Food habits and foraging of the brown bear Ursus arctos in central south Norway

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Abstract

Analysis of 134 excrement samples from the brown bear Ursus arctos L in boreal forests m central south Norway found volumes to be largest for Vaccinium spp, herbage Empetrum spp, and Formicidae The most important plant material in volume uptake were herbage, leaves, and mosses, closely followed by berries and seeds All together, plant material amounted to c 85% by volume, Formicidae to c 8%, and domestic sheep to c 7% These values were radically changed by applying correction factors for different nutritional value of food items The importance of large mammals then increased substantially, while the importance of herbage was reduced There was a drastic shift in food composition through the seasons Formicidae and flowers of deciduous trees were prevalent in spring, herbage in early summer, Vaccinium spp and sheep in late summer, and Vaccinium spp and Empetrum spp in autumn

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