Ain’t nothing like family : female brown bears share their home range with relatives
Olejarz, Astrid; Aspi, Jouni; Kojola, Ilpo; Nivala, Vesa; Niskanen, Alina K.; Harmoinen, Jenni (2022-01-10)
Olejarz, A., Aspi, J., Kojola, I., Nivala, V., Niskanen, A. K., & Harmoinen, J. (2022). Ain’t Nothing like Family—Female Brown Bears Share Their Home Range with Relatives. Diversity, 14(1), 41. https://doi.org/10.3390/d14010041
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Sociality in animal populations is a continuum, and interactions between conspecifics are meaningful for all vertebrates. Ignorance of social structures can lead to misunderstanding their ecology and, consequently, to unsuccessful species management. Here, we combined genetic and spatial data on radio-collared brown bears (Ursus arctos) to investigate kin-related home range overlap and kin-related centroid distance within central and eastern Finland. We found that the extent of home range overlap was positively correlated with relatedness among adult females. In addition, home range centroid distance decreased as relatedness increased. Moreover, there were significant differences between the two studied regions: female brown bears in central Finland were more closely related to each other, and the sizes of their home ranges were larger than those in eastern Finland. The smaller home ranges and lower degree of relatedness among bears in eastern Finland might be a result of the substantially higher hunting pressure in the area, combined with immigration of new unrelated individuals from Russia.
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