International Bear Foundation actively works on the maintenance of the habitat of the Brown Bear with a strong focus on Europe and Asia. Animal abuse (dancing bears), poaching and illegal hunting are focus points for International Bear Foundation as well. Due to the reduction of bear habitat, more conflicts between humans and bears occur. Based on global information and tested experiences many conflicts can be prevented. Constructions of motorways and railroads in bear habitat should have protection fences and ecoducts. Farmers and shepherds can/should protect their livestock and crops by using a variety of techniques ranging from sheds, sheep dogs to protection by electric fencing systems.
International Bear Foundation actively cooperates, initiates and advises projects in close cooperation with local, regional, national and international partners. Many of the world leading organizations are our partners like International Bear Association (IBA), Large Carnivore Initiative Europe and many others (see the list of links).
HOW IT ALL STARTED
International Bear Foundation was founded in 2005 by Gerard Baars, former director of Ouwehand Zoo in Rhenen, the Netherlands. Under his supervision the first ever Large Bear Enclosure (LBE) was built in 1993 in his zoo. Since then many similar facilities have been built in many countries on several continents. These LBE’s mostly accommodate abused bears and former zoo and circus bears. In some cases nuisance bears (problem bears in their own natural habitat) are relocated to these institutions as well.
ACTIVITIES and AMBITIONS
Protection of habitat is the main objective of the Foundation. Growth of human population on all continents reduces the surface of habitats for all living species (including mankind itself). For bears, as being large mammals, this can create severe problems. Giant Panda (China), Sloth Bear (India), Sun Bear (S.E Asia) and most of the other 5 species suffer from habitat loss. Even the largest numbered bear, the Brown Bear that has its living range from North America until the Russian Far East, is feeling the loss of habitat certainly in western Europe (France, Italy) and is even under pressure in the Dinaric regions.
International Bear Foundation’s main focus therefore is on the human society as they are the key players in solving possible and existing conflicts. Farmers/ land owners, hunters, forest managers and the shepherds and livestock owners are the groups to reduceand avoid conflicts. Therefore International Bear Foundation’s wants to build “capacity” by these groups of interest. Without the human component there will be no understanding and no commitment and thus there will be no future for those fragmented populations of bears in the urbanized regions in the world. This is our objective, our work and our “playfield”.