During the last spring and autumn seasons, a total of 25 human-caused brown bear mortalities were sampled (12 individuals – nine males and three females in spring and 13 – nine males and four females in autumn). Data regarding body length, body weight, and chest circumference were obtained for all the sampled bears. The following samples were collected from each individual for the purposes of the project: ovaries or testes, adrenal glands, hair and faeces. When and where possible, gonads were also checked for reproductive activity at the sampling. The length, width, thickness, and weight of the collected glands were recorded.
We obtained four tissue samples in total per each individual as we sampled both glands (left and right adrenal glands and same for testes or ovaries), cut them into proper fragments, and preserved them immediately (1) in formaldehyde for histology and immunohistochemistry, (2) in glutaraldehyde for electron microscopy, and (3) in liquid nitrogen for hormone analysis.
Samples are now under processing for laboratory analyses. We are expecting some of the results at the end of this year. Hair samples will be used to measure hair cortisol, testosterone and progesterone concentrations.