Reproductive biology and denning ecology of the American black bear (Ursus americanus) in central Georgia
Gray, Casey Anne
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Understanding the biological and ecological requirements of small populations of wildlife is imperative for maintaining or promoting population growth. During 2012-2014, I studied the reproductive biology, cub survival, and den selection of black bears (Ursus americanus) in an isolated population in central Georgia. I visited dens of 13 females and documented production of 24 cubs of the year (COY). I tracked and obtained visual observations of COY for 11 family units (19 COY) to estimate survival for a 6-month period. Mean survival rate for the first 6 months of life was 0.765 ± 0.102 (SE). I assessed the effects of microhabitat and landscape characteristics on den selection. My findings indicate the importance of early successional habitats associated with upland forests due to their higher topography and availability of dense understory vegetation.