Makoon and the Purpose of Wildlife Rehab

Makoon stayed at a home in St. Malo until wildlife officials seized him. (Rachel Walford/Canadian Press)

Makoon stayed at a home in St. Malo until wildlife officials seized him. (Rachel Walford/Canadian Press)

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Most people who spot a bear by the side of the road don't approach it. But Rene Dubois was so sure the bear cub he saw was orphaned, he took it home and cared for it... evening naming the cab Makoon. Then Manitoba Conservation authorities stepped in, and the bear was re-introduced into the wild. That move has met with howls of protest, by those who think the release was akin to a death sentence. When it comes to wild animals, what does genuine kindness look like?


Part Two of The Current

Makoon and the Purpose of Wildlife Rehab- Humane Society of Canada

Makoon may be the most famous black bear to come out of northern Canada since Winnie the Pooh. Though Makoon is unlikely to achieve that kind of immortality -- if, that is, he's even still alive. Makoon was a cub when Rene Dubois found him on the side of a road in Manitoba and felt he had to rescue him. That was back in April.

Rene Dubois tried to give the bear a chance at his home, but it was seized by Manitoba Conservation and taken to the Assiniboine Zoo. Then last week, Makoon was released along with another orphaned black bear somewhere in the Manitoba woods. The bear's return to the wild has sparked a public outcry.

There have been petitions and protests, and later today demonstrators are expected at the Assiniboine Park Zoo in Winnipeg once again to rally on its behalf. The Humane Society of Canada says releasing a five-month-old cub into the wild is a death sentence. Michael O'Sullivan is chair of that organization and he was in Toronto.

Makoon and the Purpose of Wildlife Rehab- Manitoba Conservation

Since Makoon's release, Jim Duncan has answered a lot of angry phone calls. He's the director of the wildlife branch of Manitoba Conservation and he joined us from Winnipeg.

Makoon and the Purpose of Wildlife Rehab- International Wildlife Rehabliliation Council

The fact that there is so much debate over what's best for Makoon underlines how complex the issues are surrounding orphaned and injured wildlife.

Kai Williams is the Executive Director of the International Wildlife Rehabliliation Council and she was in Eugene, Oregon.

This segment was produced by The Current's Shannon Higgins and network producer Suzanne Dufresne.

Last Word - The World Conference on Disaster Management

The last word goes to The Current's Julia Pagel. Canadians are anxiously watching the rescue efforts at the Algo Centre mall in Elliot Lake. The World Conference on Disaster Management is meeting this week in Toronto. The mall collapse isn't an official conference topic, but the attendees are paying close attention.

Other segments from today's show: