Else M. B. Poulsen
Positions: Core Group, Taxon Advisory Group Chair
Else began her career in animal behavior in the early 1980s working
as a field biologist in Alberta’s oil patch. When the bottom dropped out of the
energy industry she took what was supposed to be a temporary job as a zookeeper at the Calgary Zoo which instead ignited a life long passion for bear
conservation and behavior.
After 18 years at the Calgary Zoo she left to work at the Detroit Zoo and then
at a specialist bear facility in Canada. Over the years, she has provided
expert assistance and advice about modernizing bear husbandry methods,
environmental enrichment programming and enclosure design issues to zoos,
sanctuaries and animal welfare groups around the world.
During her now 25 year zoo keeping career Else has raised
bears, comforted bears, taught bears, learned from bears, has had bears
communicate their needs to her, nursed bears back to health, been bitten by
bears, and has had benevolent acts bestowed upon her by bears. As a result she
has authored the book Smiling Bears - A Zookeeper Explores the Behavior and
Emotional Life of Bears released in 2009.
Through her business Behavioral & Environmental Solutions, Else now
consults as an animal behavior and captive environment trouble-shooter to zoos
and animal welfare organizations around the world which
has taken her from North America to Indonesia, Singapore, China, and Europe.
She is published in scientific, trade journals and the media. Else has spoken
to hundreds of audiences as diverse as school children and university students
to First Nations Band Council members in northern Canada, both personally and
through the media on bear behavior and conservation.
She is the founding president of The
Bear Care Group - an international, non-profit organization whose purpose
is to provide venues for bear care professionals to share research, information
and resources to better captive bear care in zoos, sanctuaries and
to Who We Are