Bear Awareness Week

From Yogi to Smokey to Teddy, few animals are as beloved as America’s bears. And few animals are as misunderstood.

All three of North America's bear species - the polar bear, grizzly bear and American black bear - are threatened by habitat loss and human-caused mortality. Bear Awareness Week (the third week in May) is a time to recognize how vital these large mammals are to the ecosystems in which they live, and how important it is to protect their habitat.

Use the links below to learn about these wonderful animals, the role they play in ecosystems, the work we do to protect them, and what you can to do help.

Black Bear, © Mark Bennett

Learn about Black Bears

Grizzly Bear, © Karen Willes

Learn about Grizzly Bears

Polar bear, © Tom Schneider

Learn about Polar Bears

Bears have been a vital part of the North American landscape for thousands of years, and protecting them is everyone's responsibility.

Do You Know Your Bears?
How much do you know about these threatened large mammals? Take our bear quiz and find out!

Living in Bear Country
If you live in bear country, there are some simple, common-sense steps you can take to keep bears away from your property and out of trouble. With so many bears killed or relocated each year because of conflicts with humans, you can make a real difference just by changing some basic practices and sharing what you learn with others in your area.

Got Grizzlies?
Defenders works with landowners who live in bear country to limit conflicts by providing tools to keep these still-recovering bears out of garbage, livestock, or other attractants. If you live in an eligible county and would like help with bear-proofing, learn more about this program here >>

Sea Bear Under Siege: Polar Bears and Climate Change in Alaska
With climate change transforming their habitat and impacting their prey species, polar bears are in serious need of help. Learn more in Defenders’ comprehensive report about the threats these bears face and the steps that we can take to secure their future.
Read the Report >>


You may also be interested in:

Habitat Conservation
For all its unique beauty, the Arctic Refuge is under assault. The oil industry and its political allies continue to launch attacks to open this national treasure to destructive oil and gas drilling, while climate change threatens to disrupt its habitats faster than wildlife can adapt.
Defenders in Action
Bears die when they get into trouble with people’s garbage, livestock, when they are hit by cars and trains or illegally killed. By preventing these conflicts we can keep bears alive and on the road to recovery.
In the Magazine
Defenders has long worked to make residents in the West and Alaska more bear aware.