Strategy for enriching the environment of captive Ursids

Ursids in the wild spend considerable time and energy in finding and processing food, and defending their territories as compared to captive animals. It has become necessary to provide alternative methods of stimulating natural behaviour to meet both the mental and physical well-being of the captive animals. The present strategy for enriching the environment for […]

Issues of choice and control in the behaviour of a pair of captive polar bears (Ursus maritimus)

Stereotyped behaviour occurs in a wide variety of captive animals including ursids. The provision of animal control over aspects of their environment by providing choices is a critical element for improving welfare. The behaviour of two sibling polar bears at a metropolitan zoo was examined to investigate the effect of providing access to their indoor, […]

Factors Affecting the Evolution and Behavioral Ecology of the Modern Bears

The present distribution and abundance of the ursids is but an ephemeral reflection of an evolutionary path that began with the first identifiable bear, the dawn bear (Ursavus elmensis), 20 million years ago in the early Miocene epoch. Although the dawn bear was only the size of a fox terrier, by the Pleistocene its descendents […]

Seasonal variation in stereotypic pacing in an American black bear Ursus americanus

The behaviour of a male American black bear Ursus americanus was observed for over 2400 h across all seasons of the year. Stereotypic pacing was most frequent, oriented away from the exhibit, and performed mainly after feeding during the period May-July; from August-November pacing was oriented towards the exhibit and performed mainly around feeding time. […]

Enriching the lives of bears in zoos

Bears have a long history in captivity and, in recent times, various enrichment techniques have been developed to stimulate the complex behavioural repertoire of these species. Enrichment strategies, where possible, should allow for an expression of natural behaviours observed in the wild. Enclosure design is critically important and enrichment should not be used to compensate […]

Social play in the American Black Bear- Its similarity to canid social play and an examination of its identifying characteristics

Bears evolved from a canid stock at quite a recent date (early Miocene). Despite this recent origin, bears show substantial morphological, physiological, and ecological differences when compared to modern day canids. However, the display behaviors of Canidae and Ursidae have remained remarkably similar. In this paper, the motor patterns of black bear social play are […]

Behaviour, bears and humans

Behavioral learning theory can be applied to bear-human encounters in parks. Conditioning of bears to foods of humans represents only part of the problem, and elimination of such food sources will not entirely solve it. Habituation, the loss of fear of humans through lack of negative reinforcement, can occur where bears and humans come into […]

Oso! IBA Mexico 2007


Denning ecology of grizzly bears in northeastern Alaska


Characteristics and management of black bears that feed in garbage dumps, campgrounds or residential areas