The Alps–Dinaric–Pindos (ADP) bear population is considered to be one of the largest populations remaining in Europe. Despite its international importance for large-scale bear conservation, detailed and accurate information about the genetic and conservation status of some of its sub-populations is lacking. Serbia is located in the geographic center of the ADP bear population, and is of special importance because it connects this population to bear populations in southeastern Europe. Our aim was to establish a research protocol for genetic monitoring and provide information on genetic parameters of brown bears in western Serbia. From hair samples collected non-invasively from hair traps and 2 live-captures, we identified 10 individual bears; a comparison to other bear populations in Europe suggests a favorable genetic status (i.e., increased genetic diversity) of bears in this part of the country. The close geographic proximity of bears in western Serbia to bear populations in adjacent countries, and our results, suggest that the ADP population is interconnected in this region. We recommend a coordinated, multi-national approach for the monitoring and conservation of bears in southeastern Europe, for example, through the establishment of a common genetic database.
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Vol. 25 • No. 1