Eight Island bear cubs that wouldn’t have stood a chance on their own in the wild are officially back home again now, after being nursed back to health and released into their home ranges.
The releases mark the end of a year of rehabilitation. Two of the bear cubs, Athena and Jordan were the centre of national attention, when a conservation officer’s decision to save them in Port Hardy cost him his job.
Tranquilized and bewildered as they are being loaded into traps, a happy ending awaits eight rescued bear cubs at the end of this ordeal.
“They’re healthy and they stand a good chance at a life out in the wild which they would not have had they not come here,” says Julie Mackey of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre.
The now 17 to 18 month old cubs are being taken from their bear enclosure at the North Island Wildlife Recovery centre where they’ve been nursed back to health after arriving at this centre as orphans last summer.
“We’re actually doing six today. We did two on Friday so this is all of our eight from this year,” says Mackey.
Two of them are standouts, Athena and Jordan were made famous by a conservation officer’s brave actions to save them last July. Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant was suspended after refusing to shoot them, when their mother was destroyed for raiding a home repeatedly in Port Hardy. Thousands of signatures of support poured in to authorities, and he was later transferred out of the cConservation Officer Service, though he stood by his decision all the way. Friday those one time tiny bear cubs were set free into the wild of the North Island once again.
“Those two were radio collared so we will have a chance to learn of some of the activities that they get into where they travel that type of thing,” says Mackey.
It’s a graduation day of sorts for rescuers working hand in hand with conservation officers to give the bears one last chance at a better life.
“These are the bears that we’ve rescued we’ve brought them here because we thought they were rehabilitatable and hopefully this is a success,” says Conservation Officer Stuart Bates.
Releasing them in remote locations from Lake Cowichan and Sooke to Port Hardy where one year ago they were pulled out of as youngsters.
All involved in their rescues, hoping they will now live out their days there and never be seen or heard from again.