- PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE
servation and management of wildlife. In this study, we investigated the demographic parameters, including age of primiparity, litter size, inter-birth interval, reproductive rate, and cub survival rate, of Hokkaido brown bears (Ursus arctos yesoensis) in the Rusha area on the Shiretoko Peninsula, Hokkaido, Japan, based on a long-term, individual-based monitoring survey. A total of 15 philopatric females were observed nearly every year from 2006 to 2016, and these observations were used to estimate reproductive parameters. The mean age of primiparity was 5.3 +/- 0.2 (SE) years (n = 7, 95% CI = 5.0-5.6). We observed 81 cubs in 46 litters from 15 bears. Litter size ranged from one to three cubs, and averaged 1.76 +/- 0.08 (SE) cubs/litter (95% CI = 1.61-1.91). Inter-birth intervals ranged from 1 to 4 years, and the mean value was estimated as 2.43 (95% CI = 2.16-2.76) and 2.53 (95% CI = 2.26-2.85) years in all litters and in litters that survived at least their first year, respectively. The reproductive rate was estimated from 0.70 to 0.76 young born/year/reproductive adult female, depending on the method of calculation. The cub survival rate between 0.5 and 1.5 years ranged from 60 to 73%. Most cub disappearances occurred in July and August, suggesting that cub mortality is mainly due to poor nutrition in the summer. All reproductive parameters observed in the Rusha area on the Shiretoko Peninsula fell within the range reported in Europe and North America, and were among the lowest or shortest age of primiparity, litter size, and inter-birth intervals, and ranked at a high level for reproductive rate.
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