American black bears (Ursus americanus) and brown bears (U. arctos) can be important predators on neonatal ungulates. They prey less commonly on adult ungulates. Bear predation appears to be additive at low ungulate densities and may become compensatory as prey density approaches carrying capacity, K. As such, black and brown bear predation can limit, but generally does not regulate, ungulate populations. Maternal and neonatal physical condition, birth synchrony, and birth mass may predispose neonates to predation or other mortality factors. Though black and brown bear predation is an important proximate cause of ungulate neonatal mortality, habitat quality and quantity are important ultimate factors influencing this dynamic. Manipulating bear populations to enhance ungulate populations may be successful in the short-term if predation is additive, but long-term success has not been demonstrated.
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Vol. 17 • No. 2