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News & Updates

Adapting to be a super sleeper

Since August 1, the bears at the Washington State University Bear Research, Education, and Conservation Center have added around 20 percent body fat to their frames by eating voraciously. Soon, they will stop eating altogether, and settle down for a nice long rest.

Why do our researchers sometimes wear sunglasses when they work with the grizzly bears?

We can’t ask grizzly bears if they are enjoying a certain activity. That’s why we study their behaviors. Well, it turns out that they might be studying our behaviors as well.

Toys stimulate and feed WSU bears

Traffic cones, rubber tractor tires, old fire hoses, and PVC pipes. All of these are great places to hide tomatoes, apples, and oranges from bears.

More than WSU research at Bear Center

Research is the key component for the existence of the WSU Bear Research, Education, and Conservation Center. But that isn’t limited to WSU research—scientists from other institutions contribute to bear research as well.
Bear and cubs

Spring wake up: Researchers unlocking secrets of seasonal change at WSU Bear Center

Hibernation is an amazing physiological feat. During hibernation, bears’ heart rates slow dramatically. At the same time, their insulin sensitivity is virtually eliminated, a condition similar to diabetes in humans.

WSU student tackles bear of a problem

One student at Washington State University's College of Veterinary Medicine hopes the work she's doing in Pullman will influence policy change against a cruel practice happening across the world.

Key to human heart disease could lie with hibernating grizzly bears

Washington State University's Bear Center is currently looking at hibernation and how a bear can survive with a very low heart rate for an extended period of time.

Smart bears prefer Toyotas, use their claws like keys

Of the hundreds of automobiles that enter the parking lot each week at Washington State University’s Bear Research, Education, and Conservation Center, two Toyotas entice the bears like no others.

WSU’s grizzly bears lose weight on Thanksgiving?

If you think Thanksgiving dinner can pack on the pounds, consider the grizzly bears at Washington State University that eat the equivalent of three such feasts daily during the weeks leading to hibernation. After nearly doubling their weight, they take a winter-long nap – only to wake up trim and perfectly healthy in early spring.

Single hair shows researchers what a bear has been eating

U.S. and Canadian researchers have found they can get a good idea of a grizzly bear’s diet over several months by looking at a single hair. The technique, which measures residues of trace metals, can be a major tool in determining if the threatened animals are getting enough of the right foods to eat.

Chill grizzly bears, chill

Giant ice cubes and fruit-flavored ice pops helped grizzly bears beat the heat yesterday at Washington State University’s Bear Research, Education, and Conservation Center as the mercury topped 104 degrees.

Fellowship will support students studying bear behavior

A new fellowship will continue the work of a Washington State University graduate student who focused on making bears happy in captivity.

Grizzly bears use tools? WSU study underway

In a first-ever study, researchers at Washington State University are examining whether grizzly bears make and use tools. And while it’s too soon to reach a broad scientific conclusion, at least one female bear is demonstrating that, yes, she definitely can.
Grizzly bear in the wild

Plump grizzlies offer diabetes clue

Selective gene expression in stout bears helps them to maintain steady blood sugar.

A grizzly answer for obesity

Clinically speaking, about 1.5 billion people worldwide are overweight. According to the World Health Organization, more than 10 percent of the world’s adults are obese, arguably making them the largest patient population in existence.

Amgen’s research into bears may prove smarter than average on obesity

But bears do know a thing or two about weight gain, and that makes them more like people than rats whose genes are manipulated to make them obese.

WSU researchers look to find what makes grizzlies happy

Researchers at Washington State University are studying ways to make sure animals are as happy as they can be in captivity.

Fish-chucking science helps WSU researcher track nutrients through the food chain

For thousands of years, nutrient-rich salmon and steelhead spawned in the area’s streams, and their offspring swam to the ocean to feed and grow. Several years later, these same fish returned to the streams to spawn and die.

WSU researchers studying bear hibernation to narrow down a cure for diabetes

Hibernating bears do things that doctors tell humans not to do. They eat fatty foods, lay around for months on end, and get high cholesterol. Yet they don’t suffer the same ill effects we would.

Bad year for grizzlies with two fatalities in Yellowstone and 10 other attacks in the West

It's been a dangerous year in grizzly country: Two hikers lost their lives in separate maulings in Yellowstone National Park and 10 people were attacked by the majestic bears across the West. Until now, Yellowstone hadn't had a bear-related fatality since 1986.

10 lessons medicine can learn from bears

From osteoporosis to heart disease to pregnancy, there's a lot bears are teaching scientists

Bear captured at Soda Butte Campground near Cooke City, Montana

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks officials trapped a female grizzly bear and two yearling cubs that are believed to be responsible for injuring two people and killing a Grand Rapids, Michigan man in separate attacks Wednesday morning at a national forest campground near Cooke City.

A new life for Winnie

Though she’s only three, Winnie the grizzly bear has already seen some rough times. Her mother left her last year. And when hunger drove her into a Yellowstone campground, park service employees did their best to haze her and scare her off.

Are Yellowstone grizzlies effected by cutthroat trout decline?

Ever wonder what grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park really eat? If you ask Jennifer Fortin, a zoology Ph.D. student at Washington State University, she can tell you.
Grizzly bear in the wild

Yellowstone science: Grizzly bear nutrition and ecology studies in Yellowstone National Park

THE CHANCE TO SEE a wild grizzly bear is often the first or second reason people give for visiting Yellowstone National Park. Public interest in bears is closely coupled with a desire to perpetuate this wild symbol of the American West.

WSU’s Bear Center an invaluable resource for field researchers

After working with moose, caribou and other hoofed animals, Robbins settled 16 years ago on grizzly bears. And because he did, Washington State University has become an invaluable resource for field researchers.

Could grizzlies be fat and happy without salmon runs?

The clues are spelled out in 150-year-old bits of skull and skin. With the help of high-tech science, these pieces of long-dead grizzly bears reveal—almost down to the last supper—the diet of the legendary animals now virtually erased from the Pacific Northwest.