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North Island Wildlife Recovery Assoc Bear News July’14 via Bears Matter


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Black Bear Rehabilitation Program

“The goal of this study is to enable us to confidently take into care wild black bears, and rehabilitate them back to the wild.”Robin Campbell Wildlife Manager


Young cubs arrive to the centre at about 2.5 kg. and are released about eighteen months later.

In 1997, NIWRA made the decision to construct and manage a bear program for Vancouver Island Bears. In doing so a captive bred bear (Knut)  came to the center to help us perfect the design and operation of our facility for the care and feeding of these animals, to study their hibernation habits and to control their overall environment and human contact.The center has spent approximately $170,000 to construct examining rooms, play areas, nursery and a 120’ X 120’ enclosure with a cave, pond, and a catch and receiving chute. Major funding for this project came from the late Arthur Knowles, the Donner Canadian Foundation and an anonymous donor.

Bear Cub Release Program


When NIWRA gets a call that a bear cub is coming there is a sense of excitement. When the cub arrives the visitors lucky enough to be at the center get to share in this excitement until the cub is taken into our treatment center. Once there the cub is weighed and checked and put into quarantine for 24 hours. If we have another cub at the center we can then begin to introduce them to each other.

Having two cubs makes rehabilitation and release easier. They have a buddy and cuddle up with each other. The plan is to raise the cubs with minimal human contact until they are old enough to be released back into the wild either this fall or next spring.

The cubs are fed a concoction of goat’s milk, cottage cheese, puppy milk replacement and puppy chow, vitamins and rice pabulum four times a day until they are old enough to start eating more natural foods. This would include berries and fish – we often hide their food to make them hunt for it just as they would in the wild.

The bears are on closed circuit TV 24/7 for the public to view – because we want to release them back to the wild they must be kept away from all human contact.


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