Bear populations around the world have declined precipitously due to loss of habitat and excessive killing by man. Eight species of bears, six of which are threatened or endangered, exist worldwide. Our mission is to provide the information and the necessary understanding to conserve bears around the world.
In China, giant pandas occupy less than 1% of their former range and number fewer than 1,200. Populations of sun bears, Asiatic black bears, and sloth bears in Asia are declining rapidly and are threatened or endangered over most of their range. The polar bear population had declined to fewer than 10,000 worldwide in the mid-1960's. Since the enactment of international treaties at that time, the population has rebounded to more than 25,000.
In the U.S., grizzlies outside of Alaska have been eliminated from 99% of their range and their numbers reduced from 100,000 to fewer than 1,000 since Europeans arrived on the continent. Significant grizzly populations now live only in the Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide ecosystems. Very small populations inhabit the North Cascades of Washington, the Selkirks of Washington and Idaho, and the Cabinet-Yaaks of Idaho and Montana. The American black bear continues to do well, although isolated populations in the southeast are threatened.
The WSU Bear Program is the only facility in the world to house adult grizzlies for research, thus, university, government, and zoo scientists from across the U.S. and other countries have come to study at WSU.
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In the News
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