New Brunswick

Rescued bear cub 'Buddy' not out of the woods yet

The Atlantic Wildlife Institute says there is still a long road ahead for a bear that was rescued in a New Brunswick family's backyard.

Atlantic Wildlife Institute says cub wouldn't have survived without help from New Brunswick family

A bear cub makes her way under Jeremy Hallihan's deck in Parker Ridge, N.B., this month. (Submiited by Jeremy Hallihan)

A long road to recovery lies ahead for Buddy, the bear cub discovered in the backyard of a Parker Ridge family this month.

The orphaned bear, about the size of a raccoon, was spotted burrowing for rotten apples in Jeremy Hallihan's backyard in the Upper Miramichi community.

"That's what kept her going," said Pam Novak of the Atlantic Wildlife Institute, near Sackville, N.B., where the tiny bear is being cared for.

After a few days, the cub had made its den under a deck near the Hallihan family's swimming pool. Concerned, the family contacted provincial wildlife authorities to help trap the bear, so she could receive proper care.

After a few failed attempts, Buddy was eventually lured into a raccoon trap baited with peanut butter, where she was caged in the family's garage to warm up and was later picked up by wildlife experts.

Health concerns

When Buddy first arrived at the institute, she weighed only 15 pounds and was about two feet in length. 

Novak described this as a red flag, since the bear should have weighed 40 to 60 pounds already.

"She's like the size of a medium raccoon," Novak said. "She's quite behind schedule."

Not only is Buddy underweight, but she's also loaded with internal roundworm parasites, causing a bloated belly. She also has a respiratory infection.


With colder temperatures settling in and a lack of nutrition, Buddy would have been in deep trouble if she hadn't been rescued.

"I don't think she would have survived much longer," she said. "She's a sick little bear."

Novak also said that being alone, which bears don't like, was causing extra stress for the cub.

Buddy, who was born in the spring, has probably been struggling for several months without a mother and other cubs.

Now what?

Right now, Buddy has a space of her own at the institute, where she is recovering.

Novak said the Institute is busy bringing her back to health so she can start growing and be released come spring or summer next year.

"She's got a long road ahead of her," Novak said.

CBC's Shift