Not eating alone: Andean bear time patterns and potential social scavenging behaviors


Angela Parra-Romero
Robinson Galindo-Tarazona
José F. González-Maya
I. Mauricio Vela-Vargas

Human-Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus) conflicts are increasing due to the establishment of livestock or crops near to its natural habitats. Here we report scavenging time patterns of Andean bears and the potential social scavenging behaviors in Choachí and Guasca municipalities, Cundinamarca department, buffer zone of Chingaza National Natural Park, Colombia. Between 2013 -2015, we obtained 31 Andean bear scavenging events, allegedly related with human-bear conflict reports; most records occurred in Choachí municipality (n = 29). Daily scavenging behaviors showed a heterogeneous pattern, where bears prefer to scavenge in morning hours (6:00 h-10:00 h) with small activity in the after- noon (15:00 h-17:00 h). Furthermore, we report on the first potential record of social activity of three adults scavenging on the same carcass at the same time with no aggressive/antagonistic behaviors between the individuals. Most aspects of Andean bear wild behaviors are still unknown; our observations represent interesting additions to the natural history of the species that could also be included in future programs for the mitigation and reduction of conflicts with human communities in the Andean region of Colombia.

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Behavioral Ecology Natural History Threatened and Endangered Species