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Forskningsartikel2015Vetenskapligt granskadÖppen tillgång

Physiological evidence for a human-induced landscape of fear in brown bears (Ursus arctos)

Stoen OG, Ordiz A, Evans AL, Laske TG, Kindberg J, Frobert O, Swenson JE, Arnemo JM


Human persecution is a major cause of mortality for large carnivores. Consequently, large carnivores avoid humans, but may use human-dominated landscapes by being nocturnal and elusive. Behavioral studies indicate that certain ecological systems are "landscapes of fear", driven by antipredator behavior. Because behavior and physiology are closely interrelated, physiological assessments may provide insight into the behavioral response of large carnivores to human activity. To elucidate changes in brown bears' (Ursus arctos) behavior associated with human activity, we evaluated stress as changes in heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV) in 12 GPS-collared, free-ranging bears, 7 males and 5 females, 3-11 years old, using cardiac-monitoring devices. We applied generalized linear regression models with HR and HRV as response variables and chest activity, time of day, season, distance traveled, and distance to human settlements from GPS positions recorded every 30 mm as potential explanatory variables. Bears exhibited lower HRV, an indication of stress, when they were close to human settlements and especially during the berry season, when humans were more often in the forest, picking berries and hunting. Our findings provide evidence of a human-induced landscape of fear in this hunted population of brown bears. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (


Brown bear; Ursus arctos; Heart rate; Heart rate variability; Human disturbance; Wildlife

Publicerad i

Physiology and Behavior
2015, Volym: 152, sidor: 244-248