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Acta zoológica mexicana

versión On-line ISSN 2448-8445versión impresa ISSN 0065-1737


DELFIN-ALFONSO, Christian Alejandro; LOPEZ-GONZALEZ, Carlos Alberto  y  LARA-DIAZ, Nalleli Elvira. The American black bear in northwestern Mexico: retrieval of occurrence records. Acta Zool. Mex [online]. 2011, vol.27, n.3, pp.777-801. ISSN 2448-8445.

Knowledge about the distribution of most species is incomplete and fragmentary, due to few records in scientific collections and a lack of reliable observations. The American black bear (Ursus americanus) provides a good example, especially in NW Mexico. Our objective was to retrieve historical data and document current occurrence of the species in the Sierra Madre Occidental ecoregion and the Sky Islands. We consulted records in several collections and museums (national and foreign), historical and current studies (scientific articles, reports, theses, unpublished reports) and key informants. We documented 88 records (10 ♂, 10 ♀, and 68 of unknown sex) in a period of 120 years (1890-2010). Of the Scientific collections 54 records were obtained, 29 were obtained from the literature and five from reliable informants. Most records fall within five protected areas and six priority terrestrial regions. The states of Chihuahua and Sonora had more records collected in the period 2001-2010 and for the periods 1921-1930 and 1941-1950 records were not obtained. The low number of records available reflects the lack of studies over the distribution of the species in Mexico, and the lack of formal reports on the sighting, capture or killing of animals at the local level. We believe this work contributes substantially to identify and examine the geographic information gaps regarding the species, functioning as a baseline for decision making, mainly to apply techniques and methods that help in selecting priority sites for conservation. It is imperative to recognize the necessity to implement management and conservation of the species, in order to maintain it long-term in our country.

Palabras llave : Black bear; conservation; distribution; Mexico; records; Sierra Madre Occidental.

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