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About the Bear Conservation Fund
Of the world's 8 species of bears, 5 are currently considered vulnerable to extinction and 1 is threatened, according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Two species of bears, though not threatened globally, face local and regional challenges. The Bear Conservation Fund works to advance the conservation of all bear species, particularly those most at risk, by providing funds for grants programs of the IBA. These generate the information and collaboration necessary for effective science-based conservation of bears and bear habitats.
The IBA launched the Bear Conservation Fund in 2004 in order to propel its research/conservation programs forward in the face of accelerating threats to bear populations around the world. IBA’s grants programs are a key source of financial support for new field research on bear ecology, distribution, and population status, particularly for the lesser known species. Projects supported often lead to finding science- and community-based solutions to human-bear conflicts, and they help to build local and regional expertise and awareness of bears and their conservation needs.
Experience shows that field research conducted in cooperation with local communities can capture the imagination of local residents and catalyze conservation action in those communities. Conserving landscapes for bears conserves the habitats for many other species as well and helps provide protection for natural water supplies and water quality.
IBA’s Research and Conservation (R&C) Grants receive most BCF funds (85% or more). These grants support ecological research on bears and bear habitat, assessment of population distribution and status, public education/training, and mitigation of bear/human conflicts.
Experience and Exchange (E&E) Grants support working field exchanges between biologists that provide training and on-site consultation and foster the development of lasting cross-border partnerships.
Information Outreach helps biologists and institutions in developing nations have access to and publish in IBA’s technical journal, URSUS, and newsletter, International Bear News, by underwriting normal fees.