Rare white raven, 2 orphaned bear cubs nursed back to health at B.C. wildlife rescue centre

Founder and operations manager of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, Robin Campbell, shows a rare white raven being nursed back to health. (Michael Briones photo)Founder and operations manager of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, Robin Campbell, shows a rare white raven being nursed back to health. (Michael Briones photo)
Founder and operations manager of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, Robin Campbell, shows a rare white raven being nursed back to health. (Michael Briones photo)Founder and operations manager of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, Robin Campbell, shows a rare white raven being nursed back to health. (Michael Briones photo)
The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington has two new black bear orphaned cubs in care. (Michael Briones photo)The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington has two new black bear orphaned cubs in care. (Michael Briones photo)

An iconic rare bird and two orphaned bear cubs are currently in the care of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington.

The juvenile raven was brought to the centre approximately one week ago and was in rough shape, said Derek Downes, one of the animal care technicians tasked with nursing it back to health.

“It was on the ground and it suffered some injuries to its feet,” said Downes. “They’re an extremely rare mutation, well-documented in this part of the world, specifically the (Parksville Qualicum Beach) area, which is why they have been dubbed the sacred white raven.”

The centre has occasionally cared for white ravens over the years but the survival chances for the birds has been slim. Unofficially, according to Downes, they’ve known of only one that has made it all the way to adulthood.

READ MORE: Legend continues as iconic white raven spotted again in Coombs

“They typically don’t do very well,” said Downes. “They have compromised immune systems, so we’re really, really trying very hard with this one. We’ve learned in the past of what we can do to help it and we’re hoping with this one we’re going to have some success.”

The white raven is not feeding on its own and had to be force-fed, using a tube. Downes said it is getting stronger and improving each day.

“We ran a course of antibiotics on him and numerous vitamins and minerals to try to help boost his immune system because that seems to be what lacks with these white ravens,” he said. “We’re really hoping for the best.”

Downes welcomes the rare knowledge he is picking up from the experience of treating the raven.

“This is my first time handling one,” said Downes. “I have seen photos and videos but never actually seen one up close and been able to actually be hands on in helping and trying to help this bird survive. It’s a really magical thing.”

While the white raven is generating plenty of attention, the centre is also busy caring for two orphaned black bear cubs, after conservation officers rescued them from the Woss area near Campbell River.

“We were able to luckily get them and they were still in great condition,” said Downes. “They haven’t been on their own for very long so these cubs stand a really, really great chance. They have a long journey with us ahead but these cubs are in good hands now and thankfully we’re able to do everything we can. They should be able to go back home sometime next year.”

The centre is also nearly ready to release three black bears rescued a year ago, including ‘Crumpet’ who was only 2.2 pounds when brought to the centre. They will be released at the location where they were found on Vancouver Island.

“The old ones are going home and the new ones are coming in for help,” said Downes. “It’s an amazing thing to witness and and amazing to be a part of. It’s really emotional to think about all the trials and tribulations that those orphan cubs have gone through and to now be on the precipice of going back home.”

The founder of the centre, Robin Campbell, is proud of the work they’ve been doing in more than two decades to help distressed and orphaned bears become healthy and be able to return to their natural habitat.

“Bears are very difficult and there’s a huge challenge in doing bears,” said Campbell. “It’s a huge responsibility that we took on over 25 years ago. We have released hundreds of bears back in the wild. But it never changes.”

Campbell relishes the thought of the bears’ first night of freedom, with no walls to limit their movements and open to the elements and natural surroundings.

“This is so exciting for us, not only for all our successes but also for our failures,” said Campbell. “And it is so emotional for us. All animals are very important from small birds to the bears. It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s such a thrill when you can have a few successes.”

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

ParksvillevancouverislandWildlife

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP say Gemina Mitchell (inset) was last seen on May 9, 2021. (File photo/Contributed photo)
Missing Surrey woman last seen May 9

Police are asking for help locating Gemina Mitchell

Earl Marriott Mariners football coach Michael Mackay-Dunn (centre, wearing white hat) is retiring from teaching and coaching. (EMS Football photo)
Longtime Earl Marriott Secondary teacher, football coach retires

Michael Mackay-Dunn hangs up coaching whistle after 22 years

William Henry Rawlison was last seen on Sunday, June 20, 2021. (Contributed photo)
Police looking for missing White Rock senior

William Rawlison, last seen on June 20, may be driving to Kamloops

Natalie Brown and Colten Wilke star in the feature film Thunderbird, co-produced by South Surrey-raised Michael Morrison and released this month in Canada, the U.S and the U.K. (Contributed photo)
South Surrey-raised producer helps bring ‘Thunderbird’ to the screen

Michael Morrison guides B.C.-shot thriller with First Nations connection

File photo
Surrey Board of Trade vows ‘a lot of noise’ will be made about tax increases

Huberman calls for comprehensive tax review at all levels of government

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

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

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Paul Bernardo is shown in this courtroom sketch during Ontario court proceedings via video link in Napanee, Ont., on October 5, 2018. Teen killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo is set for a parole hearing today. The designated dangerous offender, has been eligible for full parole for more than three years. Bernardo’s horrific crimes in the 1980s and early 1990s include for kidnapping, torturing and killing Kristen French and Leslie Mahaffy near St. Catharines, Ont. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Greg Banning
Killer rapist Paul Bernardo faces parole hearing today; victim families opposed

Designated dangerous offender has been eligible for full parole for more than three years.

People look over the damage after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal, Monday, June 21, 2021. Dozens of homes were damaged and one death has been confirmed. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
One dead and extensive damage as tornado hits Mascouche, Que., north of Montreal

Damage reported in several parts of the city, and emergency teams dispatched to sectors hardest hit

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Most Read