Black bear (Ursus americanus) survival and demography in the Bow Valley of Banff National Park, Alberta

Mark Hebblewhite, Melanie Percy, Robert Serrouya

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59 Scopus citations


We studied survival and demography of black bears, Ursus americanus, in Banff National Park (BNP) from 1994 to 2000 to test the efficacy of National Park protection. We monitored 25 radiocollared bears an average of 1.9 years each for a total of 51.8 bear-years. Eighty-two percent of all mortality (n=11) was human-caused, composed of highway mortality (36%), management mortality (27%) and management relocation (18%). Survival was influenced by season and management status. Once bears became a management problem, survival (0.66) was lower than several hunted populations. Adult (0.84) survival was comparable to other unprotected or partly protected populations. Cub (0.64) and yearling (0.67) survival, and reproductive rate (mx=0.47 female cubs/ inter-birth interval), was slightly lower than other populations in western North America. We combined survival and reproductive rates in a preliminary post-birth pulse age-class Leslie matrix model and estimated population growth rate as 0.95 (95% simulated C.I. 0.79-1.10). Sensitivity analyses showed λ was most sensitive to changes in adult female survival. Responsible management agencies should reduce adult female highway mortality and the likelihood of becoming a management problem, while continuing monitoring to refine demographic analyses to adequately protect this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-425
Number of pages11
JournalBiological Conservation
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • Banff National Park
  • Black bear
  • Carnivore conservation
  • Demography
  • Park management


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