Injured bear cub found in Labrador West

At this time of year most black bears are supposed to be hibernating, but a man in Labrador West found a badly injured bear cub alone in the woods on one of the coldest days yet this year.
A badly injured bear cub in Wabush refused to eat when offered food. Conservation officers were forced to put the bear down. (Courtesy Chuck Porter)

At this time of year most black bears are supposed to be hibernating, but a man in Labrador West found a badly injured bear cub alone in the woods on one of the coldest days yet this year.

Chuck Porter, a conservation officer in Wabush, said the man spotted the bear bloody and covered in ice near Albert Lake in -30 C temperatures.

"He ascertained that it was safe to even go near the animal. He picked it up and just placed it into a pet kennel," Porter said.

The man contacted conservation officers, who rushed to get to the animal.

Chuck Porter says the conservation officers are usually able to save injured animals that they come across, but the most humane solution for the bear cub was to put it down. (CBC)

Porter said what they saw when they arrived was heartbreaking and graphic.

"It had a serious scar on its face," he said.

"It was quite disfigured, actually, and part of its face had been missing entirely due to some sort of an object, possibly a snare of some sort. It must have got caught in something."

They tried to feed the cub, who Porter said was in obvious pain, but it was unresponsive to any food.

"At that point the animal was in a state of … you know, it was suffering so much, so at that point in time we made the decision that we had to put it down," he said.

According to Porter, getting a report of an injured bear at this time of year was a surprise.

"To see them out that time of the year, the first week in December, is really unusual," he said. "It's the first time I've seen it, actually."

Porter said they get a lot of reports about injured animals, and that he encourages people to report anything similar in nature.

"[People] want to help an animal, and that's heartwarming to see that aspect of it. So anytime someone sees an animal that's injured like that they can certainly give us a call," Porter said.

"Between themselves and us, we'll do whatever we can to rehabilitate that animal and put it back into its natural state again."

Porter said conservation officers are usually able to save injured animals, but added that in this case putting the animal down was the most humane thing they could have done.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.