Who We Are

The mission of an Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) is to examine the sustainability and conservation needs of entire taxa and to develop recommendations for population management and conservation based upon the needs of the species and AZA-accredited institutions. Each TAG coordinates, facilitates, and reviews progress toward goals for its cooperative animal management and conservation programs.

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The Bear Taxon Advisory Group (TAG) supports bears around the world, through ex-situ activities, by developing sustainable population management programs, creating educational curriculum, supporting research, pioneering welfare standards, and advocating for bear conservation.


Genetic and Demographic Management

The Bear TAG will attempt to maintain genetically and demographically healthy, well-managed captive populations of bears for public education and scientific study and to generate support for in-situ conservation.


The Bear TAG will promote consistent educational messaging about bears and their plight in the wild.

Research and Conservation

The Bear TAG will maximize the conservation and research potential of captive bear populations by evaluating and prioritizing bear research projects involving the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and supporting selected bear conservation projects with Bear TAG funds.

Quality of Life

The Bear TAG promotes the well-being of bears in managed care by working with the AZA, and individual program leaders, to produce Animal Care Manuals for each of the bear species. The TAG provides support to individual AZA institutions to ensure that husbandry, exhibition, and interpretive programs:

1) Accurately portray the biology and conservation status of the species,

2) Do not require bears to behave in ways that detract from their dignity or inherent value,

3) Minimize hand-rearing and promote the development of species-typical behaviors,

4) Do not detract from the conservation of the species or welfare of the individual.