A case of autumn mating in the Apennine brown Bear (Ursus arctos marsicanus)
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Sapienza University
Servizio di Sorveglianza, Parco Nazionale d’Abruzzo, Lazio e Molise, Viale S. Lucia, 67032 Pescasseroli (AQ), Italy
Dipartimento di Biologia e Biotecnologie “Charles Darwin”, Università di Roma “La Sapienza”, Viale dell’Università 32, 00185 Roma, Italy
Publication date: 2012-02-23
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2011;22(2)
Although the breeding season of brown bears generally occurs during early spring or summer, a few incidents of autumn mating have been recently documented in British Columbia and Japan. Considering the rarity, yet the relevance, of these events, we report a case of autumn courtship and mating in the Apennine brown bear observed as late as 3 November 2010 in the Abruzzo Lazio and Molise National Park, central Italy. Mating was preceded and followed by muzzle sniffing and play fighting, and involved an adult female associated with a cub. During the 20-min observation, the female did not display cub defence behaviour, nor the adult male acted aggressively toward the cub. We briefly discuss this observation on theoretical grounds, including the potential meaning of late breeding for this small bear population.
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