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From bottom of my heart, I would like to thank the Bear Care Group for making my dream came true. After attending the ABC conference last year, I acquired knowledge and practical experience that I was able to apply directly when training animals.  Sharing this information with our animal caretakers has helped us engage as a team in making appropriate enrichment and observing the rescued bears at our sanctuary.

I am now confident understanding the husbandry and veterinary needs of captive bears.  Receiving the Else Poulsen Memorial Grant made my year allowing me to attend ABC Scotland.  I had the great opportunity to present on how I successfully applied what I learned from the previous conference our sanctuary

—  Thuong Ta

Assistant Animal Manager

Four Paws Vietnam, Bear Sanctuary Ninh Binh

Scotland 2019


The workshop was designed to improve husbandry, management, health and welfare for bears and caregivers in zoos, sanctuaries, and rehabilitation facilities around the world.  It opens our eyes to better ways of nurturing and enriching the lives of the bears in our care and deepens our appreciation and knowledge for the emotional and inner life of the wildlife in captivity.

—  Geeta Seshamani

Co-founder & Secretary of Wildlife SOS

India 2018


Five Sisters Zoo have been attending ABC conferences since New Jersey 2013 after rescuing three ex-circus European brown bears.  We were introduced to Else Poulsen who through her expertise and guidance helped us to rehabilitate our traumatized bears and give them the best possible life at our zoo.  We continued attending ABC conferences to help us improve upon the bear husbandry we were providing and to network with other bear professionals.  We learned so much from all who attended from around the world in all aspects of bear care and rescue, many of whom have become good friends.  During our conversations with BCG at Omaha 2016, we spoke about hosting a conference in the future.  From there ABC Scotland was born and after much planning and correspondence  delegates attended from around the globe and this was a great success

—Shirley Curran


Five Sisters Zoo

Omaha 2016


An afternoon was spent at The Hanoi Zoological Park where staff and workshop delegates got together to make hammocks for the bears in their collection. These were used immediately by the bears and provided a welcome resting area, off the concrete floor of their enclosure.


The staff and delegates were also shown the principles of operant conditioning. Because of the workshop, zoo staff recognized the importance of animal training which made it much easier for Animals Asia volunteers to get the zoo staff involved with training various animals in the zoo.

—  Nguyen Tam Thanh

Animal Welfare Officer

 Animals Asia

Vietnam 2015


Learning to read bear behavior was extremely useful since almost all the zoos in Romania have brown bears in their collections and we are working to improve our animal management techniques.


I was also very happy to meet the delegates and learn about their experiences and problems. Coming from eight different countries they offered a wide view over bear management. The evenings were spent in friendly networking with delegates. 

— Dana Canari

Romania Zoo and Aquaria Federation

Romania 2014


Over 100 delegates from 14 countries representing zoos, sanctuaries, the fields of research and biology, and wildlife rehabilitation attended. This amazing group of people came together to share knowledge, expertise, techniques and ideas to improve the care, well-being and understanding of all bear species.

The five days of inspiring workshops and lectures included an in depth look at the successes and challenges of Woodlands’ black bear rehabilitation and release program, and delegates ventured into black bear territory with New Jersey’s Black Bear Research Team.

—  Tracy Leaver

Executive Director

Woodlands Wildlife Refuge

New Jersey 2013



I work in the education department of the Calgary Zoo, and I had the distinct privilege of attending one day at the Advancing Bear Care 2011 conference.  As our breadth of knowledge and understanding on these creatures expands, so does that of the one million plus people who pass through our gates every year on whom we impart our facts. From a more personal standpoint, it always benefits us in education to get more of a glimpse into the world of animals through the eyes and unique experiences of their keepers.

— Zack Anderson


 Calgary Zoo

Banff 2011


While my husband and I were at this fantastic conference we were contacted by a man who owned two bears (Bam Bam the two year old grizzly bear, and Thunder the one year old American black bear) now in need of new homes. We felt compelled to help the bears even more due to all the experts we were meeting at the conference and thought that this rescue was a godsend considering where we were at the time we received this desperate plea. I was so inspired by Angelika Langen's talk from the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter. 

A few years before this rescue, I had turned away a grizzly bear because I wasn’t confidant that we could properly care for this animal. After attending the conference I felt like we were experts.

—  Tanya Smith


 Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge

San Francisco 2009 

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