Wind River Bear Institute

Our passionate roots

This has long been the home of the Wind River Bear Institute and its famous Karelian Bear Dogs, featured on Animal Planet and National Geographic. We utilize the amazing skills learned from this successful program to teach, encourage, nourish, respect and love your dogs. Learn more about our unique wildlife program at

Our Wind River Bear Institute mission, with the effective training and use of Karelian Bear Dogs, is to reduce human-caused bear mortality and conflicts worldwide to ensure the continued survival of all species of bears for future generations.

Our work is founded on a simple but groundbreaking approach: We teach both bears and humans correct behaviors to reduce conflicts.

WRBI has been successful in working to save black and grizzly bears since 1996. Through our Partners-In-Life ® and Wind River Karelian Bear Dogs ® Programs, we provide Bear Shepherding, ® the only alternative currently available to save problem bears from relocation and almost certain eventual destruction.

Bear Shepherding involves teaching bears to recognize and avoid humans and our boundaries while educating people on bear conflict prevention. Since Wind River’s beginning in 1996, our efforts have met with stunning success! We hope that our work will serve as a template for work with other species.

WRBI offers on-site consultation and courses for bear managers, private groups and individuals in Bear Shepherding, conflict prevention and Karelian Bear Dogs (KBD) training and handling. We also maintain breeding and training facilities for KBDs to teach responsible, safe and effective handling of KBDs.

Wind River Bear Institute is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. We rely on the generous support of private wildlife organizations, corporations, and individuals who believe in the value of our work. We are glad that you stopped in to visit to our site and we hope you will join us in our efforts to save wild bears, and contact us if you need more information.

An Introduction to Karelian Bear Dogs:
Pedigreed Pepper Spray?
Handguns that heel?
Bear Bells with a bark?

Specially trained Karelian Bear Dogs are used in combination with aversive conditioning tools and structured learning situations to teach bears to recognize and avoid human territory. Carrie Hunt’s Bear Shepherding techniques are an innovative combination of animal-to-animal communication using Bear Dogs and human-to-bear communication. Using her knowledge of bear behavior, Hunt structures learning experiences that a bear can absorb and retain.

Karelian Bear Dogs are a key element to the success of these techniques. Long used as hardy hunting dogs in northern Europe the KBD is intelligent, fearless and full of boundless energy. Taking on the role of conservationist, the highly adaptable KBD is a perfect partner in the work being conducted by the Wind River Bear Institute.

Wind River Karelian Bear Dogs

Support a Cause

Your business, contributions, and involvement all help support the mission our organization is working towards.

WRBI Mission

Our WRBI mission is to reduce human-caused bear mortality and conflicts worldwide to ensure the continued survival of all species of bears for future generations.

Foster a Passion

We are passionate about making animals a prominent part of each of our lives because they add to it.


Believe in your ability to change communication so that you can improve your own life and the lives of those around you, including our furry friends.

Help out.

Please show your commitment to using non-lethal methods to reduce human bear conflict!