Knowledge Board

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   If you want to be the best, you can’t do it alone. The Polar Bear Habitat draws knowledge from the experts in all genres through our Advisory Council, a short list of leading Polar Bear Care Institutions, our accrediting institution, the Canadian Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Manitoba Conservation, the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre, the Species Survival Plan, Polar Bears International and the IUCN’s Polar Bear Specialist Group.

Andrew E. Derocher

   Dr. Andrew E. Derocher is a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He holds a B.S. in Forest Biology (Hon.) from the University of British Columbia (1983), a M.Sc. in Zoology from the University of Alberta (1987), and a Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Alberta (1991). After graduating he worked with Environment Canada and then was the polar bear research scientist at the Norwegian Polar Institute (1996-2002) before returning to Canada to his current position. He was the past-chairman of the PBSG and a member since 1996. His field research over the past 30 years has included polar bears in the Canadian Arctic, western Russia, and Svalbard. Dr. Derocher has authored or co-authored well over 100 peer reviewed papers on the limiting and regulating factors of polar bear populations, habitat use, effects of harvest, behaviour, predator-prey relationships, ecotoxicology, and the effects of climate change. He is the author of Polar Bears: A Complete Guide to their Biology and Behavior published in 2012 by Johns Hopkins University Press.

Greg Thiemann

   Dr. Gregory Thiemann is a Professor of Environmental Studies at York University in Toronto, Canada. He received his B.Sc. (Hons) from McMaster University (1997) and M.Sc. (1999) and Ph.D. (2006) degrees from Dalhousie University. His doctoral research used lipid biomarkers to examine the diets and predator-prey interactions of polar bears and marine mammals across the Canadian Arctic. After graduating, he held a Killam Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Alberta where he studied polar bear habitat use, the effects of chemical immobilization, and the application of ecological data to polar bear conservation policy. In 2008, he joined York University where his research continues to focus on polar bear ecology and conservation, Arctic marine food web dynamics, and community-based monitoring of Arctic marine mammals. He has been a member of the PBSG since 2008.

Amy Cutting

   Amy Cutting is the Animal Curator, Great Northwest and Marine Life, of the Oregon Zoo of Portland, USA. Amy has her MA, Human and Animal Cognition from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, with her thesis topic being the Memory of Self-Selected Behaviours in the Bottle-nosed Dolphin. Cutting is currently on the Advisory Council for Polar Bears International and previously chaired their Sustainability Alliance. The Sustainability Alliance works internationally to help polar bears as the sea ice drives them ashore, including working with coastal arctic communities to reduce human-bear conflicts and laying the groundwork to assist compromised polar bears in need of care. Amy currently sits on the American Zoological Association’s Polar Bear Species Survival Plan Steering Committee. Amy’s training of polar bears to allow voluntary medical procedures such as blood draws and information gathering has gained world-wide recognition.

JoAnne Simerson

   JoAnne Simerson has pioneered behavior management techniques with the polar bears at the San Diego Zoo, training them to participate in studies that test hearing range and estrus cycles. These studies provide scientists with valuable information and are intellectually stimulating to bears, helping prevent stereotypic behavior. In addition to assisting us, JoAnne is in demand consulting on polar bears at other facilities around the world, is on the PBI Sustainability Alliance, Polar Bear Well-being Committee and spearhead’s their Field Ambassador program in Churchill, Manitoba.

Bill Watkins

   A Biodiversity Conservation Zoologist with Manitoba Sustainable Development, Bill coordinated the policy initiative that resulted in Manitoba’s Polar Bear Protection Act and has worked with zoos in North America on a volunteer basis to help implement the high standards of care set by the province of Manitoba in their captive polar bear regulations.  Bill is the official department liaison with CAZA and other zoo organizations and is the government member of the Leatherdale International Polar Bear Conservation Centre Advisory Committee.

knowledge board

   Polar Bears International’s mission is to conserve polar bears and the sea ice they depend on. We also work to inspire people to care about the Arctic and its connection to our global climate.

knowledge board

   Founded in 1975, Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) is a private charitable organization representing the country’s leading zoological parks and aquariums. CAZA is committed to the advancement of accredited zoos and aquariums as humane agencies of animal welfare, conservation, science and education.

knowledge board

   The Association of Zoos & Aquariums provides its members with the services, high standards, best practices, and program coordination to be leaders in animal welfare, public engagement, and the conservation of species.