An orphan bear cub rescued from the Shuswap area was named in honour of Canadian Force Snowbirds pilot Capt. Jenn Casey.
Casey the cub recently joined siblings Sumac and Dylan in the care of Angelika and Peter Langen with the Northern Lights Wildlife Society (NLWS) in Smithers, B.C. The effort to capture cubs with live traps took more than two weeks. It was overseen by an NLWS volunteer from Hope and assisted by concerned local residents.
“She drove up and set the traps and then the wonderful neighbourhood monitored, they reset it if necessary or they put fresh bait in, so that worked really well, and then they let her know when something got caught,” said Angelika, explaining the first cub was captured quickly, the second about a week later, and the third held out for 18 days before it was captured.
“The last one was in surprisingly good shape. We were really worried he would be really run down, but I guess with all the green growing right now he found enough sustenance to keep him going.”
Angelika said the siblings are doing well and have an excellent appetite.
The female cub, Sumac, was named after the road the three were caught on. Dylan, Angelika explained, was named after a “young gentleman” who was climbing all kinds of trees trying help with the rescue.
“The last one was named Casey in honour of the Snowbird that just perished in the accident,” said Angelika.
Affectionately known as the Tappen Triplets, the cubs will stay in the Langen’s care until June 2021 – when they would naturally leave their mother. At that point, they will be returned to the area.
During their time at Northern Lights, the cubs will be cared for by one person so as not to habituate them to humans.
“If you just have one caretaker they become kind of like the mother bear that in the wild teaches the cubs to stay away from other bears,” said Angelika. “In our case, he or she… would be teaching them to stay away from other humans. In the 30 years we’ve been doing this it’s been working really well.”
Northern Lights currently has 37 bears – 35 black bears and two grizzlies – in its care – cubs received last year that will be released this June.
“And we have nine new cubs which is a record high for the end of May,” said Angelika.
The Langens are grateful for the help received in capturing and reuniting their young Shuswap guests.
“That was reason for celebration for us because we were worried we were going to lose them,” said Angelika. “I just came back from Mackenzie, there were three cubs there and by the time we got the call… we were there the next day and by that time a pair of eagles already had nabbed one of the triplets.
“It goes quick out there in the wild – it’s not always a nice place. So to get all three over that time frame was really a lot of luck and a lot of perseverence on those animals as well.