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1 May 2007 Reproductive Ecology and Cub Survival of Florida Black Bears
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Abstract

We investigated reproductive ecology and cub survival of Florida black bears (Ursus americanus floridanus) in Ocala National Forest and the adjacent residential area of Lynne, Florida, USA, 1999–2003. We documented production of 81 cubs from 39 litters. Average litter size was 2.08 ± 0.11 (SE) cubs. The mean age of first reproduction was 3.25 ± 0.27 years. Excluding females that reproduced in consecutive years due to litter loss, interlitter interval was 2.11 ± 0.11 years. The mean annual fecundity rate was 0.57 ± 0.06. We used expandable radiocollars to monitor the fate of 41 bear cubs. The probability of cubs surviving to 9 months of age was 0.46 ± 0.09 and did not differ between cohorts or study locations. The most important causes of cub mortality included infanticide and mortality caused directly or indirectly by collisions with vehicles. Our results indicate that reproductive rates of female black bears in the Ocala study area are comparable to those reported for other black bear populations from eastern United States, but cub survival rates are lower than those reported for most black bear populations. Management of Florida black bears should emphasize strategies to reduce the mortality of cubs.

ELINA P. GARRISON, J. WALTER MCCOWN, and MADAN K. OLI "Reproductive Ecology and Cub Survival of Florida Black Bears," Journal of Wildlife Management 71(3), 720-727, (1 May 2007). https://doi.org/10.2193/2005-689
Published: 1 May 2007
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