Canada Orphaned cubs slated for early summer release back into Banff National Park

05:35  12 april  2018
05:35  12 april  2018 Source:   Calgary Herald

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An official with Parks Canada said they may never learn how three black bear cubs became stranded inside a roadside bathroom in Banff National Park earlier this month. It’s hoped the cubs can be rehabilitated and released back into the wild after a year’s time.

041118-Bears_pic© By Spencer Van Dyk 041118-Bears_pic

The three black bear cubs found in a Banff public washroom last spring are slated to return to the national park in early summer.

The bruins have been undergoing rehabilitation at the Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario since mid-2017.

They have since woken up after their winter slumber but haven’t fully come out of hibernation.

“They’ll sort of wake up if you look in on them, but they’re pretty groggy and not totally with it, so we don’t want to disturb them,” said Howard Smith, managing director of Aspen Valley. “They’re not normally disturbed in hibernation, so by checking on them, like I said (we did it) once in January, and just a few days ago.”

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The last option would have been a zoo, according to Parks Canada, but Ontario has more flexible rules, and permits black bear rehabilitation so long as they are released back into the same ‘The bear proceeded down the path’: Warning issued after large grizzly follows Banff National Park hikers.

Parks CanadaThe three black bear cubs found in a bathroom in Banff National Park on April 1, 2017. The last option would have been a zoo, according to Parks Canada, but Ontario has more flexible rules, and permits black bear rehabilitation so long as they are released back into the same

Figuring out the logistics of moving the bears back to Banff is currently in the works, Smith said.

He also said that at more than a year old, they should be big and strong enough for reintroduction into Banff.

“These bears are likely going to be bigger than they would have been had they been in the wild because we’ve fed them,” Smith said. “They’ll have more reserves when they are released so they’ll have something to rely on.”

The trio were found in a bathroom at Vermillion Lakes just outside of Banff on April 1, 2017, and a search for their mother proved fruitless.

There was then a question of where the cubs would be taken for rehabilitation, as Alberta does not allows wildlife sanctuaries to take in bear cubs and British Columbia does not accept out-of-province animals.

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The cubs were transported to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Ontario, where they've been recovering in preparation for their return to Banff National Park sometime in 2018. British PM May backs investigation into Cambridge Analytica data use read comments video.

The Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks are popular summer tourist destinations and Banff National Park is the busiest of them all. Pulling yourself out of bed early is the best way to beat the crowds. The sun rises as early as 5:30am in the summer . It's a time when you can enjoy some solitude and

The bears were approved for shipment to Ontario and have been at Aspen Valley in the Muskoka region for more than a year.

The three female cubs, which were around five to six pounds when Smith got them, have grown significantly and are now in the neighbourhood of 130 pounds each.

In December, Aspen Valley stopped feeding them to trigger hibernation.

Once they re-emerge and have been started on a blander diet, Parks Canada will start sending food species indigenous to the park for them to eat, so they get used to the taste and smell of what they will consume after reintroduction.

Smith said he’s not sure where exactly the bears will be released in Banff, as it will be up to Parks staff.

Alberta’s ban on private rehabilitation of orphaned black bear cubs, in place since 2010 and to be lifted by the province in the coming weeks, has meant bears orphaned in the province have been killed, sent to zoos or rehabilitation facilities outside the province.

SVanDyk@postmedia.com

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