Orphaned Grizzly Cubs Released Into Wild

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Last fall four grizzly cubs were orphaned, in separate accidents in the Bella Coola Valley of British Columbia. The orphaned cubs were sent to Northern Light Wildlife Society in Smithers, and rehabilitated over the past 7 months. This was part of a government-backed pilot project supporting the rehabilitation and release of orphaned grizzly bears. The International Fund for Animal Welfare is also involved with the project. This is the third release that the project is responsible for. The best place for grizzlies is in the wild.

The cubs were sedated, examined, and then the journey began. It was a 12 hour drive for the animals in the back of a truck to Bella Coola. Then the cubs were airlifted by helicopter and released at 2 different locations at Owikeno Lake.

The release was bittersweet for the workers at Northern Light Wildlife Society, but they are rooting for the bears. From the Times Colonist.


groovy mike's picture

I'll be looking forward to hearing updates!

Yep I agree, its good that wild critters get returned to the wild.  After all - that's teh way it is supposed to be!  It will be interesting to see how they do on their own as time goes by.  I'll be looking forward to hearing updates!

arrowflipper's picture

warms my heart

Incidences like these "warm my heart".  It is good to read about how an animal or several of them have been rescued and placed back into their natural environment.

It would be interesting to know how they became orphaned, even though that doesn't really matter.  A question I would ask is if any of them were siblings.  And if so, were the siblings placed in the wild together?  I don't know much about grizzly bears, but I would think placing siblings together would up their chances of survival.

Another thing the article didn't mention was how the bears were "rehabilitated".  What has to be done to get a cub ready to the wild?  Did they wait until they were older or did they actually have to "rehabilitate" them in some way? 

I would assume all of the cubs had radio collars when released.  It would be a good way to track them and find out if they made it or not.  I know of a study done by Washington State University that follows a couple of female cougars that were released into the wild.  They are followed and when they stop for a sizable period of time (like a couple of days), researchers go out to see what they were doing.  Most of the time, they find a killed deer that the cat had taken and was eating.  On one occasion, a cougar named Jane, killed and ate a deer within two hundred yards of my sister's home.

I applaud this organization for doing what they do for and with wild animals.