Bears are among the most fascinating animals on our planet. They long since have played an important role in the mysticism of ancient cultures and even today bears arouse strong emotions – both positive and negative. Their survival and gradual return to their previous range in several parts of Europe has caused concerns, conflicts and legal issues. On other continents, too, bears have come into conflict with the interests of men, and, as a result, the long-term survival of bears is threatened by fear, hunting, poaching and habitat loss.
In light of this critical global situation for bears, two Bernese institutions, the Tierpark Bern and the Natural History Museum, organised the International Bear Meeting (IBEAR) in 2014. The aim was to bring together people interested in different aspects of the evolution, conservation and husbandry of bears. The lectures covered various issues, ranging from the phylogeny of bears to the history of bear keeping in Bern. In this conference proceeding, the vast majority of the IBEAR speakers summarise their presentations.