Mark-recapture using tetracycline and genetics reveal record-high bear density

Journal of Wildlife Management
By: , and 



We used tetracycline biomarking, augmented with genetic methods to estimate the size of an American black bear (Ursus americanus) population on an island in Southeast Alaska. We marked 132 and 189 bears that consumed remote, tetracycline-laced baits in 2 different years, respectively, and observed 39 marks in 692 bone samples subsequently collected from hunters. We genetically analyzed hair samples from bait sites to determine the sex of marked bears, facilitating derivation of sex-specific population estimates. We obtained harvest samples from beyond the study area to correct for emigration. We estimated a density of 155 independent bears/100 km2 , which is equivalent to the highest recorded for this species. This high density appears to be maintained by abundant, accessible natural food. Our population estimate (approx. 1,000 bears) could be used as a baseline and to set hunting quotas. The refined biomarking method for abundance estimation is a useful alternative where physical captures or DNA-based estimates are precluded by cost or logistics

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Mark-recapture using tetracycline and genetics reveal record-high bear density
Series title Journal of Wildlife Management
DOI 10.1002/jwmg.171
Volume 75
Issue 6
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher The Wildlife Society
Description 8 p.
First page 1513
Last page 1520
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Kuiu Island and Kupreanof Island in the Alexander Archipelago of Southeast Alaska
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