ACTION C.5 – Establishment of optimization of an integrated, population-level surveillance of brown bear conservation status

Understanding of population parameters (population size, sex ratio, fecundity/mortality, spatial extent) and their temporal dynamics is one of conservation and management foundations for any animal population. The goal of this action is to start a comprehensive, optimized scheme for monitoring of the Alpine-Dinaric bear population that will cover its entire range within the participating countries.

Genetic sampling of brown bears is scheduled in all participating countries. Sampling will be done through non invasive methods in the core range of brown bear in Slovenia and Croatia and will involve hunters, foresters and other interested volunteers, combined with data collected in Action D.1. Opportunistic, year-round sampling will be done in the recovery zone in north-western part of the study area (western Slovenia, Italy and Austria).

Tissue samples and tooth cementum samples are routinely collected from detected bear mortality. We will used them to infer population size estimates, age structure and effective population size. Genetically tagged animals appearing in the cull will help us understand dispersal and population dilution through reproduction.

Counting bears on permanent counting sites will give us an estimate of minimum number of bears, number of cubs per female, relative dynamics of population size, reproduction and population range. Counting will be done by hunters three times a year in specific weather conditions.
There is already a wealth of information on lifetime reproductive output, primiparity and sex or age specific reproductive success. By augmenting these data from permanent counting sites, parentage and relatedness analysis, genetic data and inspection of reproductive organs of deceased bears we will be able to better understand age and sex specific reproductive outputs.

Veterinarians will inspect cadavers of deceased and live caught bears for infectious diseases and health status.

We will analyze currently implemented systems to handle damages done by bears in all participating countries for possible insufficiencies. To improve exchange of data and share experiences in population management and monitoring, we will compile a report of possible suggestions to harmonize data collection using experiences gained through collaboration.

By comparing all methods of estimating population sizes against currently most reliable estimates from genetic sampling, we will suggest the most cost-effective monitoring scheme which can be used when more expensive but also more precise methods are not available.

2015 Annual population status report for brown bears in Northern Dinaric Mountains and Eastern Alps

2016 Annual population status report for brown bears in Northern Dinaric Mountains and Eastern Alps

2017 Annual population status report for brown bears in Northern Dinaric Mountains and Central-Eastern Alps

2018 Annual population status report for brown bears in Northern Dinaric Mountains and Central-Eastern Alps

2019 Annual population status report for brown bears in Northern Dinaric Mountains and South-Eastern Alps

Implementing robust genetic monitoring-workshop report and best practice recommendations (Action F.2)

Genetic estimates of census and effective population sizes of brown bears in northern Dinaric Mountains and south-eastern Alps (report; Skrbinšek et al. 2017)

Genetic estimates of census and effective population sizes of brown bears (Skrbinšek et al. 2017) – Executive summary in Croatian

Reconstruction of brown bear population dynamics in Slovenia and Croatia for the period 1998-2018 (Jerina & Polaina et al. 2018)

Cost benefit analysis of different monitoring approaches and guidelines for optimized monitoring of brown bears (Bordjan et al.2019; report)

Utility of systematic counting of bears on a network of permanent counting sites for monitoring of the dynamics of brown bear abundance, fecundity and proportion of females with cubs (Jerina et al.2019; report in Slovenian with English summary, tables and figures)

Guidelines for transboundary monitoring of brown bears in NW Dinaric Mountains and the Alps (Skrbinšek et al. 2019)

Expansion of bears from Dinaric Mountains into South-Eastern Alps (Skrbinšek et al. 2019)

Latest C.5 actions:

Impact factors in occurrence of human-bear conflicts

Among many different possible conflicts between humans and bears, those that are a consequence of bear feeding behaviour are the [...]

Guidelines for optimisation of bear population monitoring in Slovenia

In Slovenia, a variety of indicators for the brown bear population status, impact of bears on the environment and their [...]

What can data from long-term systematic counting at permanent counting sites tell us about bears in Slovenia?

Systematic bear counting on a network of permanent counting sites (feeding sites) is the oldest brown bear monitoring method in [...]

Minutes of the Workshop for Transboundary Monitoring available

In May, University of Ljubljana organized a two-day workshop. The workshop was organized in frame of the project LIFE DINALP [...]

Workshop for Transboundary Monitoring of Brown Bear Population

Efforts towards population-level monitoring has been one of the crucial objectives of our project. A two-day workshop entitled “Transboundary Harmonization [...]

Another bear radio-collared in the Prealpine zone

After our previous bear capture for research and management purpose in the Prealpine hills of Slovenia, another alarm message set [...]