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Weights and hematology of wild black bears during hibernation

Journal of Wildlife Diseases

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Abstract

We compared weights and hematological profiles of adult (greater than 3-yr-old) female black bears (Ursus americanus) during hibernation (after 8 January). We handled 28 bears one to four times (total of 47) over 4 yr of varying mast and berry production. Mean weight of lactating bears was greater (P less than 0.0001) than that of non-lactating females. White blood cells (P less than 0.05) and mean corpuscular volume (P = 0.005) also differed between lactating and non-lactating bears. Hemoglobin (P = 0.006) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (P = 0.02) varied among years; values were lowest during 1975, following decreased precipitation and the occurrence of a second year of mast and berry crop shortages in a three-year period. Significant (P less than 0.05) interaction between reproductive status (lactating versus non-lactating) and study year for hemoglobin, red blood cells, and packed cell volume, and increased mean corpuscular volume, suggested a greater nutritional challenge for lactating females compared to non-lactating females during the 1975 denning season. Our data suggest that hematological characteristics of denning bears may be more sensitive than weights as indicators of annual changes in nutritional status; however, other influential factors, in addition to mast and berry crop production, remain to be examined.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Weights and hematology of wild black bears during hibernation
Series title:
Journal of Wildlife Diseases
Volume:
27
Issue:
4
Year Published:
1991
Language:
English
Publisher:
Wildlife Disease Association
Publisher location:
Lawrence, KS
Description:
6 p.
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Wildlife Diseases
First page:
637
Last page:
642