Remember the bear cub that was taken from a tree in the Village of Port Alice back in December and sent to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre?
Well, according to the wildlife centre’s Animal Care Supervisor Derek Downes, the cub is a one-year-old male named “Alice” and is a good candidate for rehabilitation.
“The cub is doing great and is actually in a group now with three other cubs that were rescued through the end of the year,” Downes said, adding that all four cubs that were rescued were quite small so they ended up being grouped together, “and they are all packing on good body mass, just really thriving, and should have absolutely no issues come release time in the spring.”
So what exactly goes into rehabilitating a bear cub?
Downes said some cubs are so small when they arrive at the wildlife centre that they have to be syringe fed and then transferred to eating out of a bowl as soon as they can. The centre does a full veterinarian examination and a behavioural assessment, which is really paramount “because the cubs need to be wild still,” said Downes, who added that “luckily all four of these cubs are very fearful of people and are showing good avoidance, otherwise they wouldn’t make good candidates for rehabilitation.”
The wildlife centre actually uses three different enclosures to help bear cubs thrive in various stages of rehabilitation, and there is as little contact with the cubs as possible during the process to ensure they don’t become accustomed to people.
As for releasing the bear cubs back into the wild, the wildlife centre tries their best to release the cubs as close to where they were captured as possible into an undisclosed area.
The centre is currently rehabilitating five bear cubs all from the island and all of them are reportedly thriving.