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Over three decades of bear research & care

Posted by scott.weybright | April 5, 2018

The WSU Bear Research, Education, and Conservation Center has been on the WSU Pullman campus for over 30 years, changing the way humans understand these amazing animals.

A grizzly bear with her cubs at the WSU bear center.

Established in 1986, the center consists of six indoor dens with outdoor runs and a 2.2-acre exercise yard for the grizzlies.

All of the original bears at the center came from Yellowstone National Park and other locations in western Canada and the United States. In the years since then, several bears have been born at the center.

Before the WSU Bear Center opened, researchers studied bears in zoos. But they often found that zoos didn’t allow for regular sample collection or dietary changes, which are necessary for scientific work.

Additionally, most zoos didn’t have more than two of any species of bear. Such a small sample size doesn’t lend itself to reliable data extrapolation.

So WSU opened the Bear Center and our scientists have been hard at work ever since doing work that continues to pay benefits to bears in the wild.

Thanks to our WSU bears, science has a much better understanding of grizzly nutritional requirements, early maternal behavior, foraging behavior, disease susceptibility, and much more.

That’s because of scientists, both at WSU and from around the world, who have worked with our bears to make discoveries that will help bears survive.