New publication: Regulated hunting re-shapes the life history of brown bears

By Richard Bischof, Christophe Bonenfant, Inger Maren Rivrud*, Andreas Zedrosser, Andrea Friebe, Tim Coulson, Atle Mysterud*, and Jon E. Swenson in Nature Ecology & Evolution


Management of large carnivores is among the most controversial topics in natural resource administration. Regulated hunting is a centrepiece of many carnivore management programmes and, although a number of hunting effects on population dynamics, body-size distributions and life history in other wildlife have been observed, its effects on life history and demography of large carnivores remain poorly documented. We report results from a 30-year study of brown bears (Ursus arctos) analysed using an integrated hierarchical approach. Our study revealed that regulated hunting has severely disrupted the interplay between age-specific survival and environmental factors, altered the consequences of reproductive strategies, and changed reproductive values and life expectancy in a population of the world’s largest terrestrial carnivore. Protection and sustainable management have led to numerical recovery of several populations of large carnivores, but managers and policymakers should be aware of the extent to which regulated hunting may be influencing vital rates, thereby reshaping the life history of apex predators.

* Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.
See the publication webpage for full author information.

Nature Ecology & Evolution (2017)
Published online: 11 December 2017

Tags: Nature Ecology & Evolution;
Published Dec. 12, 2017 10:51 AM - Last modified Dec. 12, 2017 10:51 AM