ARMCHAIR MAYOR: Two orphaned bear cubs deserve a chance, so cut the red tape

By Mel Rothenburger, CFJC Today: Everything Kamloops!

POLICY IS OFTEN CITED as a reason for doing things but, like the law, policy can be an ass.

There are two orphaned bear cubs in Kamloops right now that will probably die from starvation, injury, exposure or predation. It doesn’t have to be that way.

Residents in Rivershore and Rayleigh have been begging the BC Conservation Officer Service to allow the cubs to be captured and cared for through the winter by a licensed rehab centre so they can be released in spring.

But red tape stands in the way. Before either the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter or the Critter Care Wildlife Society would be allowed to undertake the rescue, they need permission from the Conservation service.

That permission involves a provincial veterinarian and a biologist as well as Conservation officers. My phone calls to the folks in charge yesterday brought an emailed response from a public affairs type in Victoria with the usual stuff about habituation, it being better to leave them be and that they can survive on their own.

That assessment is questionable. Ellie Lamb, a bear expert who works with Critter Care, told me the cubs are weak, one is now injured, and they’re both likely to be dead within a few days.
All it would take to avoid that is a phone call or a stroke of the pen from the government bureaucrats.

Why not give the cubs a chance? The rehab centres have an established record of saving bears and successfully releasing them.

The heartbreaking story of the two bear cubs suggests a major change in attitude is badly needed at the Conservation service and within government, and that they need to look up the definition of “conservation.”