Webster and Kanaka’s Story

We don't often consider the bear's side of the story. It's time that we did!

Hello,

We are Webster and Kanaka, 10 month old cubs that just had the most horrific day of our lives-our Mother was shot and killed.

We want to share our story.

Our mom was timid and safety was important to her. She spent the summer teaching us everything she could to keep us healthy and safe. She taught us to stay in treed locations, but close enough to residential areas to protect us from larger and more dominant bears that occupy the deeper forest. She taught us to be careful near road ways, to keep distance from houses, and to move away from human voices.

She often looked uncomfortable when humans would get too close to take photos of us, but after a while she became more patient because they seemed to enjoy our presence. We still did our best to avoid contact and often had to change our path and yield to people walking through the forest and on trails through our home.

Lately, many people have been frequenting our salmon-bearing stream to watch the fish and we’ve often been redirected, but we don’t mind.

We are becoming more used to navigating our changing environment. There is a lot of that happening.

Throughout the past 6 weeks we’ve started to feel lethargic. Mom said that is because it was almost time for hibernation. Mom was having us increase our solid foods and nurse from her a little less. She also needed to increase her calories in preparation to den, and to keep producing milk for us until we were ready to sleep.

Our diet is 80% plants and berries. But, as the days grew shorter and the nights grew cooler, the availability of those food sources decreased. We looked for food close to home, and where it was abundant. That is when we found chickens.

We could easily tell which chickens were available and which ones were not. The ones we didn’t have access to had an electric fence around them. We never went close to those ones.

Mom had our den nearly complete, it was almost time. We needed to fill our bellies, it would be one of our last meals before spring.

We walked through a field and found some high calorie chickens…no electric fence…perfect…

That is when it all happened.

We heard a loud blast and our Mother went down. She let out one last recognizable call for us to run! We ran up a tree like she taught us. Our mom laid there, still, she was gone. My brother and I were alone and we were terrified.

The Conservation Officer Service eventually came to capture us and take us to a rehabilitation centre. An investigation is pending as to whether our Mothers killing is considered acceptable.

We are grateful for the  amazingly caring people here who do their best to fill the void of our Mother by providing us with food and a safe place to stay…but, we really want to be with our Mother.

We are so sorry we took your chickens. We didn’t realize they were off limits. Sometimes its hard for us to tell what is a natural food source and what is not.

Regular wood fences are not enough of a sign for us. Remember how I told you we were constantly navigating our changing environment? We have fences running all throughout our home range. Sometimes they are not there one day, but up and blocking our regular corridor the next. We learn how to go under, over, or around to get home-and that’s ok, we don’t mind.

One way you can ensure that we know your livestock is not wild is to install an electric fence. We promise we will not pass through your properly installed hot wire fence.

Electric fences save lives, and it would have saved our Mothers.

It is too late for our family, and without proper practices in place another family will soon experience the same fate. The Right to Farm Act protects you, but what protects us and your chickens? Electric fences. Electric fences save your investment, your chickens, and our lives. Be part of the solution.

We are grateful to Critter Care for saving cubs like us, and to all the advocacy groups who works tirelessly to provide balanced and factual  information and education. We appreciate you being our voice. Share our story, share our true nature.

Bear Hugs,
Webster and Kanaka

Translated by Leah Cooke