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1 April 2011 Influence of Fruit on Habitat Selection of Asian Bears in a Tropical Forest
Dusit Ngoprasert, Robert Steinmetz, David H. Reed, Tommaso Savini, George A. Gale
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Wild bear populations in Southeast Asia are threatened with extinction, but the ecology and distribution of the 2 species occurring in the region's protected areas is poorly known, so there is little scientific basis underlying conservation strategies. We used bear signs, primarily claw marks on climbed trees, to study habitat selection and distribution of Asiatic black bear (Ursus thibetanus) and sun bear (Helarctos malayanus) across Khao Yai National Park, Thailand from March to December 2008. We found black bear claw marks in 24 of 30 random sample blocks (80%), indicating that this species was widely distributed across Khao Yai. Sun bear signs were much scarcer: their claw marks occurred in 11 blocks (37%); data were too sparse for sun bear so we limited our focus to Asiatic black bear. Using logistic regression, we found that fruit abundance best explained variation in presence of black bear, whereas human disturbance, distance to park edge, elevation, and ground cover had little influence. Fruits appear to be a key resource for Asiatic black bears, and factors affecting fruit abundance or shifts in seasonality (e.g., climate change) will impact bear populations. Knowledge of this relationship will allow managers to be more proactive in managing bears. We recommend using sign surveys for monitoring changes in black bear occupancy as they are inexpensive, efficient, and can be conducted by trained park rangers.

© 2011 The Wildlife Society.
Dusit Ngoprasert, Robert Steinmetz, David H. Reed, Tommaso Savini, and George A. Gale "Influence of Fruit on Habitat Selection of Asian Bears in a Tropical Forest," Journal of Wildlife Management 75(3), 588-595, (1 April 2011).
Received: 7 January 2010; Accepted: 1 September 2010; Published: 1 April 2011

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Asiatic black bear
fruit availability
habitat selection
Helarctos malayanus
human-wildlife conflict
Khao Yai National Park
sign surveys
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