A review of studies on brown bear (Ursus arctos) ecology in relation to home range, habitat selection, activity patterns, social organisation, life histories and population dynamics
What is home range and why measure it? In order to survive, terrestrial vertebrates require resources including food, water, cover and nesting or denning sites. Changes in the abundance and distribution of animal populations as well as in the home range and movements of individuals over time and space are often related to the varying availability of such life requisites (Litvaitis et al. 1996), as well as the effects of human activities (Truett et al. 1996). The home range of an animal has been defined as the „area traversed by the individual in its normal activities of food gathering, mating and caring for yong“ (Burt 1943 cited in Powell 2000). It is implicit in this definition that home range studies have the potential to provide significant insight not only into the size of area that individual animals utilise and the patterns of their movements, but also information on habitat use and selection, foraging strategies and diet, social organisation and interactions, mating patterns and reproduction, limiting resources andmore (Powell 2000). Familiarity and use are both elements of home range. However, Burt´s definitionisvagueandhenceleavesconsiderable scope for variation in interpretation and understanding. No consensus exists for a single, precise definition of home range and no single method of measurement is best for all research(Powell 2000).
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