Field biologists can now remotely capture a small tissue sample from an animal and identify the species and individual using DNA microsatellite analysis. We used this approach to estimate grizzly bear (Ursus arctos) population size in a 9866 km2 area in southeast British Columbia and a 5030 km2 area of southwest Alberta. We captured bears by removing hair at bait sites surrounded by a single strand of barbed wire. DNA fingerprinting of the root portion of the hair was used to identify individuals. We used the closed mark-recapture models available in the program CAPTURE (White et al. 1982, Rexstad and Burnham 1991) for estimation of population size. Model selection was based on our knowledge of bear biology, results from statistical tests available in CAPTURE, and Monte Carlo simulation. We captured 109 different bears and had 25 recaptures in 5 10-day trapping sessions in British Columbia. In Alberta we captured 37 bears and had 9 recaptures in 4 14-day sessions...
Mowat, G., Strobeck, C.. 1999. Estimating Population Size of Grizzly Bears Using Hair Capture, DNA Fingerprinting, and Mark-Recapture Analysis (in Proc. Conference Biology & Management of Species and Habitats at Risk). Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Conference Biology & ManagementProceedings. Vol. 2
Topic: Species and Ecosystems at Risk
Keywords: DNA, fingerprinting, grizzly bear, Ursus arctos, population estimate, hair samples, British Columbia, Alberta
Scientific Name: Ursus arctos
English Name: Grizzly Bear
Other Identifier: University College of the Cariboo
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