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Mammalian Biology

, Volume 75, Issue 1, pp 29–35 | Cite as

The dietary habits of the Brown bear (Ursus arctos) in western Greece

  • Nikolaos P. Paralikidis
  • Nikolaos K. Papageorgiou
  • Vasilios J. Kontsiotis
  • Apostolos C. TsiompanoudisEmail author
Original Investigation

Abstract

Knowledge of the dietary habits of an endangered species is essential to its management and conservation. The brown bear (Ursus arctos) exists in two isolated population in Greece, but only initial management actions have been taken to improve the habitat of this species. To improve our understanding of the ecology and habitat requirements of this species, we examined the dietary habits of the brown bear in the Panagia-Grevena region, of Macedonia, Greece. In total, 360 scats of brown bear were collected between 2002 and 2004 during spring, summer and autumn months. Scats were analyzed by their frequency of occurrence, volumetric and dry weights, and their importance values. Microhistological analysis was applied to estimate the proportion of wild and cultivated plants in the diet. The most important type of food in the spring was green vegetation, while, in the summer, fruits of Pyrus sp., Morus sp., Prunus sp. and Rubus sp. were important food items. In autumn, hard masts, mainly oak (Quercus sp.), were essential foods for the brown bear. The frequency of vertebrates in the diet was higher in the summer and autumn while that of invertebrates was higher in the spring. In summary, the brown bear is an omnivorous species that lives in Greece and adapts its diet according to food availability and human activities in its habitat. For this reason, human activities in the study area must take the needs and requirement of brown bears into consideration.

Keywords

Brown bear Scat analysis Food Greece 

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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikolaos P. Paralikidis
    • 1
  • Nikolaos K. Papageorgiou
    • 1
  • Vasilios J. Kontsiotis
    • 1
  • Apostolos C. Tsiompanoudis
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Natural Environment, Laboratory of Wildlife and Freshwater FisheriesAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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