A malnourished black bear cub hitched a ride from Whistler to Squamish this week and has ended up at Critter Care in Langley.
The cub-of-the-year, named Candy, was seen by conservation officers at the former Whistler landfill site on Monday, Dec. 18. The cub and its mother, which had apparently abandoned it, are among several bears in the Whistler area that have not gone into hibernation because unnatural food sources are still available to them.
Candy had been previously identified by conservation officers and was wearing an ear tag.
On Tuesday the conservation office received a call about a bear cub wandering in the Squamish Industrial Park. The young bear was tranquilized and identified as the same cub that had been seen in Whistler the day before.
Conservation officer Dave Jevons said it appears Candy hitched a ride in a truck.
“There’s no way a young cub like that could make it from Whistler to Squamish in a day, not in the condition it was in,” Jevons said.
“To find it in Squamish was quite a surprise.”
It’s believed the cub was inside a garbage bin that was transported from Whistler to Squamish.
“No one saw the cub leave a vehicle in Squamish,” Jevons said, “but that’s the only explanation.”
The female cub did not appear to have any injuries but Jevons said she was underweight and malnourished.
Candy was transported to Critter Care Wildlife Society, an animal rehabilitation facility in the Fraser Valley, where she will be nursed back to health and released in the spring.
Judy Poel, a caretaker at Critter Care, said Candy was doing fine Thursday morning.
“There’s a feel-good side to the story but there’s also frustration,” Jevons said.
The frustration comes from the fact people are still making garbage and un-natural food sources available to bears, and those food sources are keeping bears from hibernating.
“It’s still critical that people control their garbage,” Jevons said. “As long as food is available the bears will stay out.”
He added that the cub and its mother had been seen feeding at the landfill and the recycling shed at the landfill for the last couple of months.
Critter Care is run by volunteers and the society relies on donations, memberships and grants for funding. Funds and donations will be needed for Candy’s food, vet bills and housing through the winter. Whistlerites can make a tax deductible donation through the Get Smart Bear Society online at www.bearsmart.com. Critter Care’s website is www.crittercarewildlife.org.
Jevons said anyone with any concerns about wildlife or environmental violations is asked to call 1-877-952-7277 or 604-905-BEAR.