Bear cubs found in bathroom in Banff doing well at Ontario rehab facility
The three bear cubs found in a bathroom in Banff National Park are doing well in their temporary Ontario home.
The black bear cubs have grown by more than 20 pounds since arriving at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary and are adjusting well to their simulated wilderness home.
“They came in around six-and-a-half pounds and I think they’re up to 25 to 30 pounds now,” managing director Howard Smith said.
“They’re playful and love to climb.”
The bears were found by tourists locked in a public bathroom in the park. They were taken in by Parks Canada and then sent to the sanctuary to be rehabilitated.
WATCH: Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary managing director Howard Smith joins Global Calgary with details on how three orphaned bear cubs are thriving three months after being found in a Banff bathroom
Smith said the bears will be moved to a new, larger enclosure next week, which is farther away from the main sanctuary facility and from possible human contact.
That enclosure more closely resembles a Rocky Mountain wilderness with tall trees and hollow logs. It’s where they’ll have their first hibernation this winter.
It’s expected the bears will be about 80 to 90 pounds when they’re released in Banff National Park next spring — a little bigger than if they were to have spent the time in the wild, Smith said.
Since arriving in April, the bears have made great progress and are no longer being bottle fed. They have minimal contact with humans — just two workers are assigned to placing food in their enclosure.
WATCH: Parks Canada says we may never know how three bear cubs became stranded inside a bathroom near Banff. Dallas Flexhaug has the details
Smith said there isn’t a definite timeline for when the bears will be reintroduced to the wild. Timing will depend on when the spring season starts and when food sources are available.
Until then, Banff is sending along some supplies to ease their transition.
“The park [staff] are sending us some of the plant species that they would eat so they can get used to the smell and taste,” Smith said.
The bears’ diet consists mostly of fruits, vegetables and plants materials, like blueberries, strawberries and corn.
“We’re feeding them in hollowed-out logs rather than stainless steel dog dishes so they don’t recognize a dog food dish on somebody’s porch some place,” Smith said.
Smith is optimistic the bears will be successfully reintroduced to the park, adding they’ll be put back in a place that’s far from any civilization.
Parks Canada said Tuesday their investigation into how the bears wound up in the bathroom is closed “until additional information is obtained” and no charges have been laid “due to lack of evidence, witnesses and no suspects.”
They noted there aren’t any surveillance cameras around the washroom located in Vermillion Lakes.
Parks Canada asks anyone with information about how the bears got locked in the bathroom to call 403-762-1470.
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