Ministry of Environment
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Report: Black Bear Den Enhancement and Creation in the Jordan River

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The objectives of this project are two-fold. First, this project aims to mitigate losses of denning opportunities in the Jordan River Watershed by creating potential dens in existing old growth trees or large legacy stumps. Second, this project will install and evaluate the efficacy of artificial den structures for black bears.

Author:  Artemis Wildlife Consultants; Davis, H.

Old Reference System:  FWCP Fish Wildlife Compensation Program - Coastal

Date Published:  Nov 2014

Report ID:  48410

Audience:  Government and Public

In highly modified landscapes, several options exist to create new denning opportunities for bears on a small element-level scale. First, existing natural structures not currently suitable for denning could be enhanced to create new winter dens. Second, entirely new denning structures that meet the need for thermal and security cover could be engineered and distributed on the landscape for adoption by bears as winter dens. Use of artificial structures for dens by black bears has been documented in the past; dry road culverts have been used (Wyoming, Barnes and Bray 1966; Minnesota, Noyce and Dirks 2012). However, to our knowledge, no one has attempted to create artificial dens for black bears. We applied both techniques using an adaptive management approach to mitigate the reduction in den supply resulting from past hydroelectric and forest harvesting. Our project is intended as an interim method of addressing shortages of dens at a very fine spatial scale (i.e., element scale) and does not address the larger landscape-scale issue of den supply. Enhanced natural structures and artificial den structures may provide a stop-gap supply of dens that could bridge the period between current and historic forest management (i.e., little or no voluntary retention of suitable structures) and future element, stand and landscape management that takes den supply into account.

Report Type
  Terrestrial Information
  Mammals - Black Bear: Ursus americanus
  Region - Vancouver Island
  Watershed Groups - 930 - Vancouver Island (West) Rivers

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