Malcolm, pictured here shortly after being rescued near Tofino, has died at the north Island Wildlife Recovery Centre after being ensnared by a rope. (Photo - Jennifer Steven)

Bear cub, rescued near Tofino, dies in strangulation accident

The animal got his head and neck tightly ensnared in a small rope handle.

A bear cub that was rescued near Tofino was found dead after what appears to be a tragic strangulation accident at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre.

“It is with extreme sadness that the NIWRA veterinary and animal care staff report the unfortunate and unexpected death of “Malcolm” the single bear cub that we have been managing in our rehabilitation program,” the recovery centre announced through Facebook Monday morning.

READ MORE: Baby bear rescued near Tofino after mother dies

The post explains that, on the morning of his death, Malcolm had been observed on cameras playing on large tree stumps set up in his cage, but Animal Care staff found the young animal immobile on the ground.

“Staff immediately entered the enclosure recognizing that there was a serious problem. Unfortunately he had managed to get his head and neck tightly ensnared in a small rope handle attached to a plastic buoy that was suspended by a chain from one of the tree stumps. There were no signs of a struggle and we suspect he got his head through the loop and then very quickly asphyxiated,” the post reads.

The post added that suspended buoys are a commonly used toy for animals at the centre, “and they routinely spend a lot of time interacting and playing with them,” without any injuries.

“Understandably we are quite upset and shocked by this event and will take precautions to ensure that this scenario is not repeated. Anyone who has been involved in the care of animals can probably appreciate that these events or hazards are not always easily foreseeable,” the post reads. “The buoy had been in Malcolm’s enclosure since he was first introduced. We feel that it represents a very unfortunate accident involving an extremely rare set of circumstances. Caring for these special animals is an emotionally intense experience and we feel this loss profoundly. However, we will learn from this and be better at what we do.”

READ MORE: NIWRA cares for bear orphaned near Tofino

Malcolm was rescued near Ross Pass where the tiny bear cub was discovered laying next to its dead mother on May 25.

Knowing the animal would not be able to survive on its own, wildlife watching guides John Forde and Jennifer Steven captured it and helped transport it to the recovery centre on May 26.

Despite being severely emaciated when he arrived at the centre, Malcolm had been recovering well, according to the post.

“He was sedated and examined on October 18, 2018 and found to be healthy and in very good body condition. On this same date he was moved to the larger pre-release enclosure where he quickly established himself without incident,” it reads.

The Westerly News has reached out to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre and will update this story as soon as new information comes in.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Rescued eagle released in Ucluelet



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Williams Lake RCMP seek assistance locating missing youth

Angel Emile has not been seen since Monday, July 7

Interior Health issues warning of increased overdose activity in Williams Lake area

H has released a number of safety tips and how to respond to an overdose should one occur

Pacific Coastal Airlines to increase service to Williams Lake last week in July

Flights will increase from three a week to six a week

RCMP investigating shots fired complaint north of Williams Lake July 5

Two suspects were arrested, one has since died due to a pre-existing medical condition

RCMP confirm homicide investigation underway near Quesnel

Police releasing few details four days after homicide occurred Monday, July 6

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read