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What else does a bear do in the woods?

“What else does a bear do in the woods?”* asks investigator Don Davis, answering his own question by alerting us to this new study:

Behaviour of Solitary Adult Scandinavian Brown Bears (Ursus arctos) when Approached by Humans on Foot,” Gro Kvelprud Moen, Ole-Gunnar Støen [pictured here], Veronica Sahlén, Jon E. Swenson,  (2012). PLoS ONE 7(2): e31699.  The authors are at Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, and at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Trondheim, Norway, report:

“During 2006–2009, we approached 30 adult (21 females, 9 males) GPS-collared bears 169 times during midday, using 1-minute positioning before, during and after the approach…. Most bears (80%) left the initial site during the approach, going away from the observers, whereas some remained at the initial site after being approached (20%). Young bears left more often than older bears, possibly due to differences in experience, but the difference between ages decreased during the berry season compared to the pre-berry season. The flight initiation distance was longer for active bears (115±94 m) than passive bears (69±47 m), and was further affected by horizontal vegetation cover and the bear’s age. Our findings show that bears try to avoid confrontations with humans on foot.”

*BONUS: “Defecation rates of captive brown bears” [study]

BONUS: Ig Nobel Prize winner Troy Hurtubise exploring a similar question with grizzly bears, some years ago:

Improbable Research