Candidate Statement - Alexander Kopatz

Alexander Kopatz

NIBIO – Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, 9925 Svanvik, Norway

 

Throughout my career as a scientist, the IBA has been of utmost importance for my work and its alignment in the world of bear research and management. I joined the IBA in 2005 – with the ambitious goal to study the connectivity of the brown bear populations in Northern Europe – and the overwhelming positivity and support of its members blew me away. This not only motivated me to become a scientist, it also encouraged me to reach out to other non-members of the IBA in Russia.

Today, I work for the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research and live directly at the Norwegian-Russian border. I still study brown bears across Norway, Finland, Russia and Sweden utilizing the power of combining genetic and ecological methods. While my study goals varied, the international collaboration and especially the cooperation with various Russian colleagues has been a stable constant to my work for bear conservation.

In my life and work, I experienced what happens when people find common ground, and to me, the IBA represents everything what is best when the diversity of bear professionals meet. In these times of increasing political and economic instability, the work of the IBA is challenging but evermore important. An important task is to support new students, researchers and managers from non-western countries where bear studies have been advancing. Here, I believe my experiences in science and international collaboration may contribute to unify the bear community further, for our common interest and passion.