Langley’s Critter Care Wildlife Society, the only bear cub rehabilitation centre on B.C.’s south coast, has been in crisis mode for the last month thanks to a record number of orphaned bear cubs needing rescue. The facility, which has capacity for 25, is currently caring for 32 cubs, putting conservation officers in a tight spot.
“We will look at the bear, its health and age. If we determine it’s not going to survive, and we don’t have the option to take it to a facility, we may have to euthanize it,” said Inspector Chris Doyle from the Conservation Officer Service.
In the past week, two orphaned cubs have been shot by conservation officers.
“One was in Pemberton,” said Doyle. “It was determined to be in poor physical condition and would not have survived the winter so it was put down. The other was in Whistler and it was a yearling cub, and that cub would not have been a candidate in the end for a rehab facility.”
WATCH: Critter Care Wildlife Society caring for record number of bear cubs
Conservation officers say euthanizing sick cubs is the only humane option left. But Whistler’s Get Bear Smart Society has another idea.
“Critter Care is full,” said Ellie Archer, director of Whistler’s Get Bear Smart Society.
“We need to give them a chance to survive and send them up to the Northern Lights Rehabilitation facility in Smithers. And that’s a quick two-hour plane ride away.”
But conservation says that’s not an option. Doyle said, “Critter Care is the only authorized facility for us to take cubs to. We are not authorized to take them to a facility that is not authorized to take the bears.”
It’s up to the province to change that. So far, they haven’t.
The good news is the cubs that have been rescued are thriving. The bad news is conservation officers say they’ve heard of several orphaned cub sightings in the past few days. With no place to put the cubs, many of them may have to be put down.