Use of a spatially explicit individual-based model to predict population trajectories and habitat connectivity for a reintroduced ursid

Desiree Andersen, Yoonjung Yi, Amaël Borzée, Kyungmin Kim, Kwang Seon Moon, Jeong Jin Kim, Tae Wook Kim, Yikweon Jang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Reintroductions of large carnivore species present unique opportunities to model population dynamics as populations can be monitored from the beginning of a reintroduction. However, analysis of the population dynamics of such reintroduced populations is rare and may be limited in incorporating the complex movements and environmental interactions of large carnivores. Starting in 2004, Asiatic black bears Ursus thibetanus were reintroduced and tracked in the Republic of Korea, along with their descendants, using radio telemetry, yielding 33,924 tracking points over 12 years. Along with information about habitat use, landscape, and resource availability, we estimated the population equilibrium and dispersal capability of the reintroduced population. We used a mixed modelling approach to determine suitable habitat areas, population equilibria for three different resources-based scenarios, and least-cost pathways (i.e. corridors) for dispersal. Our population simulations provided a mean population equilibrium of 64 individuals at the original reintroduction site and a potential maximum of 1,438 individuals in the country. The simulation showed that the bear population will disperse to nearby mountainous areas, but a second reintroduction will be required to fully restore U. thibetanus. Northern suitable habitats are currently disconnected and natural re-population is unlikely to happen unless supported. Our methodologies and findings are also relevant for determining the outcome and trajectories of reintroduced populations of other large carnivores.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)298-307
Number of pages10
JournalORYX
Volume56
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 20 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of Fauna & Flora International

Keywords

  • Asiatic black bear
  • Republic of Korea
  • South Korea
  • Ursus thibetanus
  • mammal conservation
  • population dynamics
  • species reintroduction

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