Motherless grizzly cubs wll be moved to rehab centre
By Kelly Sinoski, Vancouver Sun October 27, 2010Three grizzly cubs caught in a trap in Bella Coola were given a stay of execution Tuesday after the province rescinded a kill order on the bears.
Ian McAllister, conservation director with Pacific Wild, said the provincial government had planned to kill the cubs after their mother charged a conservation officer and was shot.
But the decision was reversed Tuesday morning. The cubs will now be relocated to a rehabilitation centre in Smithers.
"This is an ongoing situation; it's just tragic about what's happening with bears in that valley," McAllister said.
He said the situation is exacerbated by the fact the B.C. environment ministry won't post a full-time conservation officer, who could help educate the community about living around bears in Bella Coola. This would help alleviate conflicts between humans and animals, he said.
"The amount of people living on a salmon stream with orchards full of fruit ... the human-bear interaction continues and the government keeps turning a blind eye to it," McAllister said. "Bears continue to be killed by private citizens. It's just unacceptable because people are living in the prime habitat of coastal bears. It's irresponsible."
The three cubs are among a slew of black and grizzly bears who have lost their mothers in the past month, he said. There's no funding to relocate the black bear cubs, he said, and they are either put down or die a slow death without their mothers.
In 2009, a Bella Coola Valley man, criticized by provincial conservation officers for failing to put up an electric fence to protect his chickens, hunted down a mother grizzly bear before turning his sights on her three newborn cubs.
The man shot the mother first, then two of the cubs who were run up a tree by his dogs, according to freedom of information documents involving cases in 2009 in which grizzlies were shot in supposed defence of people or property in B.C.
The third cub is believed to have died later because it was too young to survive on its own, raising the family death toll to four.
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