We compared historic (1985-1992) and contemporary (2003-2006) black bear (Ursus americanus) den locations in Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP), Colorado, USA, for habitat and physiographic attributes of den sites and used maximum entropy modeling to determine which factors were most influential in predicting den-site locations. We observed variability in the relationship between den locations and distance to trails and elevation over rime. Locations of historic den sites were most associated with slope, elevation, and covertype, whereas contemporary sites were associated with slope, distance to roads, aspect, and canopy height. Although relationships to covariates differed between historic and contemporary periods, preferred den-site characteristics consistently included steep slopes and factors associated with greater snow depth. Distribution of den locations shifted toward areas closer to human developments, indicating little negative influence of this factor on den-site selection by black bears in RMNP.
Additional publication details
Den-site characteristics of black bears in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado