The Zoological Society of London recently held the first UK Bear Husbandry workshop focused on improving understanding of zoo animal welfare and promoting good practice in modern bear husbandry and veterinary care.
JMICAWE vet Heather Bacon opened the workshop with a presentation on behaviour-based husbandry and also discussed geriatric care of bears – an incredibly long-lived species. Additional presentations were delivered by EAZA and Shape of Enrichment, all focussed on progressing understanding of zoo animal welfare and practical enrichment.
Heather said “Bears will survive even in very poor environments and in the 1980s UK zoos recognised that managing bears in these older exhibits was no longer acceptable, however with recent investments in enclosure design the UK zoo bear population is increasing and this workshop is a great opportunity for keepers from around the UK to exchange expertise about modern bear husbandry techniques.”
Heather has extensive experience with bears having worked with a range of bear species around the world over the past 10 years.