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Status of the brown bear ursus arctos in norway distribution and population 1978 1982


, : Status of the brown bear ursus arctos in norway distribution and population 1978 1982. Biological Conservation 38(1): 79-99

A century ago, brown bears Ursus arctos L. were common is forested regions throughout Norway, even on the larger islands. Between 1846 and 1850, they were killed in every county, and the steadily mounting pressure of hunting resulted in a drastic reduction of the population during the following years. Bears were given protection by law in Norway in 1973. The status of the population was ascertained through surveys made during 1978-82. Bears are distributed across large parts of Norway, and the survey yielded 17 definable populations. The national total comprises approximately 160-230 individuals. The term population is used in cases where bears are established in an area. The main criterion for the confirmation of establishment was confirmed breeding during the period. Areas with scattered observations, where reproduction has not been verified, are said to comprise an occurrence. A minimum of 41 instances of confirmed reproduction were recorded, with at least 64 cubs from 13 different populations throughout the country. It is concluded that the population is slowly increasing, and there is no real case for regarding the bear as a threatened species in Norway. But as a result of its distinctive discontinuous distribution, it must still be recognised as vulnerable. The bear population is to some extent shared with Sweden, Finland and the USSR, and is partly dependent on the management and population development in these countries.

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