Ontario bear sanctuary gives cubs a second chance to go wild
Two different mother bears were shot in the last two weeks — and their cubs needed a place to go
Three orphaned bear cubs from Sudbury are settling into their new home.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry brought the cubs to a bear sanctuary east of Parry Sound on Friday.
The ministry's Sudbury district manager said when bear cubs are orphaned, the ministry tries to get them to animal sanctuaries.
"If these cubs ... are candidates for rehab — and they can become wild bears and aren't going to become a problem in the future — then if we're able to get them to a rehab facility, that's the right thing to do," Trevor Griffin said.
He added that, as long as the cubs aren't accustomed to eating human food, they will usually do well, once released back in the wild.
The cubs are among hundreds of bears who have been given a second chance with the help of the sanctuary.
A caretaker at the Bear with Us centre said he's released more than 360 bears back in to the wild.
Rehabilitating bears is an expensive undertaking.
"It would probably average about $1,000 to feed it and get it back to the wild," Mike McIntosh said.
The sanctuary runs solely on donations.
The bear cubs socialize with other cubs, not humans, so they have the best chances of success when they're released.
"The bears have done no worse than a bear that was in the wild its whole life," McIntosh said.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry is often the one that transports the orphaned bear cubs to McIntosh.
Bears have been brought in from as far away as Moosonee.
"Where we're able to give these cubs a chance to be rehabilitated and go on with their wild lives, they're not the problem," Griffin said.
"So to just [kill] them right off the bat wouldn't be fair to them."
Allowing the cubs to grow into adults also helps contribute to a healthy genetic pool for the species, he added.