Donate to the Karelian Bear Dog Program

The KBD Program is 100% supported by private donations.

The public may donate to the Karelian Bear Dog Program, by sending check or money order to:

16018 Mill Creek Blvd
Mill Creek WA 98012

State of Washington employees may donate through the Combined Fund Drive.

Karelian Bear Dog Program


Meet the Karelian Bear Dogs

Mishka (Retired 2015)

KBD Mishka, born on March 16, 2003, worked with detachment officers from Pierce/Kitsap counties when a bear showed up in West Tacoma near the Narrows Bridge. Mishka was deployed the first day in areas around an elementary school to ensure the safety of the young people at the school. The second day, Mishka was instrumental in locating the bear in a small wooded area next to Highway 12.  He chased the bear to an area where it could be tranquilized, and then he located the bear in the dense brush after it fell asleep from the drug.

Group of people standing over black bear laying on a tarp on the ground. Karelian bear dog sniffing at bear
This bear generated a lot of media attention because it was so close to a school in Tacoma.
Group of people standing over black bear laying on a tarp on the ground while to officers adjust the bear for transport. Karelian bear dog looking at bear
Tacoma PD was on scene to help with the crowd of people while the bear was being processed for release.

Since coming to work with the Enforcement Program, Mishka has proven his value. He helped solve an elk poaching in the Olympic National Park; assisted in several school reopenings after bear- and cougar-related lockdowns; and attracted the attention of millions of viewers on TV, the internet, and newspapers, who now understand the important role WDFW Enforcement plays in keeping western Washington safe as human, bear, and cougar habitat encroach more and more on each other. Children are Mishka’s biggest fans; he has delighted thousands at outdoor events showcasing Enforcement’s KBD program. He has assisted in more than 50 bear-related captures and releases, thus becoming an “ambassador for wildlife.”

Karelian Bear dog barking at bears in culvert trap.
Mishka barking at 2 bears in the cage just before their “hard release” into the woods.

Karelian Bear dog sticking its head out the back wondow of a truck and looking at officer.
Officer Bruce Richards and Mishka getting ready to release a bear in Bremerton.

Mishka is the first Karelian bear dog in the United States to work with a wildlife enforcement officer. He is now leading and guiding the “youngsters” and watching them try to match and surpass his legacy. Thanks to the generous donations of the Seattle Puget Sound Chapter of the Safari Club International (SCI), WDFW Biologist Rocky Spencer was able to purchase Mishka from the Wind River Bear Institute in 2003. Thanks to Mishka’s success, the Enforcement Program looks forward to many more years of KBD assistance in locating and capturing problem bear and cougar.

Krealian bear dog trotting towards camera with tongue hanging out.
Mishka coming back after another successful bear release.
Karelian Bear dog sniffing black bear cub being held by officer.
Mishka showing this abandoned bear cub that it’s going to be alright!