USE OF NONINVASIVE DNA TO STUDY ABUNDANCE AND STRUCTURE OF BLACK BEAR POPULATIONS IN THE LAKE TAHOE BASIN.
Julia D. Owen; University of California, Davis; One Shields Ave/ Old Davis Rd., Davis, CA, 95616; (619) 933-0774; jdowen@ucdavis.edu; Camilo J. Sanchez, Shelly Blair, Sara Holm, Benjamin N. Sacks
As urban areas continue to sprawl into adjacent wilderness, the number of human-wildlife interactions continue to increase. The American black bear (Ursus americanus) commonly habituates to human resources in regions of urban-wildland interface. Since 1957, California's Department of Fish and Wildlife has relied on bear tags and hunting data as crude indices of regional abundance to inform black bear management. These indices are inadequate for characterizing abundance in smaller problem areas and provide no understanding of bear population structure, such as between developed and wildland habitats. We conducted a pilot study in the Lake Tahoe Basin to learn how bear populations respond in terms of abundance and structure to extended spatial and temporal interaction with urbanization, and to develop noninvasive sampling methods for both neighborhoods and wildland areas. We collected black bear fecal samples in ten 4x4 km plots of land on the California side of the Basin, including 5 in human development and 5 in adjacent wildland. Here, we discuss preliminary findings with respect to the efficacy of scat sampling, sampling strategy, and population abundance and structure.
Poster Session   Student Paper