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Forskningsartikel2011Vetenskapligt granskad

Predators or prey? Spatio-temporal discrimination of human-derived risk by brown bears

Ordiz, Andrés; Stoen, Ole-Gunnar; Delibes, Miguel; Swenson, Jon E


Prey usually adjust anti-predator behavior to subtle variations in perceived risk. However, it is not clear whether adult large carnivores that are virtually free of natural predation adjust their behavior to subtle variations in human-derived risk, even when living in human-dominated landscapes. As a model, we studied resting-site selection by a large carnivore, the brown bear (Ursus arctos), under different spatial and temporal levels of human activity. We quantified horizontal and canopy cover at 440 bear beds and 439 random sites at different distances from human settlements, seasons, and times of the day. We hypothesized that beds would be more concealed than random sites and that beds would be more concealed in relation to human-derived risk. Although human densities in Scandinavia are the lowest within bear ranges in Western Europe, we found an effect of human activity; bears chose beds with higher horizontal and canopy cover during the day (0700-1900 hours), especially when resting closer to human settlements, than at night (2200-0600 hours). In summer/fall (the berry season), with more intensive and dispersed human activity, including hunting, bears rested further from human settlements during the day than in spring (pre-berry season). Additionally, day beds in the summer/fall were the most concealed. Large carnivores often avoid humans at a landscape scale, but total avoidance in human-dominated areas is not possible. Apparently, bears adjust their behavior to avoid human encounters, which resembles the way prey avoid their predators. Bears responded to fine-scale variations in human-derived risk, both on a seasonal and a daily basis.


Concealment behavior; Disturbance; Predator avoidance; Predator-prey relationships; Ursus arctos

Publicerad i

2011, Volym: 166, nummer: 1, sidor: 59-67
Utgivare: SPRINGER

      UKÄ forskningsämne

      Miljö- och naturvårdsvetenskap

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