Acta Theriologica

, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 203–209 | Cite as

Evidence of non-hibernation in Cantabrian brown bears

  • Carlos Nores
  • Fernando Ballesteros
  • Juan C. Blanco
  • Alicia García-Serrano
  • Juan Herrero
  • Guillermo Palomero


Evidence of non-hibernation in brown bears Ursus arctos Linnaeus, 1758 on the Iberian Peninsula has existed since the Middle Ages. We systematically monitored brown bears in the Cantabrian Mountains (Northern Spain) by recording tracks and sightings from 1998 to 2007 to document hibernation behaviour. Our results indicate that females with yearlings and solitary yearlings were more active in winter than bears over two years old. Intensive snow tracking and direct observations of five family groups indicated that they travelled, fed and defecated in winter, which are activities not compatible with the physiological state of hibernation. Also, based on tracking data, the maximum period between two consecutive locations of active family groups in winter was less than that needed by bears to emerge from a state of hibernation (6 days). We conclude that the family groups which we monitored in winter did not hibernate.

Key words

Ursus arctos hibernation breeding females Cantabrian Mountains Spain 


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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Bialowieza, Poland 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos Nores
    • 2
  • Fernando Ballesteros
    • 2
  • Juan C. Blanco
    • 1
  • Alicia García-Serrano
    • 3
  • Juan Herrero
    • 4
  • Guillermo Palomero
    • 1
  1. 1.Fundación Oso PardoSantanderSpain
  2. 2.INDUROTUniversity of OviedoMieresSpain
  3. 3.Ega Wildlife ConsultantsZaragozaSpain
  4. 4.Department of EcologyUniversity of AlcalaAlcalá de HenaresSpain

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