Man who took wild bear cubs to a Grand Forks motel may face charges

‘They’ll never have the chance to be bears,’ said Conservation Officer Mark Walkoksy

Conservation Service Officers in Grand Forks are considering Wildlife act charges after two bear cubs were recently taken from a logging road north of the city.

Conservation officer Mark Walkosky said the cubs, now at an accredited wildlife facility, would likely be with their mother had it not been for the well-intentioned but misguided actions of a man who took the bears from their natural habitat. They would likely have a poor chance of survival if they were returned to the wild, he said.

The roughly 50-day-old male black bears were spotted on March 24, after Walkosky and forest ministry biologists believe road work disturbed the bears’ den, roughly 23 kilometres up Lynch Creek forest service road. Thinking the cubs had been abandoned, Waslkosky said the road crew waited for roughly two hours for the mother bear to return. When the sow didn’t turn up, Walkosky said a crew member drove the cubs to his motel in Grand Forks, where the animals spent the night.

Conservation Service Officer Mark Walkosky is warning residents never to approach wildlife on their own. Anyone who thinks they’ve seen an animal in distress should immediately call the 24 hr RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277, he said. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Conservation Service Officer Mark Walkosky is warning residents never to approach wildlife on their own. Anyone who thinks they’ve seen an animal in distress should immediately call the 24 hr RAPP line at 1-877-952-7277, he said. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Walkosky soon met the man and the animals at the motel, following a report to the Report All Poachers and Polluters (RAPP) hotline. Fresh tracks left at the den site the next morning suggested that the mother bear and a third cub had come back overnight. Walkosky explained that mother bears are known to leave their cubs alone for up to a day at a time, repeatedly stressing that only qualified professionals should approach wild animals, regardless of age.

Watching from trail cameras left at the scene, Conservation and forest ministry biologists then left the cubs near their den for around 48 hours, hoping the mother bear would come back again. She didn’t.

The bears have been put in the care of the Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers, where co-founder and manager Angelika Langen said they are happily putting on weight. The bears will be re-introduced to the wild next June, likely near where they were found, she said.

Langen said she was hopeful that the bears would re-adjust to the wild, but Walkosky was less optimistic.

“They’ll never have the chance to be bears,” he said, adding, “They won’t get trained by a mom about where to find food and security in the forest.”

Re-introduced bears can make it in the wild but their chances of survival are generally much lower than bears who grow up with their moms, he noted.

Walksoksy also warned that approaching wild bear cubs can be very dangerous.

“If someone decides that they want to handle a bear cub, there’s always the very real possibility that the sow is nearby, watching,” he said.

Mother bears won’t hesitate to maul humans they perceive as threatening their cubs, which Walkosky said has killed people in the past.

The man who took the bears fully cooperated with investigators, but could face a $230 fine for unlawful possession of wildlife under the provincial Wildlife act.

The Conservation Service Office strongly recommends that people leave wildlife well enough alone. Anyone who thinks they may have come across an animal in distress is asked to call the 24-hour RAPP hotline at 1-877-952-7277.


 

@ltritsch1
laurie.tritschler@grandforksgazette.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.


laurie.tritschler@boundarycreektimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

bearsGrand Forks

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Traffic was tied up at the intersection of Scott and Old Yale Roads in North Surrey on Tuesday afternoon, after a semi truck hauling a load of pipes flipped while making a turn. (Shane MacKichan photos)
VIDEO: Semi hauling load of pipes flips in North Surrey intersection

Traffic near Scott and Old Yale Roads tied up by Tuesday afternoon incident

Photo collage of loved ones lost to substance use and overdose. (Photo courtesy Moms Stop The Harm)
B.C. overdose deaths still rising five years after public health emergency declared

Moms Stop the Harm calls on B.C. to provide safe supply in response to deadly illicit drug use

Sheila Malcolmson, B.C.’s minister of mental health and addictions (Screen shot)
Minister of mental health tells Surrey audience COVID-19 ‘has made everything worse’

More than 23,000 people in B.C. are receiving medication to treat opioid addiction

Farmers raise slogans during a protest on a highway at the Delhi-Haryana state border, India, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020. Tens of thousands of farmers descended upon the borders of New Delhi to protest new farming laws that they say will open them to corporate exploitation. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Manish Swarup
Delta council stands in solidarity with protesting Indian farmers

Farmers have been protesting for months new laws they say leave them open to corporate exploitation

A sign posted to a tree in Maccaud Park urges people to email White Rock City Council and oppose the construction of pickleball courts in the park. (Contributed photo)
White Rock council deems Maccaud Park pickleball courts out of bounds

Unanimous vote against constructing courts follows public feedback

Restaurant patrons enjoy the weather on a patio in Vancouver, B.C., Monday, April 5, 2021. The province has restricted indoor dining at all restaurants in B.C. due to a spike in COVID-19 numbers. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 indoor dining, drinking ban extending into May

Restaurant association says patio rules to be clarified

Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship in the world. Photo provided and colourized by Jiri Ferdinand.
QUIZ: How much do you know about the world’s most famous shipwreck?

Titanic sank 109 years ago today, after hitting an iceberg

In a 2019 photograph, Yin Yin Din held a picture of her brother Kyaw Naing Din, 54, and her late father Hla Din who passed away in 2014, during a trip to Victoria. (The News files)
Family of B.C. man killed by cop appeals to Attorney General for help

The Din family want B.C. Attorney General David Eby to forward their case to Crown

B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
Tougher COVID-19 restrictions in B.C., including travel, still ‘on the table’: Horgan

John Horgan says travel restrictions will be discussed Wednesday by the provincial cabinet

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Protesters occupied a road leading to Fairy Creek Watershed near Port Renfrew. (Submitted photo)
B.C. First Nation says logging activist interference not welcome at Fairy Creek

Vancouver Island’s Pacheedaht concerned about increasing polarization over forestry activities

Flow Academy is not accepting membership applications from anybody who has received a dose of the vaccine, according to a password-protected membership application form. (Submitted image)
B.C. martial arts gym refusing patrons who have been vaccinated, wear masks

Interior Health has already issued a ticket to Flow Academy for non-compliance with public health orders

Of 46 arrests made between March 16 and 19 at Metrotown mall in Burnaby, 27 suspected shoplifters are now facing charges. (Twitter/Burnaby RCMP)
RCMP arrest 46 people in 4 days during Metrotown shoplifting crackdown

$4,800 in stolen merchandise was recovered and returned to businesses inside of the mall

Maple Ridge's Doug Ubell caught some photographs recently that he was anxious to share, one taken while on the Trans-Canada Trail looking southwest towards the Pitt River Bridge, and another from on Golden Ears Bridge. (Special to The News)
Traffic on Golden Ears Bridge returning to pre-pandemic levels

Commuters from Greater Vancouver still driving more, taking transit less

Most Read