Identifier

etd-0526103-151738

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Black bears (Ursus americanus) historically occurred throughout much of North America’s forested landscapes, but loss of critical habitat and overharvest significantly reduced abundance and distribution. In the southeastern United States, black bear conservation has become a high priority and restoration has been suggested y to recolonize suitable habitat. My study focused on evaluating restoration of the Louisiana black bear (U. americanus luteolus) to the Red River Complex (RRC) in east-central Louisiana. This involved translocating female bears with new born cubs from source populations within Louisiana and monitoring their movements, habitat use, and social acceptance of the restoration program to determine if restoration attempts should be continued. Females relocated using this method had restricted home ranges and movements during the initial 30-days following release, and established home ranges at the release site within 7 months. Females continued to den in the area they established home ranges through the following 2 winters. Vegetation measurements at used locations suggest that habitat suitability in the RRC similar to other areas considered highly suitable for bears in the Southeast. A survey of hunters within the RRC indicates that support for the project was high (> 70%) but knowledge about the restoration was low (< 60%), although public meetings were held prior to the release of bears to the area. This data indicates that restoration of the Louisiana black bear to the RRC is feasible and should be continued in an effort to establish a new breeding sub-population of bears in the region.

Date

2003

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Michael Chamberlain

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