Wildlife experts from several countries will assemble in New Delhi on Monday to discuss the opportunities and challenges of conservation of bears.
The International Conference on Bear Research and Management (IBA), being held for the first time in India, is the largest conference focused on conservation and research of all eight bear species found in the world.
The conference is held alternately in the Americas and Eurasia on an 18-month rotation.
Officials said bear experts from 35 countries will present their latest research findings on the animal at the conference being hosted by the Union Environment Ministry in collaboration with the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Central Zoo Authority and Wildlife Trust of India (WTI).
The conference will provide opportunities to share learnings and build collaborations for conservation and welfare of all species of bears found worldwide, they said. "India is unique in having four of the eight species of bears in the world," said S Sathyakumar, scientist, WII.
"With this conference, a new chapter has been initiated in Indian wildlife conservation. Not just are we hosting an international conference on bears for the first time in south Asia, this also brings a much-needed action plan and focus for similar other species in addition to our popular flagships," he said.
About 180 research papers will be presented during the five-day conference.
The participants include 350-400 persons including members of the International Association for Bear Research and Management, IUCN-SSC Bear Specialist Group, bear experts, field researchers, students and managers of bear populations and habitats.
"There is so much research being done on bears across the world. The IBA conferences provide a platform for the researchers to share their findings, so that these can be put into use to save bears," said Vivek Menon, Executive Director, WTI.