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Zaragoza, Spain

Blanco J.C.,Brown Bear Foundation | Ballesteros F.,Brown Bear Foundation | Garcia-Serrano A.,Ega Wildlife Consultants | Herrero J.,University of Zaragoza | And 2 more authors.
European Journal of Wildlife Research

Although brown bears (Ursus arctos) are known to be major predators of ungulates in North America and Northern Europe, there is little documentation regarding bear predation on wild ungulates in Southern Europe. We describe search, detection, killing and prey consumption behaviour by brown bears during seven attacks on ltone-month roe deer, red deer and chamois fawns in spring in the Cantabrian Mountains, north-western Spain. As soon as the bears detected a fawn by their smell or their mother's presence, they switched from routine foraging on plants and insects to an intensive search for the fawns, mainly using smell to comb a 0.5-1 ha area for 15-45 min. They killed the fawns either while the latter were resting or after a brief chase. The bears usually took their prey to dense vegetation, consuming it immediately. In four cases, 5-month-old cubs accompanying the female did not participate in the hunt. We also document the apparently non-predatory killing of a 40-kg wild boar by a female bear with cubs surprised by a sudden encounter. They did not eat the boar after the attack. © 2010 Springer-Verlag. Source

Carlos N.,Fundacion Oso Pardo | Carlos N.,University of Oviedo | Fernando B.,Fundacion Oso Pardo | Blanco J.C.,Fundacion Oso Pardo | And 3 more authors.
Acta Theriologica

Evidence of non-hibernation in brown bears Ursus arctos Linnaeus, 1758 on the Iberian Peninsula has existed since the Middle Ages. We systematically monitored brown bears in the Cantabrian Mountains (Northern Spain) by recording tracks and sightings from 1998 to 2007 to document hibernation behaviour. Our results indicate that females with yearlings and solitary yearlings were more active in winter than bears over two years old. Intensive snow tracking and direct observations of five family groups indicated that they travelled, fed and defecated in winter, which are activities not compatible with the physiological state of hibernation. Also, based on tracking data, the maximum period between two consecutive locations of active family groups in winter was less than that needed by bears to emerge from a state of hibernation (6 days). We conclude that the family groups which we monitored in winter did not hibernate. Source

Torres R.T.,University of Aveiro | Herrero J.,University of Zaragoza | Prada C.,Ega Wildlife Consultants | Garcia-Serrano A.,Ega Wildlife Consultants | And 2 more authors.
Forest Systems

Aim of study: To manage and conserve wild populations effectively, a good understating of population density is critical. During 2010, the density of Iberian wild goat Capra pyrenaica and mouflon Ovis aries were estimated. Area of study: The area is situated in Muela de Cortes Game Reservation (Spain), a Mediterranean forest plateau, after a mange Sarcoptes scabiei outbreak that affected both species. Material and methods: To measure the abundance, sex ratio and productivity of the Iberian wild goat and mouflon. Field work was conducted during spring (after parturition) and autumn (during rut) by walking along itineraries, using a Distance Sampling approach. Main results: Based on DS, the best relative fit of model and adjustment term for Iberian wild goat was hazard-rate cosine, based on the lowest AIC score. The average density for Iberian wild goat was 4 km-2 (95% CI: 2,3-6,9) (after parturition) and 3,6 km-2 (95% CI: 2-6.6) (during rut). Average estimation was 1,422 goats (95% CI: 813-2,487) after parturition and 1,308 during rut (95% CI: 725- 2,362). Mouflon best relative fit of model and adjustment term was uniform cosine after parturition, based on the lowest AIC score. The best relative fit of model and adjustment term for mouflon was hazard-rate cosine, based on the lowest AIC score. The average density was 6.8 mouflon km-2 (95% CI: 4.7-9,9) after parturition and 7,4 mouflon km-2 (95% CI: 4,4 -12,5) during rut. Average estimation was 2,440 mouflon after parturition (95% CI: 1,673-3,558) and 2,678 during rut (95% CI: 1,589-4,515). Research highlights: The area represents one of the largest continental free-living populations of mouflon in Europe and a relevant area for Iberian wild goat, where it has survived for centuries and spread into the East Iberia. This study suggests that the survey methods used are suitable and sustainable with available field personnel for quantifying changes in wild goat and mouflon populations, particularly in rugged forest environments. Monitoring should be continued and be part of the development of a comprehensive management programme for Iberian wild goat and mouflon. Source

Herrero J.,University of Zaragoza | Fernandez-Arberas O.,Ega Wildlife Consultants | Prada C.,Ega Wildlife Consultants | Garcia-Serrano A.,Ega Wildlife Consultants
Wildlife Biology in Practice

To estimate the number and density of feral goats Capra hircus in Guara Nature Park (Pyrenees, Spain), 27 observation points were established throughout a 440 km2 portion of the park occupied by goats. In April and May 2009, goats were counted daily during 3-h observation periods that began at dawn. The counts documented 282 goats in 39 groups. Their locations were mapped and, to calculate the area occupied by the groups, the data were analysed using ArcInfo, which indicated that the total visual area was 8,075 ha. Based on Distance Sampling, we estimated the density was 2.1 goats km2 (coefficient of variation 32%), which implied a population of about 940 individuals. That sub-population is part of a larger population in the southern Pyrenees that is distributed over an area of at least 2,100 km2 and, probably, is one of the largest populations in continental Europe. In the Pyrenees feral goats might be an important food resource for the endangered Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos. The conservation, control, or eradication of those goats should be based on a comprehensive analysis of its role in the ecology of the Pyrenees. © 2013 R.T. Torres; J. Santos & C. Fonseca. Source

Herrero J.,University of Zaragoza | Fernandez-Arberas O.,CSIC - Pyrenean Institute of Ecology | Prada C.,Ega Wildlife Consultants | Garcia-Serrano A.,Ega Wildlife Consultants | Garcia-Gonzalez R.,CSIC - Pyrenean Institute of Ecology

In January 2000, the last Pyrenean wild goat, Capra pyrenaica pyrenaica, died in Ordesa National Park in the Spanish Pyrenees. Since that time, there has been an intense debate over the possibility of using individuals from other extant subspecies to restore the Iberian wild goat C. pyrenaica in the Pyrenees. In the late 1990s, some Iberian wild goats of the hispanica subspecies escaped from an enclosure in Guara Nature Park, also in the Spanish Pyrenees. Between 2006 and 2012, four annual counts were conducted to quantify the demographics of the population. This expanding but isolated population numbered at least 86 free-living Iberian wild goats in 2012, reproducing in the wild with a positive increasing trend (λ = 1.067). Given the small number of original animals that escaped, new releases are necessary to insure the genetic variability of the small population, but only if a clear decision on its conservation is finally made. In addition, the population is sympatric with a population of several hundred feral goats, C. hircus, which should be monitored closely, in order to detect any problems with competence or hybridization, although the latter has not been demonstrated in the wild. Source

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