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

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
65 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Overall, B.C. is seeing a decrease in COVID-19 cases

Photo of handguns and illicit drugs Trail RCMP reported to have seized from a Trail man on Sunday. Photo: Trail RCMP
Drugs and guns seized from Trail man

A call came into the detachment that a man was asleep behind the wheel

RCMP are searching for Philip Toner, who is a 'person of interest' in the investigation of a suspicious death in Kootenay National Park last week. Photo courtesy BC RCMP.
Man sought in suspicious Kootenay death found in Lake Country

Philip Toner is a person of interest in the death of Brenda Ware

Rain clouds were absent for most of April in the West Kootenay. Photo: Betsy Kline
April precipitation only one-third of normal in West Kootenay

Third month in a row with below average rain fall

The Trail RCMP is sharing a warning that originated with the Nova Scotia RCMP regarding an online sexual exploitation scam targeting youth. Photo: Mohammad Metri on Unsplash
Trail RCMP warn of digital sexploitation scheme targeting youth

Police want to get the message out to victims that you are not alone.

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Keith MacIntyre - BC Libertarian
Penticton’s Keith MacIntyre new leader of the B.C. Libertarian Party

The Penticton businessman was voted in by members of the party on May 8

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP reported to 287 mental health calls between Jan. 1, 2021, and May 1. (Black Press files)
‘It’s not the police’s responsibility to deal with mental health calls’: Vernon RCMP

RCMP remind public to take care of mental health and well-being, while better solutions are sought

Thompson Rivers University campus is in Kamloops, B.C. (KTW file photo)
Thompson Rivers the 1st B.C. university to supply free menstrual products

The university will offer the products this September

Fraser Health is using ‘targeted’ vaccination clinics in high-risk areas of the Lower Mainland. (Fraser Health photo)
B.C.’s COVID-19 decrease continues, 515 new cases Tuesday

426 seriously ill people in hospital, up from 415 Monday

The site of Sunfest, Laketown Ranch, will be open for camping this summer. (Citizen file)
Sunfest country music bash won’t be shining on B.C. in 2021

Annual Vancouver Island Festival cancelled due to COVID-19, along with Laketown Shakedown

Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation elected chief councillor Moses Martin, who was also Chantel Moore’s grandfather, speaks to media in Port Alberni on Aug. 16, 2020, during a visit from NDP leader Jagmeet Singh following the police shooting of Chantel Moore. (Elena Rardon photo)
Mother of 2 shot by police in critical condition, says B.C. First Nation chief

Community ‘devastated’ by third member of 1,150-person Vancouver Island nation shot in less than a year

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham promotes the government’s BuyBC food program in 2019. (B.C. government)
Money running out for fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in B.C. schools

‘Looking at ways to support this type of program,’ minister says

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Experts now predict 33.6% rise in B.C. home sales for 2021

BCREA economists also predict home prices to increase by 14.3%

Most Read