Grizzly Project

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Grizzly Project

Goals and history

Pilot Project Outline

In the spring of 2007 the BC Government (as the first government in the world) signed an agreement with the Northern Lights Wildlife Society and IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare), to consider orphaned grizzly bear cubs for a pilot rehabilitation program.

Though grizzly cubs had been raised and released in BC before (2 female cubs by Hillspring Wildlife Rehab Centre in Dawson Creek in 1999, 4 cubs by Hillspring Wildlife Rehab Centre in Dawson Creek in 2006 and 1 cub by Helen Jameson near Nelson in 2006) official acceptance of this practice was lacking, as no post release monitoring was done to prove that cubs survived and integrated into the wild population. Two of the cubs released by Hillspring had in fact become nuisance bears, breaking into campers and had to be euthanized. As this happens with wild bears too, it is not a reflection on Hillspring’s program, but remained a worrisome fact in the planning process.

NLWS with the support from IFAW had been in negotiation with the BC Government for some time and before this pilot project was approved.

Project Goals:

  • To provide orphaned cubs with a safe and species oriented environment to grow up, until they are old enough to be released back into the wild.
  • It was agreed that cubs would be kept for up to 18 month, as data proved that yearling cubs in good condition have a very good survival chance despite the fact that they usually stay with their mother for at least 2 years.
  • To monitor cubs after the release to answer questions in regards to their survival rate, possible human/bear conflict situations and their ability to fit into the wild population. We use state of the art GPS/VHF collars that allow us to monitor the released cubs via our computer in almost real time.
  • To gather valuable information about grizzly behavior, nutritional needs, medical treatment and facility requirements.
  • The results of the project are to be used as a future foundation to create sustainable rehabilitation standards for grizzly cubs.

Pilot Project history:

  • 2019 June 2 male cubs ( Max & Moritz) from Kitimat (mothers fate unknown)
    Fate: In Care

  • 2018 November 2 male ( Russel & Ronny) and 1 female (Else) cub from Bella Coola (Mother shot as nuisance bear)Fate: Russel died of a staff infection only a few days after his arrival, Russel & Else released July 2019
  • 2016
    October female cub admitted (Shadow) from Bella Coola (mother shot as nuisance bear)
    Fate: Released June 2017
  • 2014 December male cub admitted (Valentine) from Golden area, mothers fate unknown
  • Fate: Released June 2015
  • November male and female cub admitted( Kitty & Matt) from Kitimat area, mother shot at popular fishing spot
    Fate: Released June 2015
  • November male and female cub admitted (Sari &Tom) from Canal Flats area, mother killed on highwayFate: Released June 2015
  • June male yearling cub admitted (Littlefoot)from Fernie area suspected mother shot in self-defence
    Fate: Released August 2014
  • 2012
    December male cub admitted (Tika) from Golden area Seriously undernourished found in someone’s garden shed
    Fate: Released  June 2013
  • October two male siblings admitted (Terry & Blair) from Castlegar area mother shot after repeatedly raiding chicken coups
    Fate: Released June 2013
  • 2010
    October two female and male siblings admitted (Lori, Elli & Dean) from Bella Coola area  Mother shot in self-defence
    Fate: one female died at intake 2 other cubs Released June 2011
  • October two male siblings ( Jason & Drew) admitted from Bella Coola area mother shot after raiding poorly secured used cooking oil supply
    Fate: Released June 2011
  • 2008
    August two male siblings admitted (Espen & Koda) from Lillooet area admitted  mother shot in self defense after dog attacked her and lured her back to owner
    Fate: Released June 2009
  • 2007
    November male cub admitted (Jonny) from Purden Lake Area admitted   mother killed on highway Fate: Released June 2008
  • June female cub admitted (Suzy) from Tumbler Ridge area is admitted poaching of mother and sibling suspected   Fate: Released June 2008


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