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Smiling Bears

A Zookeeper Explores the Behavior and Emotional Life of Bears

Regular price $29.95 CAD
  • ISBN: 9781553653875
  • Tags: Else Poulsen, Nature & Environment, Stephen Herrero,
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Published On: 2/23/2009
  • 272 Pages
  • ISBN: 9781553658054
  • Tags: Else Poulsen, Nature & Environment, Stephen Herrero,
  • Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
  • Published On: 4/18/2011
  • 264 Pages

In this "engaging and accessible animal memoir" (Winnipeg Free Press), award-winning zookeeper and researcher on animal welfare Else Poulsen brings the plight of bears to a wide audience and reveals "fresh insights into bear behaviour and psychology" (Globe & Mail). Also available in hardcover.

Else Poulsen has worked at the Calgary and Detroit zoos and is known internationally for her work rehabilitating bears. In 2000 she won the Zookeeper Excellence Award for bear research from the American Zoo and Aquarium Association. She lives in southern Ontario and works with zoos and other animal welfare organizations as an animal behavior specialist. Else is the author of Smiling Bears.

Stephen Herrero is a Canadian doctor of animal behaviour and ecology, and was a professor at University of Calgary. He is the author of Bear Attacks: Their Causes and Avoidance.


"Smiling Bears . . . [is] the story of some of the most memorable bears she's known, and her own struggle to understand their complex inner lives and mysterious behavior - from their solitary pacing to their unbridled smiles . . . Poulsen doesn't hesitate to discuss bear emotions and reasoning, delving into that taboo area of anthropomorphism." -North Shore News

"Smiling Bears . . . includes humorous and heartbreaking stories about bears." -Pique News Magazine

"Else Poulsen is in fact someone who knows bears . . . Poulsen's book is informed, intelligent, and imbued with a love of bears." -Halifax Sunday Herald

"Poulsen's patience and dedication to her animal wards come out clearly in this, her first book. There's no wandering off the trail for her. Her focus is narrow and her message is precise: bears need our help. The information she shares with us is fascinating." -Quill & Quire

"For Poulsen, the suffering of bears is no laughing matter, even if her new book is called Smiling Bears." -Calgary Herald

"Of each ursine inmate she encounters, Poulsen asks, 'Who are you and what can I do for you?' Eventually, each bear reveals its unique character and particular needs, resulting in fresh insights into bear behavior and psychology." -Globe & Mail

"The book looks at ways to enrich the lives of captive bears from the individual bears' perception . . . The bears in the book are looked at far beyond the typical five or ten minute training sessions given at most zoos." -Animal Keeper's Forum

"The book provides extraordinary detail, as well as fascinating vignettes, about some of the bears Poulsen has been associated with, many of which were rescued from deplorable circuses and roadside zoos. One charming story has her feeding Halls to an 800-pound grizzly with a bad cold." -Toronto Star

"This richly detailed book reveals many insights into the hearts and minds of bears." -Prairie Books Now

"Unlike other bear observers, Poulsen connected with bears on their terms instead of human terms." -Federal News Service

"An engaging and accessible animal memoir." -Winnipeg Free Press