To foster improvements in global bear welfare and conservation through communication, cooperation, and education among international bear care professionals.
How do we accomplish this?
Advance and share information on bear behavior, husbandry, enrichment, training, veterinary care, and other welfare-related topics.
Organize bear care conferences and workshops focused on educating and sharing information to improve global bear welfare.
Produce publications and resources to support bear care professionals in achieving excellence in bear husbandry and care.
Bear Care Group
Board of Directors
Kristina Madarang Stahl
Director of Development for The Climate Initiative, Vice President of Wild in Vermont, Inc
BIAZA Bear Focus Group
In 2007, a symposium for bear experts from around the world was hosted in Pomona, California. Nearly 100 individuals came together to present on bear husbandry and welfare related topics. It was clear from the engaged discussions and feedback that a need existed for a group dedicated to developing resources for bear caregivers. Creating a recognizable network to connect bear caregivers around the world, providing resources to improve their knowledge and skills, would consequently improve the lives of all bears. Else Poulsen was one of the original symposium hosts, and upon recognizing this need immediately laid plans to create the non-profit The Bear Care Group (BCG). The BCG was incorporated less than a year later by several original founders from various disciplines. This team began working on researching and providing resources, advice and guidance to bear caregivers worldwide. Else’s vision was for the BCG to be a non-partisan entity, welcoming people from all disciplines (zoos, sanctuaries, rehab, field research…) into discussions, teaching and learning opportunities in an effort to increase understanding and care of all bears.
Since the inception, BCG have maintained a listserv to discuss any bear-related topics, a Facebook group to encourage discussion and sharing of resources via social media, and our primary website (recently updated!). The BCG has also planned and hosted several international “Advancing Bear Care” conferences in both North America and Europe, inviting regional and international delegates to attend, learn and share their insight on bear care methodologies. As the BCG network grew, collaborations with other organizations dedicated to bear welfare that Else and the Board members were familiar with developed, increasing our understanding of issues impacting bear species in different countries. This led to the BCG partnering with organizations like Animals Asia and Wildlife SOS to host workshops tailored to meet the needs of caregivers facing unique challenges, such as bile farming or trafficking. The BCG developed an evolving curriculum based on input from our partners and impacts on the bears to provide new insights and ideas on addressing issues affecting the animals and their caretakers. Over time, BCG has been able to use the nonprofit monies generated by the conferences to fund these regional workshops, often hosted in low-middle income areas. Long-time sponsors and donors aid in providing grants and expertise.
From the beginning, Else worked with many groups and individuals dedicated to improving the lives of bears. The BCG continues to meet Else’s original vision, while evolving to remain apace of current science and our understanding of bear welfare. Our Board remains diverse, dedicated and excited to continue moving forward. BCG encourages you to join our network and bring your knowledge and skills to the table. Else Poulsen was the original founder and force behind the Bear Care Group, a true hero for bears everywhere. It remains up to all of us to continue her legacy. BCG welcomes you to the Bear Care Group.