Identifying potential areas of expansion for the endangered brown bear (Ursus arctos) population in the Cantabrian Mountains (NW Spain)

PloS One
Alejandra Zarzo-AriasFredrik Dalerum


Many large carnivore populations are expanding into human-modified landscapes and the subsequent increase in coexistence between humans and large carnivores may intensify various types of conflicts. A proactive management approach is critical to successful mitigation of such conflicts. The Cantabrian Mountains in Northern Spain are home to the last remaining native brown bear (Ursus arctos) population of the Iberian Peninsula, which is also amongst the most severely threatened European populations, with an important core group residing in the province of Asturias. There are indications that this small population is demographically expanding its range. The identification of the potential areas of brown bear range expansion is crucial to facilitate proactive conservation and management strategies towards promoting a further recovery of this small and isolated population. Here, we used a presence-only based maximum entropy (MaxEnt) approach to model habitat suitability and identify the areas in the Asturian portion of the Cantabrian Mountains that are likely to be occupied in the future by this endangered brown bear population following its range expansion. We used different spatial scales to identify brown bear range suitability ...Continue Reading


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