A bear cub is settling into hibernation in Smithers after being rescued from 108 Mile Ranch.
The cub, called Eljun, was taken to the Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers in September after it was reported by a conservation officer. The bear was underweight and was believed to be ill or injured as he could not stand on his own, said NLWS co-founder Angelika Langen. His left front leg was stretched stiffly backwards, as if he had been hit by a car.
“He was in distress and not doing well. He was very, very skinny,” Langen said.
A series of x-rays were done to see if there were any fractures or other injuries but “nothing panned out,” Langen said. The decision was made to treat Eljun with a broad spectrum of antibiotics and painkillers. He also underwent physiotherapy to stretch out the muscles in his leg.
“Gradually over the months, he got better. We put in a sling so he could walk around,” Langen said, adding he was eventually kept in the sling all day. “He seems to be doing well now. He’s in an outside cage and settling in for hibernation.”
Eljun is one of 30 bear cubs rescued over the past couple of months. About 66 cubs are now in hibernation at the shelter, including six from the South Cariboo. In August, three orphaned bear cubs – named Rosco, Randolph and Finn – were rescued and relocated from 108 Mile Ranch after their mother was struck and killed by a vehicle on Highway 97 near the 108 Heritage Site. Two more were rescued from Forest Grove. The cubs are all settling in well in their new home, where they will remain until they are released back into the wild.
“We had so many good stories this fall,” Langen said. “It’s been a really wonderful season of just being able to out and help.”
The volunteer-run organization has been rescuing and rehabilitating wildlife in the province for 31 years and runs solely on donations from the public. The group averages 40 to 50 cub rescues each year. Depending on the circumstances of the relocation, each cub can cost the group $2,500 to $3,000 by the time it is released back into the wild.