- Department of Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Ordiz, Andrés; Sæbø, Solve; Kindberg, Jonas; Swenson, Jon E.; Stoen, Ole-Gunnar
Wildlife may adapt activity patterns to daily and seasonal variations in environmental factors and human activity. At the daily scale, diurnal or nocturnal activity can be a response to variations in food availability and/or human avoidance. At the seasonal scale, variation in prey vulnerability underlies the influence of predators on prey population dynamics, which is of management concern when predation affects domestic species. We analyzed the movement patterns of 133 GPS-collared brown bears in three study areas in Sweden in spring, when bears prey on the calves of domestic reindeer and moose, and in summer-early fall, when bears rely mostly on berries, in three areas with a gradient of human disturbance. In spring, the bears' daily movement patterns and time of predation on ungulates overlapped. In summer-early fall, when bears are hyperphagic to store fat for hibernation and reproduction, variation in the degree of nocturnal behavior among study areas likely reflected behavioral adjustments to reduce the risk of encountering people. Flexibility in daily movement patterns by large carnivores may help them survive in human-dominated landscapes, but behavioral changes may also reflect environmental degradation, for example human disturbance influencing foraging opportunities. Diurnal human activity disturbs the carnivores, but that does not hinder depredation on reindeer, because it occurs mostly at night. Thus, ideally carnivores and reindeer should be separated spatially to reduce depredations. A zoning system prioritizing carnivore conservation and reindeer herding in different areas might help reduce a long-lasting conflict.
activity rhythms; brown bear; human disturbance; movement patterns; reindeer; seasonality; predation; human-wildlife conflict
2017, Volume: 20, number: 1, pages: 51-60