In brown bears (Ursus arctos), nursing of young >1 year of age has a positive effect on their growth rate but is energetically costly for mothers and reduces the number of litters a female can produce during her lifetime. We followed radiomarked families to study their behavior during the period of family breakup. Yearlings separated from their mothers during the mating season and most family breakups were associated with the presence of an adult male, suggesting that termination of maternal care was not initiated by offspring.
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