28th IBA Edmonton Conference Workshops


IBA Edmonton Conference Workshops
Workshops are on Sunday 15 September so make sure ot plan your arrival for Saturday 14 September
The space for each workshop session is limited so please register early to avoid disappointment!
Workshop Details and Pricing Below
**All Prices in USD**
 Bear Capture and Handling Best Practices (Full Day)
 Engagement with Indigenous knowledge in polar bear research in Canada’s north (1/2 Day AM)
 UnBEARable or BEARable captivity? Perspectives and solutions for wild bears entering lifetime keeping (1/2 Day Afternoon)


Back to IBA Conference Website


Workshops Date
Sunday 15th September 2024

Chateau Lacombe Hotel
10111 Bellamy Hill Rd NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 1N7, Canada


Plan to Arrive Saturday to Attend Workshops on Sunday

The IBA conference committee has agreed to present three scientific/technical workshops for its members and conference delegates on the first day of our conference.  The intent of holding these workshops for our membership is to promote the sharing of the latest techniques, methodologies, and conservation topics that support global conservation efforts for the world’s 8 species of bears. Details of the workshops are presented here.

The space for each workshop session is limited so please register early to avoid disappointment!
The cost of each workshop will be $45.00 and not only does this include the cost of hosting the workshop but it will also include coffee breaks and lunch will be provided to all workshop participants.  This is a great deal and we have a sponsor who is underwriting the costs for the workshops. You can help support IBA and programs like these by making a donation when you register for the conference.

All workshops will be held at the Chateau Lacombe Hotel in Edmonton which is one of our two conference hotels and a short walk from the Edmonton Convention Centre which is the venue for the conference.

Workshop 1. Bear Capture and Handling Best Practices – This is a full day workshop and has a start time of 09:00 MDT
The workshop will conclude with plenty of time for attendees to walk down to the Convention Centre for our Sunday evening ice-breaker reception.

Description of Workshop:
This lecture and lab-based workshop will focus on current best practices as it relates to bear capture and handling in North America. Participants will learn about safe and effective bear capture and handling techniques, current recommendations for bear immobilization drugs and equipment, review transport procedures and common sample collection methods (ear tags, collars, DNA sampling, blood collection, etc.), and welfare standards as it relates to bear research. The lab-based portion will allow participants to have hands on experience practicing skills such as dart assembly and discharge, use of a pole syringe, simulated blood collection and other sample collection procedures.

Summary of Workshop Objectives and Goals:
• Review current and historic drug combinations used to chemically immobilize bear species
• Transport recommendations for bears
• Review bear capture equipment and techniques with an emphasis on best practices
• Sample collection, processing and storage procedures
• Knowledgeable about current standards of bear welfare during research including considerations for invasive procedures and pain control.
• How to stay safe when handling bears, discussion of human safety when handling bears including sudden arousal from anesthesia, risks of drug exposure and zoonotic disease

This workshop will be presented by two highly skilled and experienced Alberta based wildlife veterinarians:

  • Dr. Nigel Caulkett is a professor of veterinary anesthesiology who has worked to develop capture techniques and supportive care in black bears, polar bears and brown bears. He is a co-editor of two textbooks and co-author of numerous manuscripts focused on wildlife capture and handling.
  • Dr. Owen Slater is a wildlife veterinarian who has worked with 6 of the 8 species of bears found worldwide. He has worked with various agencies on bear management and research projects, with an emphasis on optimizing the health and welfare of bears during capture, handling and transport.

♦♦♦♦End Workshop 1 Summary♦♦♦♦

Workshop 2: Engagement with Indigenous knowledge in polar bear research in Canada’s north – This is a half day workshop and will start at 09:00 MDT
The workshop will conclude at noon and then attendees can have stay for the IBA workshop luncheon at the hotel and then walk down to the Convention Centre for conference registration.

Workshop Summary
This workshop will explore how Indigenous knowledge has been mobilized in polar bear research for decision-making and management in past, what approaches are being utilized currently, a discussion of how effective these approaches are, and what opportunities we may identify for improvement. We will present four recent research projects that used different methodologies to document Indigenous knowledge; one that was arts-based, another that developed an Indigenous knowledge database, a third that utilized storytelling, and one that focused on local leadership in polar bear research. Presentations will be delivered by Indigenous and non-Indigenous research partners. It is well established that Indigenous knowledge is critical for the successful management of land, water and wildlife resources, yet challenges remain in the development of ethical, respectful, and transparent mechanisms and processes to support meaningful mobilization of Indigenous knowledge in co-management processes. Indigenous knowledge consists of knowledge and experience that has been passed down through generations, as well as Indigenous beliefs about how the world works, and the values necessary to live in an ethical manner in human interactions with animals and the environment.

Our objective is to share our experiences with four recent research projects that worked with Indigenous communities to produce, document and transmit Indigenous knowledge for use in polar bear management decision-making. We will share perspectives from Indigenous partners, academics and practitioners involved in these projects, facilitate discussion and build relationships with workshop attendees. As an output we're planning an overview paper that would include a summary of what's been done to date, what methodological lessons have been learned by participants, and what questions/topics/approaches need to be considered in future. Utilizing Indigenous knowledge as effectively as possible is an iterative process in co-management, and we feel that this workshop will be a valuable contribution to this conversation.

How the workshop will be delivered:
We will begin with an overview of what methods have been used thus far and discuss efficacy, challenges and opportunities.  Then we will have 2 speakers present each of their respective research projects, including an Indigenous research partner for each, followed by a question and answer period and a group discussion. We will conclude with a group discussion sharing lessons learned thus far and opportunities for further development. We will invite collaboration on an output paper to summarize what we have explored in the workshop and how it might be applied to the advancement of respectful and effective mobilization of Indigenous knowledge in polar bear research for co-management and decision-making.

Workshop Presenters:

Indigenous Knowledge of Human-polar Bear Coexistence in Churchill, Manitoba

  • Georgina Berg: Tansi! Georgina Berg was born and raised in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada and is a Cree Elder and Knowledge Keeper in the community. She is retired after a career as a teacher but continues to offer culture and language programs locally. She has two daughters and three beautiful grandchildren. Georgina is a coresearcher on a study of Indigenous Knowledge of human-polar bear coexistence in Churchill. She looks forward to continuing to learn and explore new adventures in the upcoming journeys of her life.
  • Katharina (Kt) Miller is a PhD candidate at Carleton University specializing in social science coproduced with Indigenous knowledge holders in Arctic research. Her Master’s thesis, Indigenous Knowledge of Human-polar Bear Coexistence in Churchill, Manitoba used storytelling as a method in novel ways and built upon emerging audio-based qualitative analysis with arts-based podcast outputs. Prior to completing her MA, Kt worked with a non-profit, Polar Bears International, in a variety of capacities for over 12 years.

Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit of polar bears: a review of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board public hearings

  • Dr. Douglas Clark is an Associate Professor at the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Environment and Sustainability, where he runs the Human-Wildlife Interactions Research Group. He has 32 years of northern research and environmental management experience, with eight years of that time spent living in Arctic and Sub-Arctic communities.
  • Dr. Denis Ndeloh is the Director of the Nunavut Wildlife Management Board, where he works with a multidisciplinary team to provide technical advice to the board on the Management of Nunavut vast wildlife resources. He is also the co-chair of the Polar Bear Administrative Committee, which facilitates cooperative management of polar bear populations and helps Canada meet its polar bear conservation commitments under the Agreement on the Conservation of Polar Bears. Denis has vast experience in wildlife conservation and management in Canada and in Africa.
  • Dr. Dana Reiter is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Saskatchewan’s School of Environment and Sustainability in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. She is analyzing Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit of polar bears that has been documented to date during public hearings held by the NWMB, and considering how this analysis can yield policy-relevant insights.

The Nanuk Knowledge and Dialogue Project

  • Solomon Awa: I am Inuk, live in Iqaluit, raised at Pond Inlet, I have been living along side of Polar Bear in the Arctic. I am a harvester, study polar bear in person, and learn some of the traditional knowledge from the elders, knowledgeable people.  I am a part of the Davis Strait Working Group.

Eeyou Marine Region Polar Bear Project

  • Alexandra Langwieder is a PhD candidate at McGill University working with communities and wildlife management organizations in Eeyou Istchee (Quebec, Canada), Nunavik (Quebec, Canada), and Nunavut (Canada) to study polar bears using non-invasive and community-based approaches. Her PhD work focuses on investigating the ecology of polar bears in the Eeyou Marine Region of eastern James Bay using hair snares, camera traps, and interviews with Cree Knowledge holders in the communities of Waskaganish, Eastmain, Wemindji and Chisasibi.
  • George Natawapineskum is a Cree Trappers’ Association- Eeyou Marine Region Local Officer responsible for wildlife research and fieldwork in his community of Wemindji. In this role, George runs fieldwork studying polar bears, waterfowl, eelgrass, fish, and caribou. He also sits on the Wemindji Band Council as a councilor representing community interests related to healthcare, education, and youth initiatives.

♦♦♦♦End Workshop 2 Summary♦​​​​​​​♦​​​​​​​♦​​​​​​​♦

Workshop 3: “UnBEARable or BEARable captivity? Perspectives and solutions for wild bears entering lifetime keeping” – This is a half day workshop and will have a start time of 13:00 MST
Attendees for this workshop should arrive at the Chateau Lacombe Hotel at noon to join in the IBA Workshop luncheon which is included in your registration fee. The workshop will conclude with plenty of time for attendees to walk down to the Convention Centre for our Sunday evening ice-breaker reception.

Workshop summary
The aim of this workshop is to address the timely issue of wild problem bears coming into captivity. Our discussion will focus on the recent cases of Italian authorities forced for an option of placing problem bears at sanctuaries. This has also been exercised before and under public pressure. We would like to discuss this experience in detail including the demanding placement of such bears in captivity from the animal welfare point of view, but also keeping conditions, costs involved, and public outreach.

Facilitated discussions will be moderated by Dr. Alistair Bath (https://www.bathandassociates.ca/) Presentations will be followed by a moderated panel discussion, exchange of experiences, a conclusion with a corresponding recommendation.   

Preliminary Agenda
Part I

  1. Italian case study presented by the representative of wildlife service for Autonomous Province of Trento (Claudio Groff) and the representative of sanctuaries keeping individuals captured as problem bears (Bernd Nonnemacher).
  2. Other perspectives and examples within EU, amongst others presented by the representative of Milvus Group Bird and Nature Protection Association from Romania (Csaba Domokos).

Part II
Panel discussion with all presenters and invited representatives of wildlife managers from USA and Canada, as well as representatives of zoos and sanctuaries community. The discussion will include legislation issues behind placing wild bears in captivity.


Organizing committee:
The workshop is being organized by Koen Cuyten (Bears in Mind), Bernd Nonnemacher (Foundation for Bears) and Agnieszka Sergiel (Institute of Nature Conservation of Polish Academy of Sciences)

♦♦♦♦End Workshop 3 Summary♦♦♦♦