A Vancouver Island wildlife rescue centre is caring for an orphaned bear cub who arrived under rather unusual circumstances.
Staff with the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre say the 13.8 pound cub was found in Campbell River, after becoming separated from its mother.
“This little cub was scared and just looking for safety,” animal care supervisor Derek Downes explained, noting that it had found its way into someone’s house.
“And unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, (it) made its way through a little cat door, which is a really odd thing, and took refuge behind a house plant.”
The homeowner called the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, which retrieved the orphan and brought it to the rescue centre.
Downes said staff haven’t determined the animal’s sex yet, as they’re still letting it acclimatize to its new surroundings.
The cub appears to be a good candidate for rehabilitation, he added, and shows no signs of habituation to humans.
Bear cubs brought to the facility for rehabilitation typically spend about a year there, Downes explained.
They transition from a nursery into a grow-out areas, and a pre-release area. Throughout the process care is taken to ensure they remain wild and never become habituated to humans or see them as a food source, he said.
The recovery centre is currently about to release six orphans that it took in last year.
Along with rehabilitating animals, the centre also focuses on education, and Downes urged Vancouver Island residents to ensure they’re keeping their homes bear aware.
That means not leaving anything outside that could attract bears to their property, from trash and compost to pet food to even barbeques that haven’t been cleaned after use.
As for the new resident of the facility, Downes agreed the cub is unique.
“Absolutely a first. Many cubs have come in here through the years, this has got to be the first through a cat door.”
“You can see he’s a wild cub, he’s doing what he should — hiding behind a plant — just not indoors.”