Bears -- Biology, Conservation & Education

Updated August 2005

"Bears are made of the same dust as we, and breathe the same winds and drink of the same waters. A bear's days are warmed by the same sun, his dwellings are overdomed by the same blue sky, and his life turns and ebbs with heart-pulsings like ours and was poured from the same fountain..."   -John Muir...upon finding a dead bear in Yosemite

Bears are intelligent and opportunistic animals -- just like people!  As such, they are particularly susceptible to being conditioned to human-provided food.  When travelling in bear country, it is critical to use proper food storage techniques so bears are not "set up" for getting in trouble. For a bear, "food" includes all food items including coffee, vitamins, garbage, sunscreen, lip balm, soaps, cosmetics, etc.  Humans living in bear habitat should carefully secure garbage, pet food, bird feeders and other attractants.

Every year government agencies kill bears who have become "problem bears" as a result of human carelessness.  Keep bears healthy and wild -- and keep your food, gear, and people safe -- by keeping your food and related items securely stored.  Always check with the local rangers regarding "local bear conditions", as proper behavior and food storage methods vary depending on location, species of bear, time of year and other factors.  And we must add....for the many of you from whom we hear that you would love to "die by the bear" - please remember that when a person is killed by a bear, that bear is then at high risk for being killed by people.  We believe you have a right to make that decision for yourself - but NOT for the bears.  

Remember...a fed (by humans) bear is a DEAD (by humans) bear!   And ... remember also please, that one of the most effective ways you can help conserve bears as a species and as individuals, is by NOT under-estimating them.  

"Bears aren't harmless - they're blameless!"
     -Georgia Stigall, Native Habitats

The case against feeding wildlife - Why human provided food is NOT love to wildlife

Bear safety -- for bears only

Bear safety -- for both bears and humans
National Park Service Bear Facts; The Essentials for Traveling in Bear Country:

Bears Are Not to Blame - "dedicated to the preservation of accurate bear beliefs"
Mailing and discussion list web:

Alliance for the Wild Rockies
Email:     Web:
Support for the Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act, HR 488 (NREPA). "The region covered by the bill boasts unparalled expanses of untrammeled wildlands and a full complement of native species. Biologists used the latest science to identify and connect the most important habitats in the region and ensure they were properly connected to allow species to spread throughout them."

Bear Sounds

Be Be Aware / Wildlife Stewardship Campaign
"...The objective of both web sites is to reduce human/wildlife conflicts, especially with bears and alligators. "

Craighead Environmental Research Institute
" increase humankind's understanding, appreciation, and protection of our natural environment; particularly wildlife populations and wild landscapes. Our goal is to enable human beings to live in harmony with other species."

Get Bear Smart Society - "Coexisting with Bears"

Great Bear Foundation
PO Box 9383
Missoula MT 59807
"...dedicated to the conservation of wild bear populations and their habitat worldwide"

Grizzly Bear Outreach Project
"Promoting an accurate understanding of grizzly bears and their recovery in the North Cascades Ecosystem through community education and involvement."

International Association for Bear Research & Management (IBA)
The International Association for Bear Research and Management (IBA) is a non-profit tax-exempt (US Tax ID# 94-3102570) volunteer organization open to professional biologists, wildlife managers and others dedicated to the conservation of all species of bears. The organization consists of several hundred members from over 20 countries. It supports the scientific management of bears through research and distribution of information. The IBA sponsors a triennial international conference on all aspects of b ear biology, ecology and management. The proceedings from these conferences are published as peer-reviewed scientific papers in a series entitled Bears-their biology and management.

Natural Resources Defense Council

Spirit Bear preservation (rare white American black bear)
Cooperative effort between:  Great Bear Foundation (contact info on this page),
Valhalla Wilderness Society

Email:    Web:

Swan View Coalition - Kalispell, MT
"People Helping People Help the Earth"; protection for Swan ecosystem including Grizzly conservation & much more...

Tahoe Council for Wild Bears
"...dedicated to keeping bears alive and wild"

Ursus International
"...dedicated to providing education and information about the conservation needs of bears."

Vital Ground  Foundation
Web:  or
"A national non-profit foundation devoted to habitat conservation for grizzly bears and associated plants and animals in Montana...our mission is to return a portion of the living landscape to that witnessed by Lewis and Clark, when the native carnivores like the Great Bear still ventured out onto the Great Plains."

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