Two orphaned grizzly bears rescued in Canada
A week ago, we received notice from our partners at the Northern Light Wildlife Shelter (NLWS) in Canada that two orphan grizzly bear cubs were being held at a park station in Bella Coola, British Columbia. Hours before, a local Conservation Officer had discovered that a mother bear had been shot and her two offspring were now aimlessly wandering around - helpless and orphaned with no shot at survival.
Since 2007, IFAW has partnered with NLWS and the B.C. government to conduct a first-of-its-kind rehabilitation project aimed at released rescued grizzly bears back to the wild. In the summer of 2008, we released our first two grizzly bears back to the wild and the following year, another two bears were able to taste freedom once again.
Rescuing these two bears and getting them to the rehabilitation center proved much harder than previous times. Landslides had blocked roads and access to the cubs was only possible by air. At the time the weather was miserable and flying was impossible. The team anxiously waited for a break in the weather. The cubs were still doing OK but with no available food and limited staff to care for them, they would have to get to them quick!
Angelika Langen NLWS Director described her harrowing plane flight on the 7th of October:
"WE GOT THEM! Boy, what a ride that was, I was as green as a person can be. We got to Bella Coola and found SOLID cloud cover; the pilot said no way he could land. I tell you after the ordeal to get there, I was pretty defeated. So we circled a bit and all of a sudden he took
a nosedive for a small opening, my stomach went right past my ears, but I couldn't have cared less as long as we got the cubs. Elli the lady that facilitated the rescue and the Conservation Officer met us at the airport, we then went to the compound, tranquilized the bears (both boys) and up we went back to Smithers. The cubs released well into their enclosure and had a good night!"
Both bears are now undergoing rehabilitation at the IFAW-supported Grizzly enclosures at the Northern Lights Wildlife Society animal shelter. They appear to be in good body condition. The two bear cubs were named Drew and Jason after the people in Bella Coola after the Conservation Officers in Bella Coola that helped with their rescue. At the point of rescue Drew weighed in at 100lb and Jason at 82lb.
For more information visit www.ifaw.org today.