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Lost bears find new life

These are just some of the bears that Langley Critter Care has been looking after. On Sept. 18, the wildlife rehabilitation organization is holding a walkathon. - SUBMITTED
These are just some of the bears that Langley Critter Care has been looking after. On Sept. 18, the wildlife rehabilitation organization is holding a walkathon.
— image credit: SUBMITTED

When three bear cubs were brought to Langley’s Critter Care last fall after being found scared and hungry in a dumpster at a Coquitlam middle school, the animals weighed approximately 40 lb. apiece.

Fast-forward nine months and the once cuddly cubs are now 180 lb. adults, healthy and strong enough to be released back into the wild in the spring.

And although Elaine Stirling and her fellow Critter Care volunteers miss the animals, she hopes to never see them again.

“The idea is to get them as far away as possible,” she told The Tri-City News. “We don’t want to see them again. If we see them, that means they are interfering with humans and we don’t want that.”

When the three bear cubs arrived at the Langley rehabilitation centre in October, they were still feeling the effects of a tranquilizer. There mother, an animal authorities deemed to habituated to humans, had been euthanized.

But the three younger bears were examined and found to be in excellent health. They were given names — Kira, Rose and Kaymona — and placed in an enclosure with two other bears, one from North Vancouver and another that was trapped in Whistler.

Stirling said Critter Care makes sure the animals are strong and fat before re-introducing them into the wild, where they will have to fend for themselves.

While the animals are expected to lose a bit of weight in the first few weeks after leaving captivity, she said it does not take long for them to re-integrate with nature.

“It is in their psyche,” she said. “They do know how to do all this stuff.”

The hope is that the bears will forage on berries and fish until their denning period begins in the winter. If the rehabilitation has been a success, the animals will not return to residential areas and never be seen again.

 

 

CRITTER FUNDRAISER

The cost of looking after the bears and getting them ready for relocation is approximately $5,000 each and Critter Care relies on donations from the public to keep its operations afloat. The organization is holding its fourth annual walkathon fundraiser and is currently seeking participants. Pre-registration is required and the closing date for entries is Sept. 18.

The cost to take part in the 5 km Walk on the Wild Side is $5 and walkers are urged to collect pledges, with prizes going to the people who collect the most money.

For more information, go to www.crittercarewildlife.org to download a registration form and pledge sheet or contact Judy at 604-857-8811 (jiidii@hotmail.com) or Cathy at 604-530-2350 (claycath@telus.net).

 

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

 

 

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