Littlefoot grizzly bear cub released back into wild
The orphaned cub hibernated alone and hungry - until he was rescued this June
Littlefoot, a grizzly cub who lost his mother last fall, has been released back into the wild near Cranbrook, B.C..
The orphaned cub was found this June after hibernating alone. He was severely underweight, weighing only 22 kilograms.
Since then he has been nursed back to health by Northern Lights Wildlife Society, which runs Grizzly Rehab, a pilot project rescuing motherless cubs.
Littlefoot, now weighing a hearty 65 kilograms, was released on Tuesday away from human activity near the area where he was found last year.
Society founder Peter Langen said Littlefoot was a playful bear who liked to get people's attention while being rehabilitated.
"He is a really gentle character...Grizzlies are far more intelligent than black bears, I think," said Langen. "It's the nicest thing, especially on a day like this, when you see an animal can go into freedom again."
The cub joins 12 other grizzly bears rescued as part of the Grizzly Rehab project then released back into the wild.
Langen's wife and society co-founder Angelika Langen says she believes it is the only official grizzly bear rehabilitation project in Canada.
"So far most of the bears have done really well," said Langen. "It's giving us a really good understanding of the bears...and as the numbers of bears dwindle, rehabilitation might become much more important."
Littlefoot was microchipped, eartagged, tattooed and fitted with a satellite collar before his release and will be monitored for the next 18 months.