Conservation Officers are currently searching Nordic for an orphaned bear cub whose mother was shot last week for breaking into homes.
The sow left behind two cubs. The second cub was captured Tuesday morning in a live trap and has been transported to an animal rehab facility in Langley.
The sow and her cubs had a history of entering into homes in search of garbage. In fact, the three bears had broken into their second home in one hour last week when Conservation Officers and the RCMP were called to the scene. The second break in was reported by a neighbour, who also took a video of the sow in the home with the cubs.
Dave Jevons, the only Conservation Officer who attended the scene, shot the sow on location as she exited the home. He then attempted to tranquilize and capture the two cubs but was unsuccessful.
The sow was the sixth bear killed in a week in Whistler, an unusually high number for the municipality. Four bears were hit by vehicles on Highway 99, and two bears, including the Nordic sow, were destroyed by Conservation Officers after breaking into homes.
“I’ll admit it is getting pretty frustrating, with all the vehicle accidents and the bears getting killed. You know we are doing everything we can, and it is not enough,” said Sylvia Dolson from the Get Bear Smart Society.
Conservation Officers were able to capture one of the orphaned cubs Tuesday morning in a barrel traps set up last week near Nordic.
Jevons immediately transported the cub to the rehab facility in Langley called Critter Care, where the cub will spend the winter.
“When I got there, there was no sign of the other one around. So I am basically going to drop this one off, and then reset the trap, and hopefully catch the other one,” said Jevons during a phone interview on his drive to Langley Tuesday afternoon.
“We use our usual culvert type traps. But also obviously if we get up-to-date, timely sightings, and we’re able to respond, then what we’ll try is tree the cubs in a tree that is small enough, and then tranquilize them in the tree,” he said.
Conservation Officers are asking anyone who sees the other cub wandering Nordic to report it as soon as possible.
“The more timely the information we get, the better we are able to respond and potentially capture and transport to critter care,” said Jevons.
Dolson said that while the cub may be too young to survive on its own, it is not impossible.
Dolson warned, however, that there is only so much space in the rehab facilities.
“They are all facing pressure, and Critter Care is almost full. I mean they could fill up in a couple of days. I spoke with them to find out if they had space for these two and she’s like, ‘Well I do today. How quickly can you bring them down?’” said Dolson.
According to Christi Luke, a supervisor at Critter Care, the facility currently has five bears, including the Whistler cub that arrived Tuesday. She added that the most the facility has ever housed at one time is eight bears.
Luke said that the biggest barrier to housing more bears is staffing. While the facility does have the space to house about 12 bears, such high volume would really stretch out the staff’s resources.
A rehab centre on Vancouver Island is also facing pressure. With four bear cubs and one permanent bear resident, the facility is full, and three cubs have already been euthanized this year due to lack of space. However, the centre’s staff has plans to expand the facility to accommodate more bears.
To report a bear sighting, call Conservation Officers at 604 905-BEAR ext 1.