Escaped 'spirit' bear back in its B.C. pen
A rare, white bear gave conservation officers a Halloween fright of their own after escaping from its pen Tuesday.
The 18-month-old male Kermode bear, named Clover, was eventually recaptured, but controversy continues over why it was taken into captivity in the first place.
The abandoned cub was found near an archeological site outside Terrace, B.C., and officials said they determined it had lost its fear of humans and couldn't be left in the wild.
"It's great for the park," said spokesman Glen Grant. "Unfortunate for the bear that he ended up in the circumstances that he ended up in, but we were more than happy to provide him a home."
But Clover had another plan and just hours into his stay at the park, he broke out, squeezing through an opening in the roof of his pen.
The white bear was found Wednesday morning in a ravine two kilometres away, eating berries.
Conservation officers tranquilized him and returned him to the park.
It’s estimated that fewer than 1,000 of the so-called "spirit bears" are in the wild, mainly along B.C.’s central and north coasts.
The white bears had a special role in some First Nations legends, hence the reference to "spirit."
The Wilderness Committee, a B.C.-based environmental organization, questions why Clover wasn't relocated to a remote area, as are many bears who come into human contact.
Committee policy director Gwen Barlee said she’s concerned the bear will become a commodity and "all of a sudden it becomes sort of a financial jackpot for this zoo."
The park says efforts were made to reintroduce Clover to the wild.
For now, plans are being made for a permanent and secure closure for the bear.
With files from the CBC's Emily Elias