In 1994, we studied predation on domestic sheep using mortality radiocollars in an area in central Norway inhabited by brown bears (Ursus arctos). The total loss among 234 radiocollared ewes in 3 herds released on summer pastures was 54, and 51 (94.4%) were due to bear predation. Among 337 radiocollared lambs, 37 were known to have died, 14 (42.4%) due to bear predation. Bears selected ewes over lambs, consistent with optimal foraging theory. Ewes with bells had a higher risk of being killed than ewes without bells. Selection of young ewes with male-dominated litters in spring and small lambs can partly be explained according to parental investment theory and selection for individuals that are last in the flock when attacked or chased by bears.
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Vol. 17 • No. 1