Animals Asia Foundation (www.animalsasia.org) founder and CEO Jill Robinson will be the keynote speaker from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Friday, August 24 during the BIERZS 2007 conference at the Shilo Suites Hotel, 3101 Temple Ave. in Pomona, Calif. More than 75 bear keepers and bear caregivers from zoos, rehabilitation facilities and sanctuaries will attend. BIERZS 2007 www.bearkeepers.net stands for Bear Information Exchange for Rehabilitators, Zoos, and Sanctuaries.

The three-day conference, hosted by Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Veterinary Medicine, starts Friday and ends Sunday. It includes a visit to the Los Angeles Zoo and the Moonridge Animal Park in Big Bear, and a Saturday morning welcoming session and conference modules on the Western University campus.

BIERZS 2007 brings together organizations that have different philosophies but one common factor – the desire to improve bear care, said Else Poulsen, co-chairwoman of BIERZS 2007.

"We’re very excited that Western University offered to be the host of this first conference," Poulsen said. "It has allowed us access to some really nice first-class facilities like Moonridge Animal Park."

"Our only philosophy is to build bridges of communication between zoos, sanctuaries and rehabilitation facilities for bear care," she said. "It’s just about setting up a forum, a safe place to talk to other folks going through the same thing you’re going through in terms of your bears."