According to scientists and a new study which the journal Nature Communications recently published, hunters have caused Scandinavian bears and their cubs to slightly alter their behavior. Over the last few decades, the cubs have begun spending a lot more time with their mothers. It seems that hunters have a great impact on this species of bears and are causing them to change the way they behave. It’s interesting that before these recent observations, brown bear cubs were spending about a year and a half with the mothers. When cubs spent two, two and a half years with their moms, it was extremely rare.
According to the experts, now, the cubs are almost all spending one extra years with their mothers. Over the past 15 to 20 years, hunters have forced bears to adapt and change their behavior. Now, 30% more female bears are taking care of their cubs for one more year than before. The increase started becoming visible since 2005. Jon Swenson, an author on the study, says that hunters are more likely to shoot female bears if they don’t have a cub with them. It’s also worth noting that in countries that allow bear hunting, hunters are forbidden to target families.
Brown bears are changing their behavior because of hunters
Hunting is the main reason why female brown bears are now spending a lot more time with their cubs. Between 2005 and 2015, the number of mothers taking care of their cubs for one more year increased from only 7% to 36%. Coincidentally or not, hunting has also increased in Sweden in this exact time period.
However, it’s worth noting that taking care of their cubs for a longer time also means that the females will be reproducing less often. This could seriously affect the brown bear population. At the same time, this change has increased the average lifespan of female brown bears.
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