Baby bear orphans rescued

Hunter who shot mother helps save the cubs

Twin bear cubs were brought to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre last Saturday after their mother was shot by a hunter.

The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre (NIWRA) is caring for two more baby bear cubs, after their mother was shot and killed in the Campbell River area by a hunter last week.

Although it is illegal to shoot a mother bear with cubs, assistant manager with NIWRA, Julie Mackey, said this hunter didn’t realize the bear had cubs.

“He observed her for quite some time and saw no sign of cubs, it wasn’t until he finished preparing the body to leave that he heard a noise and walked over and discovered there was a couple of cubs. It was an honest mistake.” 

The hunter contacted the conservation office in Campbell River who then brought the bear cubs over to the centre last Saturday. Mackey said it took three days for conservation officers to get the twin cubs, who were up in a tree, and they arrived hungry and a bit dehydrated.

“They were definitely very weak and hungry when they got to us,” she said, “but they are feeding well and seem to be doing much, much better.”

The bears will stay at the centre for about 18 months, the length of time they would have stayed with their mother in the wild, before being released. 

NIWRA now has 10 bear cubs to care for, plus their resident adult bear, the other eight cubs brought in last year starting in September.

Most of the bear cubs brought in last year will be released this year, Mackey said, in early or late summer. Caring for bear cubs is expensive work, costing about $40 a day for food, vitamins and materials, Mackey said. 

If people would like to donate to the NIWRA they can do so at the centre or online. A campaign to raise money for the new bear building is currently happening, where residents can purchase a brick or more for $4.50 each.

“It helps us to purchase the supplies to build the new bear building which we will definitely need this year,” said Mackey, adding it will be part of the nursery to house the younger cubs before they go over to the bigger bear enclosure.

NIWRA is located at 1240 Leffler Rd. in Errington.

For more information visit or call 250-248-8534.


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