Rory, a bear cub found near Quesnel, is now in the care of the Northern Lights Wildlife Society near Smithers, B.C. (Northern Lights Wildlife Society photo)

Rory, a bear cub found near Quesnel, is now in the care of the Northern Lights Wildlife Society near Smithers, B.C. (Northern Lights Wildlife Society photo)

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

By Melanie Law

A bear cub from Quesnel is safe and sound thanks to a pair of local boys.

Chase Kohorst, 12, and his cousin Kaydan Loomis, 13, noticed the baby bear hanging around the yard at Chase’s home just south of Quesnel on Friday, Nov. 29, when the boys were home from school due to a scheduled non-instructional day.

They called Chase’s mom, Santania Grant, at work.

“He called and said there was a baby cub and that it had killed a bird. … The boys sent me a bunch of pictures. When I got home, they were excited. They should have been more careful, but they had been outside and the cub had followed them around the barnyard when they were doing chores that afternoon,” says Grant.

Although the excited youngsters believed they had somehow summoned the bear in from the wild while they were playing games outdoors, when they took a walk around the property, the family discovered signs the cub had been trying to make a den in the yard and eating suet left out for the birds.

“It was also in one of our horse pens; there was leftover salt and a bit of grain. She was checking out the buckets,” says Grant.

She and her husband tried calling the local conservation officer but didn’t manage to get through to them. Grant posted on social media that the boys had seen the cub on its own and was flooded with messages from neighbours and friends.

She was put in touch with a local woman who volunteers with the Northern Lights Wildlife Society, a sanctuary in Smithers, B.C.

“A volunteer from the sanctuary brought a trap up and a day later, the bear was in there,” says Grant.

Angelika Langen, co-founder of the Northern Lights Wildlife Society, says she received the call that the cub had been seen, and contacted the conservation officer to get permission to assess and take the bear.

Trained volunteers trapped the cub, now named Rory, and then transported her from Quesnel to Smithers, where the sanctuary is located.

“Once [the cub] got to the sanctuary, we tranquilized and checked her over for injuries or signs she was ill. She looked OK, but she was half the weight she should be – she weighs 24lbs but she should be over 50lbs to hibernate,” says Langen.

“She has definitely been on her own for a bit, but she’s feisty and she has a good appetite.”

Rory would have been born at the end of January or early February, like all bear cubs, says Langen, making her 10 months old. According to the Canadian Wildlife Federation, cubs usually remain with their mothers until they are 16 or 17 months old.

Langen says it’s unlikely Rory was abandoned by her mother: “It’s rare that a mother will abandon a cub. They are extremely protective of their young. With this cub, we don’t know, there could have been a car accident that orphaned her, the mom could have been shot, or death could have occurred naturally.”

Rory is now recovering at the sanctuary in Smithers, where she’s been integrated with a group of about 10 other underweight bears. Langen says these bears will not be hibernating this year due to their low body weights, so they’ll be kept in enclosures to sleep and eat over the winter.

“A bear that doesn’t have the necessary body weight will not go into hibernation,” explains Langen. “They don’t have enough body reserves to take them through winter.”

But come June, the bears should have gained enough weight to be released back into the wild.

And Rory will be coming home to Quesnel: Langen says they always release bears back to the general area from which they are taken. This ensures bears with similar genetic make-ups remain in the same region, and that bear numbers aren’t inflated in one area due to releases.

“We’ll release her to an outlying area where there are no people,” says Langen. “She is part of that community and we want to make sure we are not artificially raising or lowering numbers [of bears] in the area.”

The Northern Lights Wildlife Society, which has been running for 30 years and relies heavily on volunteer workers and donations, takes in animals from all over B.C., except the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island. It has hosted more than 500 bears, and currently black bears as well as grizzlies are being rehabilitated at the facility.

All the bears will be released in the summer when lots of food is available and other adult bears are distracted by mating. “There’s less predation on them and it’s the best time to give them the best possible chance to survive on their own,” explains Langen.

Both Grant and Langen say they are amazed at how communities can come together to help wild creatures in need.

“The network of people that make it possible is amazing,” says Langen.

Grant says she’s very proud of her son and his cousin.

“It was their little adventure. They are always saving birds – it’s always something. This time, being a bear, it was kind of exciting.”

Find out more about the Northern Lights Wildlife Society at Wildlifeshelter.com.

READ MORE: Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

Just Posted

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations with RV hook-ups

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry speaks at a press conference Monday, April 18. (B.C. Government image)
New COVID-19 cases tick down on the central Island

New cases held to single digits three days in a row

CVRD offices on Ingram Street will remain closed for another 14 weeks after flooding last month. (File photo)
CVRD headquarters closed for another three and a half months

Building significantly damaged during water leak

The IIO is investigating after a police dog bit a man during a traffic stop near Ladysmith on April 17, 2021. (Black Press Media stock photo)
IIO investigating after police dog bites man near Ladysmith

RCMP dog bit man during traffic stop on Friday, April 17

Ladysmith Save-On-Foods. (Cole Schisler photo)
$5.4 million in renovations coming for Ladysmith Save-On-Foods

Save-On-Foods would not say when the renovations will begin

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read