Seven orphaned bear cubs are now being cared for by Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary.
According to officials with the sanctuary, two of the cubs were brought to the Rosseau-based facility after their mom was illegally shot near Haliburton. “They were spotted nursing from their deceased mom when we got the call,” said Jan Kingshott, Director of Animal Welfare for the sanctuary. “The other cubs – all five of them – had to scramble after their moms were hit by vehicles and killed in three separate instances.”
Once the cubs got to the sanctuary, officials say they were triaged, provided with first aid, and a plan of care was put into play. “X-rays of one of the cubs revealed two breaks in his left front leg and our volunteer drivers took him to the National Wildlife Centre for emergency surgery,” said Kingshott. “He has since returned and will be closely monitored through his recovery.”
The cubs are all around eight months old, according to officials. They explain that the plan is to continue moving the cubs to larger enclosures as they grow. Currently, officials say they’re living in a natural woodland outdoor enclosure on the sanctuary’s 460-acre property.
“While they could choose to hibernate on their own, we anticipate that they’ll curl up together in one or two denning sites before making a reappearance in the spring,” said Kingshott.
Officials expect to release the cubs next summer, explaining while at the sanctuary they will be given “sufficient opportunity to grow strong and learn some of life’s lessons – hibernating and tree climbing for instance.”
“The work that we do here at the sanctuary is not for the faint of heart,” said Linda Glimps, Executive Director. “It’s a roller coaster of emotions and heart wrenching to say the least.”
The sanctuary recently took in five orphaned moose calves. That’s on top of the “hundreds” of other native species being cared for, according to officials.