Orphaned Grizzly Bear cubs “Suzy” and “Johnny” are returning to the Wild!
The International Fund for Animal Welfare's Kim Elmslie filed this report from Northern Canada.
For the past year IFAW has been working with the Northern Lights Wildlife Society (NLWS) on a pilot project that rehabilitates and releases orphaned grizzlies back to the wild in Northern British Columbia.
In June 2007 the NLWS received their first bear cub, affectionately named Suzy. Suzy was initially seen in the wild with her mother and sibling by a local conservationist and photographer. However, the cubs were seen later without their mother – which is unusual for grizzly bears, who normally spend two and half years with their mothers (black bears leave their mothers at one and a half years of age). We suspect that Suzy’s mother was poached. To ensure that Suzy would survive she was captured and taken to NLWS to be cared for. Unfortunately her sibling was not found by rescuers.
A second orphaned grizzly bear cub, named Johnny, arrived at the NLWS in November 2007 after being rescued close to Purden Lake Province Park (outside of Prince George). Johnny’s mother had been killed by a semi-truck. He was found at the side of the highway searching for food.
Suzy and Johnny have spent the winter in a specially designed enclosure. The two grizzlies enjoy exploring with their paws. In fact everything that is put in the enclosure is thoroughly inspected by the two cubs. Johnny used his long claws to feed himself and Suzy enjoys spending time lying on her back and investigating her feet.
In the middle of July Suzy and Johnny, will be released in Northern British Columbia. The bears will be fitted with satellite collars that will track their daily movements so that we will know what the bears are doing and how they are adapting to life back in the wild.
Top photo - Suzy (c) IFAW/Peter Langen Bottom photo - Johnny (c) IFAW/Peter Langen