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Patterns of brown bear damages on apiaries and management recommendations in the Cantabrian Mountains, Spain

AuthorsNaves, Javier ; Ordiz, A.; Fernández-Gil, Alberto ; Penteriani, Vincenzo ; Delgado, María del Mar ; López-Bao, José V. ; Revilla, Eloy ; Delibes. Miguel
Issue Date2018
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS ONE 13 (2018)
AbstractLarge carnivores are often persecuted due to conflict with human activities, making their conservation in human-modified landscapes very challenging. Conflict-related scenarios are increasing worldwide, due to the expansion of human activities or to the recovery of carnivore populations. In general, brown bears Ursus arctos avoid humans and their settlements, but they may use some areas close to people or human infrastructures. Bear damages in human-modified landscapes may be related to the availability of food resources of human origin, such as beehives. However, the association of damage events with factors that may predispose bears to cause damages has rarely been investigated. We investigated bear damages to apiaries in the Cantabrian Mountains (Spain), an area with relatively high density of bears. We included spatial, temporal and environmental factors and damage prevention measures in our analyses, as factors that may influence the occurrence and intensity of damages. In 2006–2008, we located 61 apiaries, which included 435 beehives damaged in the study area (346 km). The probability of an apiary being attacked was positively related to both the intensity of the damage suffered the year before and the distance to the nearest damaged apiary, and negatively related to the number of prevention measures employed as well as the intensity of the damage suffered by the nearest damage apiary. The intensity of damage to apiaries was positively related to the size of the apiary and to vegetation cover in the surroundings, and negatively related to the number of human settlements. Minimizing the occurrence of bear damages to apiaries seems feasible by applying and maintaining proper prevention measures, especially before an attack occurs and selecting appropriate locations for beehives (e.g. away from forest areas). This applies to areas currently occupied by bears, and to neighbouring areas where dispersing individuals may expand their range.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0206733
Identifiersdoi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0206733
issn: 1932-6203
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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