Ecology, Habitat Use, and Conservation of Asiatic Black Bears in the Min Mountains of Sichuan Province, China


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Virginia Tech


This project was initiated in an attempt to address the paucity of data on Asiatic black bears (Ursus thibetanus) in Mainland China. Field work was carried out from May 2004 – August 2006 within the Tangjiahe National Nature Reserve in northwestern Sichuan Province, China. Initial methodology relied on trapping and GPS radio-collaring bears, but due to extreme difficulty with capturing a sufficient sample size, I expanded the study to include reproduction, feeding analysis from scats and sign, and occupancy modeling from sign surveys. I documented the home ranges of an adult female (100% MCP = 107.5km2, n=470 locations) and a sub-adult female (100%MCP = 5.9km2, n=36 locations) Asiatic black bear. I also documented two birthing occasions with a total of four male cubs produced and eight bear den sites. I collected feeding data from 131 scat samples and 200 bear sign transects resulting in 50 identified food items consumed by Asiatic black bears. I also employed the program PRESENCE to analyze occupancy data using both a standard grid repeated sampling technique and an innovative technique of aging bear sign along strip transect surveys to represent repeated bear occupancy over time. Conservation protection patrolling and soft mast were shown to be the most important factors determining the occupancy of an area by Asiatic black bears in Tangjiahe Nature Reserve, Sichuan Province, China.



China wildlife, Asiatic black bear, Ursus thibetanus bear reproduction, feeding ecology, habitat analysis, home range, occupancy estimation, Tangjiahe Nature Reserve