Japanese Journal of Veterinary Research;Volume 66 Number 2


Evaluation of body condition using body mass and chest girth in brown bears of Hokkaido, Japan (Ursus arctos yesoensis)

Moriwaki, Jun;Omori, Ryosuke;Shimozuru, Michito;Tsuruga, Hifumi;Mano, Tsutomu;Tsubota, Toshio

Permalink : http://hdl.handle.net/2115/70493
JaLCDOI : 10.14943/jjvr.66.2.71
KEYWORDS : body condition;body mass;brown bear;chest girth;Ursus arctos yesoensis


Chest girth and body mass of 3,576 brown bears (Ursus arctos yesoensis) harvested for conflict management in Hokkaido, Japan during 1991-2012 were used to establish methods to assess body condition and to compare the body condition of bears by sex, month, year, and reproductive status. The body mass was estimated based on the chest girth in cases with no measurements of the bear body mass. Using the measured and estimated body mass, a growth curve by age was demonstrated to ascertain the mean asymptotical body mass (245 kg for males, 114 kg for females) and ages at 95% asymptotic body mass (14.2 years for males, 7.1 years for females). The body condition value of bears was evaluated as body mass difference (kg) between the individual body mass and the standard body mass as estimated from the growth curve. Body condition value changed seasonally with a low in summer and the highest in the autumnal hyperphagic period. Female body condition value was higher than the males during September. Fluctuation in annual body condition value was found for females; however, there was no difference between solitary adult females and females with offspring (cubs, yearlings, or offspring of unknown age). No significant fluctuation was found for males. Our body condition evaluation method using chest girth and body mass of brown bears is useful to elucidate different trends across sex, year, and season.