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Knowing individual bears
chapterposted on 18.02.2020, 00:00 by Owen NevinOwen Nevin, I Convery, J Kitchin
Knowing individuals is important. It is hard to think of a more open-ended truism with which to start a chapter on knowing individual bears, but for behavioural ecologists, it is not only important, it is essential. As Barrie Gilbert notes in the foreword to this volume, the consequences of 'not knowing' individual bears and/or 'their place' can be serious. Whether that knowledge of individuals is applied in the academic pursuit of ethology (the study of behaviour in wild animals), as a naturalist guide within the ecotourism industry or to improve husbandry in an agricultural setting, including bear farming for bile across China and southeast Asia (see Chapter 8, this volume), it draws on a deep history and heritage. In this chapter, we outline the history and trajectory of bear identification and in doing so reflect on antecedents of human/ other animal relations that span millennia.