We evaluated the release of rehabilitated, orphan black bears (Ursus americanus) in northern New Hampshire. Eleven bears (9 males, 2 females; 40–45 kg) were outfitted with GPS radio-collars and released during May and June of 2011 and 2012. Bears released in 2011 had higher apparent survival and were not observed or reported in any nuisance behavior, whereas no bears released in 2012 survived, and all were involved in minor nuisance behavior. Analysis of GPS locations indicated that bears in 2011 had access to and used abundant natural forages or habitat. Conversely, abundance of soft and hard mast was lower in 2012, suggesting that nuisance behavior, and consequently survival, was inversely related to availability of natural forage. Dispersal from the release site ranged from 3.4–73 km across both years, and no bear returned to the rehabilitation facility (117 km distance). Rehabilitation appears to be a valid method for addressing certain orphan bear issues in New Hampshire.
Smith, Wesley E.; Pekins, Peter J.; Timmins, Andrew A.; and Kilham, Benjamin
"Short-term fate of rehabilitated orphan black bears released in New Hampshire,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 10
, Article 14.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol10/iss2/14