'BEARWELL': Science & Research


A scientific protocol to assess and ensure the best welfare for brown bears

FOUR PAWS aims to provide a good life to rescued bears, by ensuring it adheres to the highest welfare standards. Because welfare is a volatile and multifaceted state experienced by the animal, measuring the quality of life of an individual requires an all-encompassing assessment of the animal’s health, behaviour and its environment. Welfare assessment protocols that take into account both resource-based and animal-based measures have been developed for farm animals and have recently started to be developed for wild animals.  

Assessment of ANIMAL

The scientific evaluation of the well-being of brown bears in human care

To date, there is no scientifically validated protocol to assess the welfare of brown bears under human care. The BearWell project objective is to develop a protocol for the welfare assessment of brown bears. This will be initially used to ensure the highest welfare standards for the bears housed in FOUR PAWS sanctuaries and will also be available as a validated tool for the scientific community to apply in other brown bear keeping systems. The three-year project is conducted by the FOUR PAWS Science Unit in collaboration with an external scientist (Marlene Kirchner) and will involve the preparation, testing and scientific validation of the assessment protocol.