IUCN COMMISSION GROUP

IUCN SSC Bear Specialist Group

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Overview and description

Description:
Of the seven terrestrial species of bears, inhabiting four continents, five are globally threatened and one other has many separate threatened populations. The IUCN SSC Bear Specialist Group (BSG) ...

Of the seven terrestrial species of bears, inhabiting four continents, five are globally threatened and one other has many separate threatened populations. The IUCN SSC Bear Specialist Group (BSG) consists of species and topical experts (structured in teams) committed to promoting the conservation of bears in their natural habitats across their worldwide distribution. We share knowledge and ideas to find the best ways of identifying conservation needs and designing, prioritizing, and evaluating conservation actions.

Group leadership

Dr David GARSHELIS

Co-Chair

Dave was a Wildlife Research Scientist (Bear Project Leader) for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for 37 years, before his retirement in 2020. He conducted population and ecological ...

Dave was a Wildlife Research Scientist (Bear Project Leader) for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for 37 years, before his retirement in 2020. He conducted population and ecological studies of American black bears, with direct application in management of the state’s bear population. As an adjunct professor, he also advised graduate students on studies of the other bear species of the world, aimed at improved conservation. Previously he studied American black bears in the Great Smoky Mountains for his M.S. degree (University of Tennessee) and sea otters in Alaska for his PhD (University of Minnesota). His current interests are in monitoring trends of bear populations, discerning factors limiting population growth, and understanding ecological adaptations of bears, especially in human-modified environments or at the edge of their geographic range. He strives to identify and assess major threats to populations, evaluate effects of conservation actions, and build capacity and enthusiasm for bear conservation in less-developed countries. Dave has been co-chair of the Bear Specialist Group since 2004. 

Dr Bruce MCLELLAN

Red List Authority Coordinator

Dr Karine PIGEON

Red List Authority Coordinator
I grew up with deaf parents, and even though the hearing world perceives deafness as a disability, the deaf community considers themselves a cultural and linguistic minority. My unique upbringing at ...
I grew up with deaf parents, and even though the hearing world perceives deafness as a disability, the deaf community considers themselves a cultural and linguistic minority. My unique upbringing at the intersection of two worlds and cultures (deaf and hearing) strongly shaped my personality, leadership style, and the way I connect with others. As a young adult, I moved to western Canada in search of steep slopes and deep snow. After working full time in the ski industry, I returned to school to pursue a degree in environmental science. For the past decade, I have worked in academia and in the not-for-profit sector as a wildlife biologist and landscape ecologist. I am now the Habitat Team Lead for the Together for Wildlife Strategy for the BC Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operation and Rural Development for the Skeena region. I am also a councillor for the International Association on Bear Research and Management (IBA), and an active member of three International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission Bear Specialist Groups. I am a conservation scientist and landscape ecologist focused on human-wildlife coexistence. I have a diverse background in conservation and management, including applied research on grizzly bears, caribou, moose, wolves, sloth bears, and Asiatic black bears. I am especially passionate about encouraging people to connect with nature while strengthening and preserving biodiversity and ecological integrity, and about bridging the gender gap in STEM and reducing inequities for minoritized groups. Being outdoors has always been an important part of my life. Sharing adventures on steep slopes with skis and bikes or tied to ropes on cliffs/frozen waterfalls are my preferred ways to connect with nature and people.

At a glance

Official name:
IUCN SSC Bear Specialist Group
Associated Commissions: