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Den Selection by Black Bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Michael R. Pelton, Larry E. Beeman and Daniel C. Eagar
Bears: Their Biology and Management
Vol. 4, A Selection of Papers from the Fourth International Conference on Bear Research and Management, Kalispell, Montana, USA, February 1977 (1980), pp. 149-151
DOI: 10.2307/3872859
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3872859
Page Count: 3
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Den Selection by Black Bears in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
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Abstract

Dens of black bears (Ursus americanus) were located in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park using radiotelemetry. Bears preferred cavities located high in large trees; 7 dens were 6-17 m aboveground. Dens were associated with northern hardwood and cove hardwood forest types. All but 2 of the 12 dens located were at elevations above 1,000 m. The average dbh of 7 den trees was 97.1 cm. Inside dimensions of 7 tree dens averaged 218.4 × 59.6 × 62.0 cm. Tree dens are of definite survival value to bears, particularly females and cubs. Such dens offer protection from precipitation, cold temperatures, and human activities. Perpetuation of tree dens outside protected areas such as national parks is unlikely under current forest management practices.

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