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Management of large carnivores is among the most controversial topics in natural resource administration. Regulated hunting is a centrepiece of many carnivore management programmes and, although a number of hunting effects on population dynamics, body-size distributions and life history in other wildlife have been observed, its effects on life history and demography of large carnivores remain poorly documented. We report results from a 30-year study of brown bears (Ursus arctos) analysed using an integrated hierarchical approach. Our study revealed that regulated hunting has severely disrupted the interplay between age-specific survival and environmental factors, altered the consequences of reproductive strategies, and changed reproductive values and life expectancy in a population of the world's largest terrestrial carnivore. Protection and sustainable management have led to numerical recovery of several populations of large carnivores, but managers and policymakers should be aware of the extent to which regulated hunting may be influencing vital rates, thereby reshaping the life history of apex predators.

Original publication

DOI

10.1038/s41559-017-0400-7

Type

Journal article

Journal

Nat Ecol Evol

Publication Date

01/2018

Volume

2

Pages

116 - 123

Keywords

Animals, Conservation of Natural Resources, Female, Life History Traits, Longevity, Male, Population Dynamics, Reproduction, Sweden, Ursidae