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The media and scientific literature are increasingly reporting an escalation of large carnivore attacks on humans, mainly in the so-called developed countries, such as Europe and North America. Although large carnivore populations have generally increased in developed countries, increased numbers are not solely responsible for the observed rise in the number of attacks. Of the eight bear species inhabiting the world, two (i.e. the Andean bear and the giant panda) have never been reported to attack humans, whereas the other six species have: sun bears Helarctos malayanus, sloth bears Melursus ursinus, Asiatic black bears Ursus thibetanus, American black bears Ursus americanus, brown bears Ursus arctos, and polar bears Ursus maritimus. This chapter provides insights into the causes, and as a result the prevention, of bear attacks on people. Prevention and information that can encourage appropriate human behavior when sharing the landscape with bears are of paramount importance to reduce both potentially fatal human–bear encounters and their consequences to bear conservation.
Balancing the needs of humans and wildlife in Sri Lanka presents enormous socioeconomic and conservation challenges. Sloth bears are legally protected, but attacks on humans generate intense fear, which increases the potential for human-caused bear mortality and local extirpation of bears. In this chapter, what is known about the ecology and human dimensions of the sloth bear in a country with a teeming human population and a history of poverty and civil conflict is explored. We also address whether changes in land use in the aftermath of the civil war may have impacted sloth bear distribution and discuss the conservation outlook for bears.
The mating system and mating strategies of a species refer to the behavioral strategies used to obtain reproductive partners and ensure reproductive success. Common determining factors of mating systems and strategies are: the manner of mate acquisition, the number of mates obtained by an individual, as well as the absence or presence and duration of parental care. In mammals, the energetic investments in gametes and rearing offspring are typically larger for females than for males. Mate selection is thus a much more important decision for females than for the rather indiscriminate males. This dichotomy results in sexual selection, which in turn is determined by male–male competition for access to females, as well as female mate choice. Because receptive females are generally considered the limiting resource in reproduction, males face intrasexual competition for mates. In a multitude of mammalian species, including bears, this has resulted in pronounced sexual size dimorphism and polygamous mating systems. Despite common characteristics (e.g. sexual size dimorphism, polygamy), variation in mating systems and strategies occur among bear populations and species.
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