In 2006, Barbara Murray established BEARS MATTER LTD. www.bearsmatter.com with the primary purpose of helping bears in British Columbia but the more she learned about bears the clearer it became that the need to help is global. Therefore, Barb is expanding her help to include bears in need around the world.
Based in Nanoose Bay, Vancouver Island, Barb is Bears Matter chief volunteer and fundraiser for this non-profit operation which campaigns to educate, sponsor events and raise funds for targeted organizations around the world that help bears. Her focus never waivers, however, from bears here at home that are challenged by dwindling habitat and more importantly by trophy hunting of bears.
Bears Matter focuses on the protection of all eight species of bears in the world. In 2006, Barb launched her website followed by a Bears Matter facebook page in 2008 to support bear conservation . Annual fundraising efforts raise money for conservation organizations that target endangered bear species and three bear rehabilitation centres right here in British Columbia to give injured and orphaned animals a second chance.
The Christmas sale of Warm Buddies is always a popular fund raiser as the bear themed products are absolutely unique. The variety of plush animals not only make you smile but they can be heated or cooled for therapeutic purposes.
ALL profits from the annual Christmas sale of Warm Buddies this 2012 season will be split between seven organizations Bears Matter has been supporting over the years in their work to educate, protect species, rehabilitate orphan cubs and conserve bear habitat. Working in partnership with the Warm Buddy Company,www.warmbuddy.com, Bears Matter has raised approximately $40,000 over the last six Christmas seasons. In 2004, Barb organized a Teddy Bear sale which raised $12,000 directly for bear rehabilitation and the North Shore Black Bear Network. All Warm Buddy products are HST exempt as Bears Matter sales are under $30,000.
This year Barb is very excited to announce that Bears Matter is partnering with the business of Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut to host her fundraiser and customers can include delicious gifts of exquisite handmade chocolates along with luxurious Warm UP Teddy Bears and Bear Paw Mitts. The perfect Christmas gift – something chocolate and something soft and warm.
Bears should and do MATTER to ALL of us. That’s why our mission at Bears Matter Ltd. Is to help conserve all species of wild bear populations. How? By providing both a forum and funding for specific bear conservation issues around the world. It is vital to foster a better understanding of bear behaviour and the necessity to preserve bear habitat because bears need our help around the globe, not just here in BC. Through her Blog and campaign Alerts Barb looks forward to encouraging and sharing new research and objectives in the field of bear conservation with wildlife practitioners, stakeholders and the general public.
It is our goal to bring bear protection campaigns and corresponding action alerts to people sharing our love for our wild and urban bears in order to foster a better understanding of what bears need to survive in this ever changing world. Bears are important to our culture, society, economy, spirituality and ecology not only in Canada but around the world. Bears are highly evolved, intelligent and sentient beings that are a critical part of the natural world in which we all live. Our goal is to persuade governing decision makers of this fact and thereby help them draft and adopt appropriate wildlife policies and practises that reflect the value of bears and their natural habitat. By so doing, we hope to raise a public awareness and respect for our dwindling wilderness and the wildlife within it.
At Bears Matter Ltd., our goal is to see a significant reduction in the number of human-bear interactions and conflicts during the coming decade with the hope that this will reduce the need to kill, relocate and manage bears.
The reason we support rehabilitation of any wild orphan bear species as the preferred option for injured or orphaned cubs is that the conservation of individual bears aids research and furthers education. It helps a young bear face the challenges that life alone brings in the wilderness. It is the right thing to do.
The reason we have expanded our efforts to take in the world beyond British Columbia is that seven of the known eight species of bears are under extreme threat. They need our help. It is the right thing to do.
Helping bears is a very rewarding experience and always be a part of who I am. It is my wish that more and more people will lend their voice and a helping hand to keep all eight species of bears in the world viable and wild for many, many years to come.
ORGANIZATIONS SUPPORTED BY BEARS MATTER IN 2012
Bear Rehabilitators in British Columbia:
Support 2 Bear species: American Black Bear including BC’s Spirit Bear or Kermode and the North American Grizzly Bear.
- Critter Care Wildlife Society: (Langley, BC) www.crittercarewildlife.org – CCWS provides short and long term care for native mammal species. Through critical rehabilitation and public education CCWS helps to prevent suffering of injured and orphaned wildlife in need of a second chance.
- Northern Lights Wildlife Society: (Smithers, BC) www.wildlifeshelter.com – Though all mammals and birds are accepted, this Smithers shelter is mostly known as a rehab facility for bears (black, spirit and grizzly), moose and deer. Their official grizzly bear rehab project began in 2007/08).
- North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre: (Vancouver Island, BC) www.niwra.org : NIWRA has developed expertise dealing with wildlife needs as a result of oil spills and has extensive educational programs open to the public. It is known for wildlife rehabilitation and especially short term rehabilitation of bears, wolves and cougars.
Conservation of Endangered Bear Species and Rescue Organizations
Asiatic or Moon Black Bear, Borneo Sun Bear and Spectacled Bear of Peru
- Animals Asia www.animalsasia.org – this Bear farm rescue organization works in China and Vietnam to save the Asiatic Moon bear from this horrible situation. Animals Asia only has outreach in BC through Bears Matter.
- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre www.sunbears.wildlifedirect.org – strives to save Sun Bears which are the smallest bear in the world which struggles to survive due to not only habitat loss and forest degradation but also illegal hunting for food, medicines & to prevent crop damage. Sun Bear cubs also face poaching for the ugly international pet trade.
- Spectacled Bear Conservation (Peru) www.spectacledbearconservation.com – The goal of Spectacled Bear Conservation (SBC) is the conservation of the Spectacled bear in the dry forest habitat of northern Peru through scientific research and education. SBC works collaboratively with private land owners and rural communities. The founder and researcher is Ms. Robyn Appleton from Squamish, BC.
BC Conservation Organizations
Working to protect bear habitat and increase educational efforts to raise public awareness in order to stop the Trophy hunt of Grizzly Bears and Trophy Black Bears-some of the black bears killed in the twice yearly hunt may be carriers of the recessive gene necessary to producing Kermode or Spirit Bears.
- Pacific Wild www.pacificwild.org – Ian and Karen McAllister, co-founders of Pacific Wild, are dedicated to the preservation of the Great Bear Rainforest. This ultimate non-profit organization is known for campaign initiatives to save the forest and the wildlife within it that are based on detailed scientific research and information. Rich in information and presented with Ian’s beautiful photography brings the forest to people around the world.