Man who took wild bear cubs to a Grand Forks motel may face charges

‘They’ll never have the chance to be bears,’ said Conservation Officer Mark Walkoksy

Conservation Service Officers in Grand Forks are considering Wildlife act charges after two bear cubs were recently taken from a logging road north of the city.

Conservation officer Mark Walkosky said the cubs, now at an accredited wildlife facility, would likely be with their mother had it not been for the well-intentioned but misguided actions of a man who took the bears from their natural habitat. They would likely have a poor chance of survival if they were returned to the wild, he said.

The roughly 50-day-old male black bears were spotted on March 24, after Walkosky and forest ministry biologists believe road work disturbed the bears’ den, roughly 23 kilometres up Lynch Creek forest service road. Thinking the cubs had been abandoned, Waslkosky said the road crew waited for roughly two hours for the mother bear to return. When the sow didn’t turn up, Walkosky said a crew member drove the cubs to his motel in Grand Forks, where the animals spent the night.

Conservation Service Officer Mark Walkosky is warning residents never to approach wildlife on their own. Anyone who thinks they’ve seen an animal in distress should immediately call the 24 hr RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277, he said. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Conservation Service Officer Mark Walkosky is warning residents never to approach wildlife on their own. Anyone who thinks they’ve seen an animal in distress should immediately call the 24 hr RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277, he said. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Walkosky soon met the man and the animals at the motel, following a report to the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline. Fresh tracks left at the den site the next morning suggested that the mother bear and a third cub had come back overnight. Walkosky explained that mother bears are known to leave their cubs alone for up to a day at a time, repeatedly stressing that only qualified professionals should approach wild animals, regardless of age.

Watching from trail cameras left at the scene, Conservation and forest ministry biologists then left the cubs near their den for around 48 hours, hoping the mother bear would come back again. She didn’t.

The bears have been put in the care of the Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers, where co-founder and manager Angelika Langen said they are happily putting on weight. The bears will be re-introduced to the wild next June, likely near where they were found, she said.

Langen said she was hopeful that the bears would re-adjust to the wild, but Walkosky was less optimistic.

“They’ll never have the chance to be bears,” he said, adding, “They won’t get trained by a mom about where to find food and security in the forest.”

Re-introduced bears can make it in the wild but their chances of survival are generally much lower than bears who grow up with their moms, he noted.

Walksoksy also warned that approaching wild bear cubs can be very dangerous.

“If someone decides that they want to handle a bear cub, there’s always the very real possibility that the sow is nearby, watching,” he said.

Mother bears won’t hesitate to maul humans they perceive as threatening their cubs, which Walkosky said has killed people in the past.

The man who took the bears fully cooperated with investigators, but could face a $230 fine for unlawful possession of wildlife under the provincial Wildlife act.

The Conservation Service Office strongly recommends that people leave wildlife well enough alone. Anyone who thinks they may have come across an animal in distress is asked to call the 24-hour RAPP hotline at 1-877-952-7277.


 

@ltritsch1
laurie.tritschler@grandforksgazette.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


laurie.tritschler@boundarycreektimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

bearsGrand Forks

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

Just Posted

The Yunesit'in Government in partnership with the BC Wildfire Service will be conducting a prescribed burn seven kilometres west of the community and 25 kilometres south of Alexis Creek on the south side of the Chilcotin River. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Prescribed burning planned to reduce wildfire risk near Yunesit’in

Burning may begin as early as April 13 in partnership with BC Wildfire Service

An aerial view of the Williams Lake Stockyards taken during a flyover in 2020. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake Bull Show and Sale in its 84th year

This year’s sale will be online and in person

B.C. Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon. (B.C. Cattlemen’s Association photo)
COVID, BSE, water access and private land rights: B.C. Cattlemen’s general manager weighs in

Kevin Boon said positive aspect of pandemic is more people interested in where their food comes from

Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society communications officer Brianna van de Wijngaard reflects on World Water Day March 22. (Photo submitted)
DOWN TO EARTH: World Water Day means something different for everyone

This year’s World Water Day theme was Valuing Water

Williams Lake Cycling Club president Shawn Lewis (from left), Jeremy Stoward of New Path Forestry, WLCC Boitanio Bike Park director Andrew Hutchinson accept a cheque from Williams Lake and District Credit Union investment specialist Abigail King. (Photo submitted)
Williams Lake Cycling Club gets bike park donation to bolster upgrades, maintenance

Plans are to complete three rideable lines each year, he added

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

—Image: contributed
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Part of the massive mess left behind in a Spallumcheen rental home owned by Wes Burden, whose tenants bolted from the property in the middle of the night. Burden is now facing a hefty cleaning and repair bill as a result. (Photo submitted)
Tenants disappear in the night leaving Okanagan home trashed with junk, feces

Spallumcheen rental rooms filled with junk, human and animal feces; landlord scared to rent again

Parliament Hill is viewed below a Canada flag in Gatineau, Quebec, Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. A new poll suggests most Canadians are feeling more grateful for what they have in 2020 as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased slightly in 2019: report

2019 report shows Canada emitted about one million tonnes more of these gases than the previous year

Most Read