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Relationships among grizzly bears, highways, and habitat in the Banff-Bow Valley, Alberta, Canada

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Abstract:

Banff National Park and surrounding lands constitute one of the most developed landscapes in the world where grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) still survive. We examine the relationships among roads, grizzly bears, and their habitat in a protected area with low road density but dominated by a major transportation corridor and highway system. We examined grizzly bears' spatial response to roads, road-crossing behaviour, crossing-location attributes, and habitat and temporal patterns of cross-road movements. Grizzly bears used areas close to roads more than expected, particularly roads with low traffic volume (low volume). Habituated bears were closer to roads than wary bears. Males were closer to low-volume roads than females but crossed roads less than females during the berry season. Bears were more likely to cross low-volume roads than high-volume roads and were more likely to cross at points with higher habitat rankings. In addition, bears were more likely to cross high-volume roads when moving from areas with low habitat values to areas with high habitat values. Efforts to prevent loss of habitat connectivity across highways should involve maintenance of high-quality grizzly bear habitat adjacent to roads and should address the effects of traffic volume on the road-crossing decisions of grizzly bears.

Le parc national de Banff et les terres avoisinantes représentent un des paysages les plus développés au monde dans lesquels les grizzlis (Ursus arctos) survivent toujours. Notre étude examine les relations entre les routes, les grizzlis et leur habitat dans une région protégée avec une faible densité de routes, mais traversée par un important corridor de transport et un axe routier majeur. Nous avons étudié la réaction spatiale des grizzlis aux routes, leur comportement de traversée des routes, les caractéristiques de leurs points de traversée et les structures spatiales et temporelles reliées aux déplacements de traversée. Les grizzlis utilisent les espaces près des routes plus que prévu, particulièrement celles qui ont peu de circulation (volume faible). Les ours habitués se tiennent plus près des routes que les ours méfiants. Les mâles se tiennent plus près des routes à faible volume de circulation que les femelles, mais ils traversent les routes moins volontiers que les femelles durant la saison des petits fruits. Les ours sont plus susceptibles de traverser des routes à faible plutôt que forte circulation et de traverser aux endroits où l'habitat est de plus grande qualité. De plus, les ours sont plus susceptibles de traverser des routes à forte circulation lorsqu'ils se déplacent d'un habitat de faible qualité à un autre de qualité supérieure. Dans le but de prévenir la perte de connectivité entre les habitats à travers les routes, il faudrait maintenir près des routes des habitats de qualité pour les grizzlis et étudier les effets du volume de la circulation sur les décisions des ours de traverser la route.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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