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The interruption of animal movement by fragmentation is a major force with far-reaching ecological and conservation consequences. Understanding fragmentation processes underpins our ability to manage landscapes for connectivity, facilitating many ecological processes including gene flow interpopulation dynamics and demographic rescue. Here the current status of fragmentation, connectivity, methods, consequences, and management of the world’s eight bear species is reviewed. The metapopulation paradigm is also considered, i.e. are bears being forced into some form of functioning metapopulation or are they simply being fragmented into a series of isolated populations that, without conservation action, will likely be slowly extirpated, population by population?
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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