In sub-Arctic and north-temperate ecosystems, opportunistic carnivores, such as black bears (Ursus americanus) and brown bears (Ursus arctos), are active on the landscape for a shorter period annually than sympatric gray wolves (Canis lupus). Therefore, bear movement patterns and habitat use might be expected to be more deliberate and of greater consequence, in terms of energy acquisition, than those of predators not undergoing hibernation. Habitat choices concerning feeding, bedding, and denning grounds made by black bears therefore should reflect seasonal abundance and distribution of vegetation and key prey items as these are sites where bears remain and forage for prolonged periods of time. We recorded the movement patterns of 6 GPS-collared black bears from den emergence to onset of moose (Alces alces) parturition in 2003. Over approximately 3 weeks prior to parturition, results from average distance calculations suggest that black bears moved closer to probable moose calving-site habitat. Additionally, the seasonal habitat use by black bears surrounding dens reflected the same trend for areas where cow moose gave birth in spring 2003, with a propensity to use needleleaf forest more than any other habitat.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology