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Orphaned bear cub safely rescued from residential Princeton street

At about 22 pounds, and nearly a year old, the cub would have had no chance of survival

It’s a beary merry Christmas for Princeton.

A tiny bear cub was rescued Thursday, Dec. 14, after wandering around the community alone for more than a week.

Lydia Koot, who lives in Hope, was able to safely trap the animal on private property in the Mayne Avenue area, after it was lured down from a tree.

Seriously underweight at about 22 pounds, and nearly a year old, the cub would have had no chance of survival throughout the winter, Koot told the Spotlight.

On Friday the bear was on its way to Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers.

“By rescuing a cub that is orphaned we try to give them a second chance,” she said.

Koot , who describes herself as ‘just a volunteer,’ is chair of the Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee and a society board member.

She has rescued 58 bear cubs from across the province, including several in the Princeton area.

Her priorities are educating the public about bear awareness and providing expertise when it comes to rescue.

Koot works closely with the BC Conservation Office, and needs permission from that service, as well as a biologist, to use her own traps to rescue a bear cub.

“Every rescue is different,” she said. However the stress and adrenaline they bring on are constants.

“It’s rushing when the bear comes down the tree or just comes to the trap. It’s ‘please, please’ and then it is just such a relief when that trap closes.”

Princeton’s bear, almost certainly a female, will be allowed to settle into its new shelter home for a few days.

She will then undergo tests, under sedation, to determine her health, and will be tagged.

Unlike other bear cubs at the shelter she will not be placed in a hibernation crate for the winter. She may sleep for a few days at a time but will have to be fed in order for her to build size and strength.

If all goes well she will be released into the wild in the spring.

Koot credited the conservation service, Princeton bylaw, and concerned citizens who reported sightings for the successful rescue.

Northern Lights Wildlife Society is a rehabilitation facility whose goal is to provide young, injured or orphaned wildlife with a safe and healthy environment.

Does Koot have anything to add?

“Just maybe a plea to anybody who is able to make a small donation to Northern Lights, because of course they have to feed all those cubs. I posted a couple of times (to social media) and I know some people have already donated.

“It’s just really important because people have no idea how much it takes to look after just one bear.”

Donations can be made on the society’s website

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Andrea DeMeer

About the Author: Andrea DeMeer

Andrea is the publisher of the Similkameen Spotlight.
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