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Dietary habits of brown bear

Project title: The dietary habits of brown bear (Ursus arctos) in the forests of western Black Sea region, Turkey and its effect on seed dispersal and germination [Bozayının (Ursus arctos) Batı Karadeniz ormanlarındaki beslenme alışkanlığı ve bunun tohum dispersali ve çimlenmesi üzerine etkisi]

Project leader: Çağatay Tavşanoğlu

Project personnel: Anıl Soyumert (researcher), Alper Ertürk (PhD student), Duygu Deniz Kazancı (PhD student), İsmail Bekar (MSc student), Cihan Ünal Değirmenci (BSc student), İlkim Tan (BSc student), Salih Gücel (advisor), Luis Santamaria Galdon (advisor)

Duration: 2013-2015

Financial support: The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK)

Körduman forest

Körduman forest

Background: Understanding the dietary habits of large mammals is of great importance for their conservation and management. Despite the increasing number of studies on mammal species in the last decade, there is still limited information about the ecology of the brown bear (Ursus arctos) in Turkey. Especially, less is known about the dietary habits of the brown bear in Turkey.

Aims: We aimed to investigate the dietary habits of the brown bear, the variation of the diet among seasons, and to the potential dormancy-breaking effect of gut passage on the seeds consumed by the brown bear.

Study area: Körduman forests located in Bartın and Karabük provinces in Western  Black Sea Region of Turkey. The study area is dominated by coniferous-broadleaved  mixed temperate forests.

 

Methods: Faeces collection from field, faeces ingredient analysis in the laboratory, seed germination experiments

Brown_bear_faeces Resim2 Resim1 Resim3

Early results:

  • Preliminary analysis of faeces in the laboratory showed a higher ratio of plant ingredients (leaves and fruits), but at the same time animal remnants were also observed (insect remnants, hairs of other mammals).
  • Ingredients of the faeces samples showed variation among months throughout year.
  • Our preliminary results suggest that Brown Bear feeds on both plants and animals, and they show an omnivorous feeding behavior in Northwestern Anatolian temperate forests. However, their dietary habits seem to show great variation among different months throughout their active period, possibly depending on the presence of various fruits.

Publications:

Soyumert, A., Ertürk, A., Kazancı, D.D., Bekar, İ., Ülker E.D., Tavşanoğlu, Ç. (2014) Dietary habits of brown bear in the forests of Western Black Sea Region, Turkey: the preliminary results. In: Abstract Book of the 23rd International Conference on Bear Research and Management, October 5-11, Thessaloniki, Greece. (poster presentation)