Bill & Eva Williams Bear Habitat
The Baylor University Bear Program is committed to providing excellent care for Baylor's bears and serving the larger community by presenting unique educational experiences on American black bears. - Bear Program Mission Statement
The Bill & Eva Williams Bear Habitat is fully accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the independent, international accrediting organization for the best zoos and aquariums. Baylor University became the first university in the world to receive this designation and joins the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo in Gainesville, Florida, as the only AZA-accredited zoos on higher education campuses. The Bear Habitat holds additional licenses and oversight from the United States Department of Agriculture as a Class C Zoo and Texas Parks & Wildlife. The USDA license is renewed annually based on adherence to standards of care and facility maintenance, demonstrated during random and rigorous inspections by the USDA.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
The care and stewardship of live bears at Baylor dates back over 100 years, when the first bear arrived on campus in 1917. In 1940, the Baylor Chamber of Commerce was entrusted with the care of the Bear Habitat and its bears. Today, the Bear Habitat, comprised of student leaders from within Chamber, is responsible for the comprehensive care of our beloved live bears.
The Bear Committee and Lead Team provide the best care available to Baylor's bears, which includes in-depth meal planning with nutrition specialists; feedings twice a day, every day of the year; cleaning the habitat regularly; facilitating additional weekly off-site enrichment, training and exercise; developing educational curriculum, trainings and site visits for community engagement and education; providing general maintenance and upkeep of the Bill & Eva Williams Bear Habitat; and monitoring and ensuring the overall health and well-being of the bears. These students are professionally mentored and trained by animal care experts each year.
It’s hard to measure the deep meaning these bears have to the Baylor community. With hundreds of visitors a day to the Bill & Eva Williams Bear Habitat, Baylor's bears are offered gold-standard care and are some of the most beloved members of the Baylor Family. Generations of Baylor students and families are connected through the simple routine of taking a detour to walk through the Habitat walkway on the way to class or always fitting a stop by the Habitat into the schedule for a campus visit. The tradition of students caring deeply for one of the University’s most precious icons - and partnering with the community in ways to educate and engage - is a fitting illustration of what the Baylor experience is all about.
Baylor students, school groups and campus visitors frequently visit the Bill & Eva Williams Bear Habitat, a facility heralded as one of the most visited spots on campus. The Habitat welcomes an estimated 250,000 visitors per year, including over 5,000 children visiting on educational trips for schools, camps and other groups.
With guiding pillars of stewardship, education and conservation, the Bear Habitat has established specific conservation plans and involvement in conservation programs that include efforts showing evidence of direct and measurable impact on animals and habitats in the wild, taking the next step forward in promoting resource conservation.