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Gora-gory

news 33a artificial feeding Humans have never provided so much food to wildlife. Wildlife feeding is widespread, but not necessarily good for wild animals and ecosystems. A new study warns that deer feeding may have unintended consequences. It affects not just deer but also changes the movement behavior of brown bears that now routinely visit feeding sites for deer. Researchers call for an urgent reevaluation of wildlife feeding practices.

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news32 Danka in Zakopane Bears inhabiting Polish Tatras live very close to humans. But sometimes they come too close. "Danka", along with her three cubs, try to use the rest of the food from unsecured trash. Filip Zięba from the Tatra National Park and Nuria Selva from the Institute of Nature PAS took part in the film material prepared by Renata Kijowska for one of the most influential Polish information programs, Fakty TVN. Once again they asked for proper protection of trash and for not leaving the remains of food in easily accessible places. They also highlighted the importance of the bears’ behavior research (eg. telemetry). We strongly recommend! https://fakty.tvn24.pl/ogladaj-online,60/tatrzanskie-niedzwiedzie-podchodza-coraz-blizej-ludzi,781184.html [material in Polish]

news31 SciAm climat change Warming climate drove the decline of brown bear twofold, indirectly by promoting human expansion, but also directly, possibly by disturbing bears' hibernation period, new study published by the GLOBE team in the Scientific Reports shows.

12,000 years ago brown bears used to roam over the entire European continent, but gradually their species' range collapsed to today's patchy populations. This decline coincided with rapid expansion of humans, but also with climate warming. Brown bears live in a wide range of climates, from dry deserts to cold Arctic tundra. Why would increase in temperature exert an adverse effect on them? It is the bears' winter hibernation, when female brown bears give birth, that turns out to be the most vulnerable period. Counter-intuitively, bear females need more energy during hibernation when it is warmer, which means they need to feed longer to build up more fat. By comparing data on female reproduction from bear populations around the world, the researchers found that indeed bears reproduce at lower rate at higher temperatures.

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news30 smelly feet A new study realised (among others) by the GLOBE project team members, finds that bears communicate through their feet while walking. By twisting their feet into the ground, bears leave their scent. This scent is produced by foot glands and contains 26 specific compounds that inform other bears, for example about the sex of the animal. This ritual is repeated by other individuals, mostly males, which step exactly in the same places, leaving a trail of smelly holes in the ground. This reveals as an important way for animals with large home ranges to exchange information with their neighbours.

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news29a GLOBE team Antalowka The last interim meeting of the GLOBE project team took place again in Zakopane (Poland) on 5-9 December 2016. As last year, we again had the opportunity to meet in the hospitable Center for Research and Conservation of Mountain Plants of the Institute of Nature Conservation PAS, where for few days GLOBE team researchers and collaborators had opportunity to meet and discuss. We worked on the results achived by the time on the issues related to the stress, diet analyses based on stable isotopes, as well as modelling of climate and human-bear relations. Though the weather was a bit harsh, we had a chance to spend some time outside too. The meeting in Zakopane was attended by both researchers responsible for implementing specific research tasks and all the young researchers recruited for a post-doc in the GLOBE project. Although this is our last meeting in the framework of the project GLOBE, we hope it was not the last in such inspiring and creative team.
news29c GLOBE team Kasprowy

Photos: GLOBE team in front of the Center for Research and Conservation of Mountain Plants of the Institute of Nature Conservation PAS and on the top of the Kasprowy Wierch.

news28 Teleekspress The issue of climate changes impact on the biology and ecology of bears interested Polish information TV programme, "Teleekspress". TV editor Michael Hajdenrajch prepared material in which Dr. Agnieszka Sergiel and Prof. Nuria Selva explained how climate changes influence the behavior, physiology and diet of polar and brown bears. We recommend this short but very interesting material http://teleexpress.tvp.pl/27324629/zmiany-klimatu-spedzaja-niedzwiedziom-sen-z-powiek (unfortunately only in Polish).

An interesting interview with Nuria Selva, leader of the GLOBE project, was published in one of the most influential Polish weeklies, “Tygodnik Powszechny”. Nuria talks about her research, about Puszcza Białowieska, about bears and about her perception of life. Truly interesting read (unfortunately only in Polish)!

News27b IBA Members of the GLOBE project participated at the "24th International Conference on Bear Research and Management" organized by the International Association for Bear Research & Management (http://www.bearbiology.com/) in Anchorage, Alaska, on 12-16 June 2016. Bear physiology and human-bear coexistence were among the main focus of the conference. Researchers of the GLOBE team had the opportunity to present results of the research conducted within the project, gave 5 oral presentations and presented 4 posters, they took part in numerous inspiring discussions during and after the conference, and what is equally important, had the opportunity for extraordinary meetings with Alaskan bears (and not only!).

news27a IBA List of conference presentations

List of presented posters

news26 Steyaert et al Selecting the right habitat in a risky landscape is crucial for an individual's survival and reproduction. In predator–prey systems, prey often can anticipate the habitat use of their main predator and may use protective associates (i.e. typically an apex predator) as shields against predation. Authors assessed the relationship between offspring survival and habitat selection, as well as the use of protective associates, in a system in which sexually selected infanticide, rather than interspecific predation, affects offspring survival. Researchers used the Scandinavian brown bear population living in a human-dominated landscape as a model system. Bears, especially adult males, generally avoid humans in our study system. Authors analyzed data gathered between 2005 and 2012 from GPS-collared brown bear mothers which cubs survived and not survived during the mating seasons. Habitat selection was a predictor of litter survival. Successful mothers were more likely to use humans as protective associates, whereas unsuccessful mothers avoided humans.

More info: Steyaert S.M.J.G., Leclerc M., Pelletier F., Kindberg J., Brunberg S., Swenson J.E., Zedrosser A. 2016. Human shields mediate sexual conflict in a top predator. Proc. R. Soc. B 283: 20160906. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.0906

news25 Leclers et al Scandinavian Brown Bear Research Project  team published a new paper based on their long term studies, partially realized also within the GLOBE project. Authors underline that quantifying temporal changes in harvested populations is critical for applied and fundamental research. Because of the difficulty of collecting detailed individual data from wild populations, data from hunting records are often used. Yet, the hunting records not always represent a random sample of a population, so the authors aimed to detect and quantify potential bias in hunting records. They compared data gathered between 1996 and 2013 in a long-term monitoring project with the hunting records of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Sweden. They checked the ratio of yearlings to adult females, yearling mass and adult female mass and concluded that the data from hunting records underestimated the decline in yearling and adult female mass over time, most likely owing to the legal protection of family groups from hunting, but reflected changes in the ratio of yearlings to adult females more reliably. Authors claim that although hunting data can be reliable to approximate population abundance, but they should be used with caution in management and conservation decisions, as they can represent a biased sample of a population.

More info: Leclerc M., Van de Walle J., Zedrosser A., Swenson J.E., Pelletier F. 2016. Can hunting data be used to estimate unbiased population parameters? A case study on brown bears. Biology Letters 12: 20160197. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2016.0197