An orphaned wildlife rescue society in northwest B.C. is dealing with a record number of orphaned bear cubs for this time of year.
Angelika Langen with the Northern Lights Wildlife Society, based in Smithers, says they currently have five cubs in their care: two sets of twins and one single cub from four different litters.
“We usually get one, maybe two, cubs that we are bottle feeding around this time of year, but not this many,” says Langen.
Langen suspects better awareness about their shelter is contributing to a higher number of cubs this year.
“It’s people knowing about us and knowing that there is an alternative,” says Langen. “I don’t necessarily think there is something going on that causes more cubs to be orphaned. I think the orphaned cubs always used to be there, but they just died or were put down. But once you can show that you can raise [these cubs] and let them go without them becoming nuisance bears, then people like that alternative.”
Langen says warmer weather could also be a contributing factor that affects food availability for the bears, but — in two of the incidents that brought the two set of twins into their care — the bears were orphaned by human involvement.
Since the cubs are too small to consume anything other than milk, the shelter is forced to spend more than $300 a week to buy special powdered formula, and the costs are adding up quickly.
Langen says the cubs will likely need to be bottle fed until the beginning of August.
She says the best way to help the cubs is to donate money. Financial donations can be made at www.wildlifeshelter.com. The shelter also accepts mailed cheques and money orders.