Acta Theriologica

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 119–128 | Cite as

Distribution and genetic status of brown bears in FYR Macedonia: implications for conservation

  • Alexandros A. KaramanlidisEmail author
  • Aleksandar Stojanov
  • Miguel de Gabriel Hernando
  • Gjorge Ivanov
  • Ivna Kocijan
  • Dimche Melovski
  • Tomaž Skrbinšek
  • Andreas Zedrosser
Original Paper


Conservation and management of large carnivores is often hampered by the lack of information of basic biological parameters. This is particularly true for brown bears (Ursus arctos) in the Former Yugoslav Republic (FYR) of Macedonia. The bear population in this country is important, as it links bear populations of the central part of the Dinaric–Pindos population and the endangered population to the south in Greece. The aim of this study was to assess bear presence in FYR Macedonia and to provide the first evaluation of the genetic status of the species in this country. Bear presence was assessed through a questionnaire and sign surveys, while the genetic status of the species was evaluated through noninvasive genetic sampling from power poles and microsatellite analysis. The results of the study indicate the continuous and permanent presence of brown bears in FYR Macedonia from the border to Kosovo in the northwest, along the border to Albania and Greece in the south; bear presence around Mount Kožuf in the south of the country was seasonal. High levels of genetic diversity were recorded, and it appears that this bear population is currently not threatened by low genetic variability. Cross-border movements of bears between FYR Macedonia and Greece were documented, indicating the presence of an interconnected population and outlining the necessity for a coordinated international approach in the monitoring and conservation of the species in southeastern Europe.


FYR Macedonia Conservation Endangered species Noninvasive genetic monitoring Presence Ursus arctos 



We would like to thank the field teams of ARCTUROS, Molika, and the Macedonian Ecological Society for their help in the field work and collecting the hair samples. We greatly appreciate the overall logistic help of C. Zouras, L. Georgiadis, and L. Krambokoukis. The genetic analyses were carried out at the labs of Wildlife Genetics International; we thank R. Prive and D. Paetkau for their outstanding work and cooperation. J. Herman and two anonymous reviewers provided valuable comments that improved the quality of the manuscript. This study received funding from Alertis, fund for bear and nature conservation, the International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA), and ARCTUROS.


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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Białowieża, Poland 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandros A. Karamanlidis
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  • Aleksandar Stojanov
    • 2
  • Miguel de Gabriel Hernando
    • 1
  • Gjorge Ivanov
    • 2
  • Ivna Kocijan
    • 3
  • Dimche Melovski
    • 2
  • Tomaž Skrbinšek
    • 4
  • Andreas Zedrosser
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.ARCTUROS, Civil Society for the Protection and Management of Wildlife and the Natural EnvironmentThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Macedonian Ecological SocietySkopjeFYR Macedonia
  3. 3.Department of Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of ZagrebZagrebCroatia
  4. 4.Department of Biology, Biotechnical FacultyUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  5. 5.Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Department of Environmental and Health StudiesTelemark University CollegeBø i TelemarkNorway
  6. 6.Department of Ecology and Natural Resource ManagementNorwegian University of Life SciencesÅsNorway
  7. 7.Department of Integrative Biology and Biodiversity Research, Institute of Wildlife Biology and Game ManagementUniversity of Natural Resources and Applied Life SciencesViennaAustria

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