Course Hero Logo

Habitat use food availability and contaminants

Course Hero uses AI to attempt to automatically extract content from documents to surface to you and others so you can study better, e.g., in search results, to enrich docs, and more. This preview shows page 7 - 9 out of 12 pages.

Habitat Use, Food Availability and ContaminantsNatural foods: Our observations support the findings of Schaller et al. (1993) that Gobibears primarily eat the rhizomes of wild rhubarb (Rheum nanum), berries, including nitre bush(Nitrariaspp.), grass shoots (e.g.,Phragmites), wild onion (Alliumspp.),Ephedra, and otherplants supported by desert springs. Small amounts of animal matter (mostly rodents andreported to be approximately 1% of total intake) are also consumed. Evidence that brown bearsscavenge large mammals usually consists of the remains of broken long bones or craniums. Wefound no such evidence that Gobi bears kill or scavenge large mammals. Similarly, bears werenot attracted to, nor consumed any bacon or other meat which we placed as baits in traps usedfor capture.The availability of wild rhubarb appears dependent upon timing and amount of rainfall. Weestablished line transects to assess this relationship. Tentative results support this hypothesis—during 2007, a year of increased rainfall, 23 rhubarb plants were observed in one 200m x 20mtransect of typical habitat. The following year, when rainfall improved, another transect ofsimilar size included more than 300 rhubarb plants.Supplemental food: Supplemental food was provided for bears at feeder sites in theGGSPA but because of lack of dedicated funds, fodder usually only available for the bearsduring the spring and only during the fall in 2006‐2007 and 2009. During 2006‐2008, thepelletized food made available for bears was supplemented with commercial dog food toincrease its fat content and caloric value. In the single test we conducted, the nutrientcomposition of the supplemental feed pellets appeared similar to that present in samplerhizomes of wild rhubarb, except that the pellets contained much higher levels of protein,phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, niacin, and pantothenic acid and less calcium and folic acid thanthe rhubarb.It is well known that brown bear subspecies undergo a period of high food intake (hyperfagia)during late summer and fall in order to build the fat reserves necessary for hibernation andproduction of offspring while in winter dens. Consistent availability of high‐caloric foods during
this period should improve reproductive performance as outlined in the workshops dedicatedto conservation of Gobi bears that were sponsored by the Ministry in 2010.Contaminants/Stress analysis: In order to test for contaminants in the environment ofthe Gobi bear, we collected and tested water from springs from which bears and other wildlifein the area drink. Samples collected during 2008 and 2009 showed the presence of cyanotoxinsthat may be produced by blue‐green algae in stagnant water sources (Craighead et al., 2009).Although these neurotoxins have been identified as having the potential to cause seriousdisease in humans, we presently have no evidence that these effects occur in the GGSPA, eitherwith humans or wildlife. In addition, analysis of salt exudates collected near some springsindicated that the dominant crystalline constituent was sodium sulfate with lesser amounts ofsodium chloride, calcium sulfate, and calcium carbonate.

Upload your study docs or become a

Course Hero member to access this document

Upload your study docs or become a

Course Hero member to access this document

End of preview. Want to read all 12 pages?

Upload your study docs or become a

Course Hero member to access this document

Term
Spring
Professor
larence
Tags
bear, GOBI, brown bear, Gobi Desert

Newly uploaded documents

Show More

Newly uploaded documents

Show More

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture