlife to rely on human-related foods www.bearbiology.com/fileadmin/tpl/Downloads/IBN_Newsletters/IBN_Low_February_2012.pdf
Bear managers decided to euthanize a healthy grizzly bear snared Thursday for repeatedly killing calves at a ranch 25 miles northwest of Wolf Creek. Since the weekend, the bear preyed on seven calves and, displaying behavior rare for a grizzly, cached the carcasses nearby instead of immediately feeding, said Mike Madel, a grizzly bear management specialist with Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks. FWP and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service supervisors agreed to remove the 7 1/2-year-old, 535-pound grizzly from the northwest Montana population Thursday afternoon.Madel said he will be transporting the bear to a FWP lab in Bozeman today to be euthanized. The bear's strong habituation to ranching activities and trips to the calving lot night after night prompted the decision, Madel said. "It's very difficult to relocate it to another location where the same thing wouldn't happen again," Madel said. The grizzly hadn't been out of the den for more than a week or two, sporting long claws yet to be worn down, Madel said. After a winter's sleep, it was lethargic but otherwise in good health. "It's a beautiful bear," Madel said. "It's unfortunate it has to be removed."The depredations occurred on the Steinbach Cattle Co. ranch. Ty Steinbach said he discovered the bear trapped in one of the snares at 6:30 a.m. Thursday. Steve DeMers of USDA's Wildlife Services set snares Monday. Grizzly tracks were found in 6 inches of snow after the bear killed the first calf Saturday night, Steinbach said. It returned Sunday, killing five more, and again on Wednesday, making off with a seventh. The calves were 1 and 2 days old. "He stashed 'em just up in the trees to come back and eat 'em later," Steinbach said. Madel said the grizzly seemed to be stockpiling the calves, which is unusual for a grizzly bear. Grizzlies typically eat on the spot or drag a carcass off to an area where they feed. Madel chalked up the behavior to a personality trait. "Bears have different personalities just like mountain lions do," Madel said. Steinbach said it was a bit shocking to lose so many calves in such a short period, right in the middle of the calving lot. But he wasn't surprised given the ranch's remote location, which is in the Rocky Mountains near the Continental Divide. Predators are a fact of life, he said. He credited Madel and DeMers for responding quickly and taking care of the problem. "I'm not for the grizzly bears, but I'm not against them," Steinbach said. "It's just part of mother nature where we live." The grizzly was captured in 2009 near Ovando for research purposes, but it had never been in a conflict with people or livestock previously, Madel said. Grizzlies aren't usually removed from the population on their first offense, but management guidelines do allow more flexibility in assessing whether to remove problem males, Madel said. The bear was large and the Steinbachs and neighboring ranchers assisted Madel and DeMers in moving it so it could be weighed and loaded into a culvert trap for transport, Madel said.
We will not be moo-ved: Moment herd of cows turns on a black bear trying to make meal of grazing calf By Daily Mail Reporter UPDATED: 14:02 GMT, 12 October 2010 Comments (77) Share
This is the moment a herd of cows turns on a black bear after it attempted to make a meal of a grazing calf. The bear had spotted the calf separated from the group of cows on a 2,200 acre ranch in British Columbia, Canada. But it got more than it bargained for as the mother of the calf and two other cows charged the creature in a bloody battle lasting five minutes. The enraged bovines took turns to stomp the bear with their heavy front feet, kick out with their back feet and crush it to the ground with their heads. The hungry bear bit one cow on the leg and left another with cuts and grazes on its face. But it was forced to give up under the assault and limped away with a bloodied face. Photographer Wayne Ray captured the fight on his ranch near Fort Fraser.
The area has had little rain in the last five months, leaving the bear with a scarcity of food. Mr Ray said: 'This small black bear was wandering around near a small group of cows and their calves in one of our pastures. 'The cows were keeping an eye on the bear but they did not seem overly concerned. It was pacing back and forth and wandering in circles like he was confused or could not make up his mind what to do. 'It had lots of opportunities to go back into the trees or to go across the field and away from the cows and avoid a confrontation. 'But he made the mistake of turning toward the large blonde cow's calf. She charged at the bear and knocked it flying. Two other cows joined in immediately. 'The noise was incredible with the thundering of hooves, the vocalising of the cows and calves and the squealing of the bear.' He added: 'The bear was young and either incredibly stupid or incredibly hungry, as he was able to get away from the cows three times and then turned and went back for more. 'When the bear finally gave up, he was bleeding from his nose and mouth and had a bit of a limp. He was probably suffering from several broken ribs and maybe some internal injuries.
'We thought the bear might not be able to survive the beating he took from the cows but we have not seen any ravens, bald eagles or other scavengers in the area.'
Serial slaughter: Bear kills 70 sheep in Montana (Warning: graphic photographs) A female grizzly bear was captured after going on a predatory spree, killing more than 70 sheep around Montana in a two week period.
The sow slaughtered sheep throughout ranches within a 20-mile radius of Great Falls, Mont. None of the sheep appeared to have been killed by the cub travelling with her, and only two sheep appear to have actually been eaten.
"Sometimes the predatory instinct of grizzly bears just kicks in and they go to killing livestock," Carol Bannerman, public affairs specialist with the U.S.D.A.'s Wildlife Services told FoxNews.com. She explained that it isn't clear why the bear went on the rampage.
"The problem is, once they discover how easy it is to kill sheep in particular, they seldom stop killing [them]."
The depredations occurred at three ranches within eight days. Between June 16 and June 22, some 72 sheep were killed and at least four more were injured. At one site, 50 sheep were killed in two nights.
"She wouldn't go back. Some animals will go back to the location where they have depredated and eat. That did not happen," Bannerman said.
'Once they discover how easy it is to kill sheep in particular, they seldom stop killing [them].'
- U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services spokeswoman Carol Bannerman
At one point, wildlife services were able to capture the grizzly cub, place a GPS tracker on it, and released it in the hopes that it would return with its mother.
There was an initial struggle to locate the cub once it had reunited with the sow, however -- so much so, that they had to start a helicopter search.
On June 24, the two were finally tranquilized.
"The sow wasn't in very good shape," Mike Madel, grizzly bear management specialist at Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, told FoxNews.com.
"It was the youngest mother and the smallest cub I had ever found," he continued. "She was four and a half years old and the cub was 32 pounds. Usually at that age they weigh around 50."
When the bears were recovered, researchers saw that the sow had ear tags from 2010, when she was captured by Madel. Grizzly bears can be euthanized if they have previously been captured for depredating. Luckily, the sow had been captured for research purposes, so the team of biologists opted to relocate the two.
The four year old sow and her cub were placed 160 miles from the incident, around Frozen Lake, near British Columbia.
The tracking and relocation of the animals was a collaborative effort between the U. S. Forest Services, Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, and U.S.D.A. Wildlife Services.
Even though in a recent depredation incident, a male the bear was euthanized, Madel said that wildlife departments handle incidents on a case by case basis.
"We've moved towards fast recovery because we've protected the female grizzly population that grows over time," Madel remarked.
Grizzly bears are currently listed as threatened on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Threatened and Endangered Species List, but Madel says that at a growth rate of three percent, they could soon be removed from the list.
"Going through that capture event usually makes them wary of other people. She's less likely to do this again."