Bear cub

Community grieves mama bear and three cubs

Locals demanding answers from conservation office

The Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter (NLWS) has an unusually large cohort of bear cubs this summer.

Angelika Langen co-founder of the shelter said they have already taken in 22 black bears and two grizzlies, noting while they always have cubs at this time of year it’s normally not so many.

The number has been inflated significantly in the past month by the addition of two sets of triplets.

The first set of triplets, two females and a male came to NLWS via Burns Lake conservation officer Jeff Palm in late June.

On the eve of June 26, Burns Lake Conservation Officer Jeff Palm received a phone call from a resident who said there had been a bear in the neighbourhood on East Tchesinkut Road for the last three years and that it had become increasingly bold and fearless of people.

The resident had placed the call after witnessing the bear kill a deer fawn on their front lawn, according to Palm.

“With that information, I decided to set a bear trap there,” said Palm.

Palm said on June 29, he captured a bear sow. This was the bear which the locals affectionately called “Scruffy.” She was destroyed by the conservation officer while her three cubs hid up inside a nearby tree until they were tranquilized.

Palm captured the three cubs and delivered them to Langen.

The second triplets to arrive at Northern Lights was on July 28 from 108 Mile.

“The mom got hit by a vehicle fatally, she was still alive and the conservation officer put her out of her misery,” Langen said.

The Conservation Officer Service turned over the capture of the cubs to NLWS because of the forest fires in that part of the province, Langen noting the capture went very smoothly.

“I was lucky I had a volunteer in Lillooet so she could go up there with a trap and set the trap right away the first night and we caught one of the cubs,” she explained.

“Then, my son-in-law left here the next morning with more traps and transport boxes and they set those the following evening and by 11 o-clock we already had them.”

Langen reports all three cubs were very healthy and are doing well at the shelter.

“They’re three boys in very good condition, each of them is over 30 pounds so that’s very good for a cub this time of year; I’m expecting them to do just great.”

Those three are also thriving at the shelter, Langen said.

-With files from Madalene Arias