Regional wildlife–habitat models are commonly developed but rarely tested with truly independent data. We tested a published habitat model for black bears (Ursus americanus) with new data collected in a different site in the same ecological region (i.e., Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma, USA). We used a Mahalanobis distance model developed from relocations of black bears in Arkansas to produce a map layer of Mahalanobis distances on a study area in neighboring Oklahoma. We tested this modeled map layer with relocations of black bears on the Oklahoma area. The distributions of relocations of female black bears were consistent with model predictions. We conclude that this modeling approach can be used to predict regional suitability for a species of interest.
Hellgren, Eric C., Bales, Sara L., Gregory, Mark S., Leslie, Jr., David M. and Clark, Joseph D. "Testing a Mahalanobis Distance Model of Black Bear Habitat Use in the Ouachita Mountains of Oklahoma." (May 2007).