Wild Welfare recently returned from Japan, where we facilitated a bear welfare management workshop at Kuma Kuma bear park in Akita. We were delighted to be joined by Dr Heather Bacon from the University of Edinburgh, Veterinary Welfare Education and Outreach Centre and Dr Monica Bando who is currently studying for her PhD at Washington State University. Both have extensive experience in captive bear management and veterinary care.
We were joined by representatives from Noboribetsu Bear Park and the Japanese Bear Network as well as staff from Kuma Kuma Bear Park. Dr Bacon and Dr Bando gave talks on animal welfare and care, behavioural and veterinary needs of bears and nutrition and feeding enrichment in captivity. There were also practical sessions where staff were trained in observational welfare and health assessments.
The bear facility, like many captive facilities, is constrained by limited resources, and there were useful discussions on how to overcome this barrier and others and identify improvements for the bears, staff and visitors.
We would like to thank Kuma Kuma for hosting the workshop and for all delegates attending and we look forward to working with our Japanese colleagues further in 2017!
Image © Wild Welfare: Brown Bear playing at Kuma Kuma Bear Park, Akita