Eric C. Hellgren

Conservation and Management of Isolated Black Bear Populations in the Southeastern Coastal Plain of the United States

Developing black bear (Ursus americanus) conservation strategies for the southeastern United States is critical because of increasing habitat fragmentation. Ecological and demographic data collected from a black bear population in Great Dismal Swamp has provided insight into development of these strategies. One strategy is maintaining large, contiguous forest tracts with minimal human disturbance. Identification, maintenance, and enhancement of key habitat patches, such as pocosins and mesic islands, also are important. Remote sensing data can identify corridors among relatively disjunct...


Range Dynamics of Black Bears in Great Dismal Swamp, Virginia-North Carolina

Range size and dynamics of black bears (Ursus americanus) were determined in Great Dismal Swamp (GDS), an 850-km2 forested wetland straddling the eastern border of Virginia and North Carolina. Male ranges were larger (P < 0.05) than female ranges annually and seasonally. Median range sizes were 21.4 km2 for adult females (N = 11),33.1 km2 for subadult females (N = 7), and 79.0 km2 for males (N = 10). Extensive fall movements inflated female ranges. Range shifts were maximal from late summer to early fall and early fall to late fall, averaging 4.4 ± 0.7 km (N = 14) and 4.4 ± 0.8 km (N =...


Seasonal Food Habits of Black Bears in Great Dismal Swamp, Virginia-North Carolina

Food habits were determined for a black bear (Ursus americanus) population in Great Dismal Swamp on the Atlantic Coastal Plain. A total of 535 scats was collected from May 1984 to August 1986. Seasonal shifts in diet composition were similar to previously reported findings for black bear food habits in the southeastern United States. Diets changed from succulent, herbaceous material in the spring to soft mast and corn in the summer. Early fall diets were largely black gum (Nyssa sylvatica) (33%) and oak (Quercus spp.) (32%) mast. Late fall and winter diets were dominated by fruits of...