GENETIC APPROACHES FOR ROMANIAN BROWN BEAR (Ursus arctos) CONSERVATION A. COTOVELEA1,2 N. ŞOFLETEA1 G. IONESCU2 O. IONESCU1,2 Abstract: One of the largest populations of brown bear (Ursus arctos) is situated in the Romanian Carpathians, where more than 6000 individuals are distributed in suitable habitats. The aim of this paper is to conduct a review of the current state of knowledge on genetic studies of the Romanian brown bear. So far only a few studies with a limited number of samples from Romania have been carried out. The two main mitochondrial DNA lineages, which were described in Europe, are mt in the Romanian Carpathians. More data is needed about the contact zone and the degree of interference between the two lineages. Describing the genetic structure based on nuclear genetic markers will further help in developing appropriate conservation measures.
1. Introduction Brown bear has a high adaptability to different habitats, proved by its large distribution across the Eurasia and North America. Throughout the world, brown bear registers now a number of 200.000 individuals , . In Europe, brown bear population was widespread and well represent in the past. The species suffered a permanent persecution, due to the direct contact with humans. Livestock was the main reason for conflict interferences, and humans have conducted campaigns to eliminate the largest predator of Europe , , . The elimination process of the brown bear in Western Europe has been almost completed, today only small populations are surviving. Populations, larger than those from the West, are concentrated in the Northern and Southeastern Europe , . According to IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources), the brown bear is on the red list of threatened species, in need of protection . Starting with 1990, in order to ensure a long-term conservation of the species, a direct correlation between management and genetic studies has been proposed and established as a first priority .