Polar Bears International

José Kok

José Kok

José Kok specialized in ethology, epidemiology, and didactics as part of her MSc in Biology. When teaching biology and science at secondary schools in the Netherlands and Zimbabwe, she realised her main aim in life: to get a conservation message across through the admiration of nature and wildlife in general. As a result, respect will (automatically) develop. After seven years of teaching and running an NGO to support development of science departments at secondary schools in Zimbabwe, she decided it was time for a new challenge: the zoo world! Since 1994 she has worked for the Department of Biology & Education at Ouwehand Zoo in Rhenen, Netherlands. Since that time on things have developed rapidly: the Bear Forest (a rescue center for former dancing Bears) was created in the Zoo, she became EAZA studbook keeper for the European Brown Bears, and later on EAZA Bear Tag co-chair. As chair of the Dutch Zoo Conservation Foundation, she learned more and more about nature conservation in general and the role of zoos and species in captivity specifically. She finds it an honour to be part of the IUCN SSC Captive Bear Expert Team and to be able to contribute to the role of captive bears for conservation and education even more. The polar bears in Ouwehand Zoo are a special scource of inspiration for the conservation and education work she tries to establish. Proud as she is to be part of one of the zoos where breeding and rearing is successful, she is dedicated to assisting other zoos to get the same results! Since 2008 she has been part of the Alertis-team. Alertis, a fund for Bear and Nature Conservation that protects bears in the wild and rescues bears in need. The invitation to become a member of European Advisory Council of PBI is not only a honour, it gives José even more tools to try and accomplish her mission in life!