We are often asked how we ‘make’ the bears participate in research. The answer is: we don’t!
While research is extremely valuable, our bears’ health and welfare is our number one concern.
Most research projects we participate in are non-invasive or observation based, meaning the bears aren’t even aware there’s a study being conducted. In fact, many of the studies require animal care staff to simply collect the bears’ poop!
For those which require more in-depth biological information, such as blood sampling, the bears are trained using positive reinforcement to ensure sample collection remains stress-free and enjoyable for the bears. If a bear does not wish to take part in sample collection, they are not forced – they are always permitted to leave, and collection may be carried out at a different time or by using a more suitable method.