Relocation of a GPS collared conflict Sloth Bear Melursus ursinus (Mammalia: Carnivora) in Karnataka, India

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Attur Shanmugam Arun
Swaminathan Shanmugavelu
Yogaraj Pannerselvam
Thomas Robert Sharp
Sydney Stephens
Kartick Satyanarayan
Geeta Seshamani


The relocation of conflict bears has been a tool used widely across the United States and Canada with mixed results.  It has also been used in India with Sloth Bears, though without follow-up it remains unknown how successful these relocation efforts have been.  We documented the capture and relocation of a conflict female Sloth Bear from a rural area near Bangalore, Karnataka, India to Bannerghatta National Park roughly 30km away.  This female bear, approximately six years old, was fitted with a VHF/GPS store-on-board collar, and her movements tracked.  She did not attempt to return to her capture location but during the first two-month period after being released she did roam over an area roughly six times that of typical female Sloth Bear home range.  Over the subsequent months the area over which she roamed continued to decline.  She was least active mid-day and more active in the evening, night, and early morning.  During her last few weeks in January, before she was killed by an explosive device just outside of the park, her movement pattern shrank considerably.  The post-mortem examination showed that she had been pregnant when killed and would have given birth within the next two weeks.  These reduced movements were consistent with those of periparturient female bears or potentially with a bear becoming more acclimated to her new surroundings.  The relocation effort appeared successful up until the Sloth Bear was killed by poacher activity. 

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