November 9, 2021
Dear members and supporters
BC is in the midst of an orphaned black bear cub crisis, and your voice is needed to highlight the moral responsibility we have to capture orphaned cubs and get them to the safety of a licensed wildlife rehabilitation centre. BC has three such facilities that can provide food, a safe environment, and any necessary medicine to get orphaned cubs through the winter until they are ready to be released into their natural habitat the following year.
Thank you for considering this request. We have provided a sample letter below for your reference.
Your letter can be emailed to the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development (Honourable Katrine Conroy) at: FLNR.Minister@gov.bc.ca
Or mailed to:
Honourable Katrine Conroy
Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
PO Box 9049 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2
Sincerely, Christine Miller and Sylvia Dolson, BCBA co-chairs
Honourable Katrine Conroy
Minister of Forest, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development
Orphaned cubs have been reported by residents in various BC communities, and the Global News report
(https://globalnews.ca/video/8356023/concern-over-fate-of-orphaned-bear-cub-near-kamloops) highlights the concern for an orphaned bear cub near Kamloops. This is not the only orphaned cub that needs to be rescued which prompted me to write to you. Without the guidance of their mothers to prepare for hibernation, orphaned cubs are at HIGH risk of starvation. Many may try to hibernate, but perish without enough fat reserves to get them through the winter. They may leave their dens mid-winter and then be considered too old for rehabilitation under the current policy. Others will stay out looking for food and find sustenance in peopled areas. This then leads to them being labelled as “food conditioned” and killed. There is no scenario – beyond being rescued and cared for in a wildlife rehabilitation centre – that is humane!
The news report indicates that the COS has a policy to leave the cubs on their own if they are considered capable of surviving. It is hard to grasp how very small cubs – almost always underweight – can be classified as being capable of surviving the winter alone, and as Lamb said in the interview, “Why would we roll the dice on their lives if we have the opportunity to make a difference and make sure they make it through the winter?” The fact that the cubs can become orphaned when their mother is shot as a result of a bear family’s interactions with people or killed on a roadway is extremely disturbing in the first place. Humans have an obligation to improve these unacceptable situations and ensure the cubs survive the winter. The policy to leave the orphaned cubs on their own is not acceptable to me when there are licensed wildlife rehabilitation centres with space to care for them over the winter.
I trust that you will take the appropriate action to stop the unnecessary and cruel outcome for these tiny orphans, who have already lost their mothers before they have even had a chance.