In what was a first for both sides, provincial conservation officers worked together with staff from the Critter Care animal rescue centre in Langley to capture an orphaned bear cub on Monday, Nov. 23.
Critter Care founder Gail Martin described it as an opportunity for both sides to learn from each other.
“My guys wanted to learn how to capture bears,” Martin told the Langley Advance Times.
It was a beneficial experience for all concerned, including the bear, who suffered a potentially serious injury from a tranquilizer dart fired by a conservation officer, Martin related.
“He [the officer] hit him in one of the main veins and one of our guys was able to stop the bleeding,” Martin described.
A photo taken at the scene shows the tranquilized bear sporting a bandage on one paw.
Now named “Beary,” the cub is recovering at Critter Care.
Martin said the joint operation was proposed by the BC conservation officer service (BCCOS).
“We’re working more together,” Martin remarked.
“We hope we can do good together.”
Langley Advance Times has reached out to the conservation officer service for comment concerning the Nov. 23 outing.
It appeared to mark an easing in the sometimes testy relationship between the two sides, according to a number of online comments reacting to the joint operation.
Tania Aba said “I’m so glad to see a story about rescuing bears , instead of killing them,” while Corinne Robson said, “I hope this is the start of a much needed overhaul within the BCCOS to put the animals’ best interests first. I am thrilled that you are now being included in the rescues and hope that this is the start of a long and fruitful relationship with the BCCOS that benefits the bears.”
Earlier this year, Critter Care said conservation officers need to be better trained after an emaciated bear cub was brought to the animal rescue group covered in ice.
According to the complaint by the animal rescue agency, the year-old bear arrived at the centre from Port Moody at 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 14 after being driven by a B.C. conservation officer in an open-sided kennel in the bed of an open truck bed.
The bear, which weighed 40 pounds, was also given nearly three times the necessary amount of sedation for an animal his size, the society claimed.
The Ministry of Environment defended officer training in an emailed statement that maintained the bear cub was tranquilized to ensure its safety before being placed in a protected enclosure inside the back of the officers truck.
Critter Care, located in Langley’s Campbell Valley Regional Park, is a rescue and rehabilitation facility for injured and abandoned wild animals.
They take in everything from tiny flying squirrels up to black bears, mostly cubs left orphaned near human habitation.
The society recently finished building it’s fourth bear enclosure, a four-month project that cost more than $100,000.