Influence of Mississippi alluvial valley rivers on black bear movements and dispersal: Implications for Louisiana black bear recovery

  • White T
  • Bowman J
  • Leopold B
 et al. 
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Abstract

American black bear (Ursus americanus) populations were significantly reduced throughout their range, particularly in southeastern North America. Currently, populations in this region are very fragmented, resulting in concern over possible barrier effects of rivers to normal bear movements and dispersal. This is particularly true for Mississippi, where black bear dispersal into the state is critical if populations are to be recovered. Thus, we studied the relative effects of rivercourses on bear movements and dispersal patterns in southeastern Arkansas, 1992-1996. We captured, radiocollared, and uniquely tagged 40 bears and used radiotelemetry to determine their movements. The Mississippi River (width ≃1600 m) deflected bear movements, whereas the White River (width ≃200 m) was not a barrier to bear movements or dispersal patterns. Frequency of river crossing differed by gender (P = 0.007) and season (P

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Authors

  • Jacob L. Bowman

  • Bruce D. Leopold

  • Harry A. Jacobson

  • Winston P. Smith

  • Francisco J. Vilella

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