Teddy Bear News


Grizzly Cubs Released in Canada
Author: teddygirl | Saturday September 10, 2011


The following is from International Fund for Animal Welfare, an organization that protects animals and their environments worldwide.

UPDATED – VIDEO: Free At Last, Canadian Grizzly Cub Tracking Begins
2011/06/27 By Michael Booth Comments (51)

Grizzly Bear Release Update

22 July, 2011

The release of the four bears went without a hitch. Lori and Dean went first and in fact it was quite dramatic to see the bears in nets being lifted by helicopter. The pilot lowered them down without even a bump. Then it was Drew and Jason’s turn and they were released in a slightly different place in Bella Coola.

The satellite collars are working well and the bears’ movements are checked daily.

Jason and Drew started out traveling together continue to stick close to each other. Lori and Dean separated immediately and went their separate ways.

All the bears seem to doing well and have moved from the valleys to areas around 1200 meters above sea level close to the snowline, although Jason and Drew have begun to come down the other side of the mountain they went over.

They are spending time in specific areas before moving on to the next – normal grizzly bear behavior which is what we like to see!

UPDATE: 19 July:

Dean made a drastic change in his travel pattern and swam the lake and is now near a large mountain at 1400 meters.

He traveled pretty rapidly out of his area, so I guess he encountered some trouble. Maybe it was a territory dispute?

Gail A’Brunzo

ORIGINAL POST

On Saturday, the International Fund for Animal Welfare joined partners Northern Lights Wildlife Society (NLWS) and the BC Ministry of Environment to release four rehabilitated orphan grizzly bears in Canada.

This was our third grizzly release but by far our most complex one. It involved double the numbers of bears, a much longer trans-location and many logistical challenges along the way.

As you read in previous blog posts, the four bears: Lori, Dean, Jason, Drew had arrived to the NLWS shelter several months ago needing immediate care to survive their traumatic ordeal. Looking at them now, it’s easy to forget their troubled past.

“They are huge!” exclaimed our bear expert Dr. John Beecham. John has seen his share of bears in the past 35 years. He has traveled to all corners of the world to work in bear-human conflict issues and bear rehabilitation projects.

One look was all he needed to know that the bears looked great. “Yes they are big, not fat, just very big, about two or three times as much as their wild counterparts, but that’s not a bad thing” he said.

Then he explained in detail how bears grow faster when they have a constant food supply while under captivity but once they are released those extra reserves will give them a head start as they learn how to be wild again.

There will be less pressure to get in optimal shape ahead of months of hibernation and, gradually after two or three years, they will likely be even in size and weight to wild grizzlies.

The move was full of challenges, we had unpredictable weather, a 16-hour transport by land and a final air journey to the release site – all along having the responsibility of four very stressed-out 300+lb bears.

Not surprisingly, the highlight of the operation was the last push to freedom, a dramatic airlift and release of the bears back to the wild. And what a location to call home! The Bella Coola valley is a breathtaking setting.

Snow-capped mountains, pine trees as far as the eye can see, lakes, rivers – yes, rivers full of salmon for the grizzlies and shrubs full of berries, a pristine and isolated environment, miles from the closest human.

I was in very good company aboard the helicopter. First of all our expert pilot who during the boreal summers flies helicopters in the Arctic, had plenty of polar bear experience, not bad for a summer job eh?

Drew Milne, a British Columbia Conservation Officer was there to guarantee we were all safe, grizzlies and humans. It was evident that he had a soft spot for Drew the grizzly, named after him after protecting the bear when he was just a newly orphaned cub and making a call to Angelika and Peter who manage the NLWS shelter. You could sense his joy as we all watched his grizzly namesake slowly waking up from his anesthesia, free at last.

Our other companion was Peter Langen. Peter was the keeper of the bears for all these months and as expected it was a bitter-sweet moment for him. He was of visibly happy and excited but also concerned for their safety.

At the end of the operation he urged the helicopter to make on more turn into the valley in which we had dropped off siblings Lori and Dean. This was not just to get a second photo op, it was to see if Lori was up and about, we had left her breathing regularly but showing very little body motion.

Our heart stopped for a few seconds there when we hovered around Lori, still in the same location where we left her. We all started drawing the worst of conclusions when suddenly as the helicopter lowered and kicked up sand and wind beneath us, Lori jumped up looked directly at us as if saying ‘leave me alone already’.

Jubilation broke the silence over the helicopter intercom with a single message: ‘she’s fine – they are all fine’ time now for them to be alone.

Well, not completely alone, we are still keeping a close eye on them.

In fact, a satellite up in space helps us pinpoint their exact location and track their movement every 4 hours for the next year and a half! All four grizzlies are fitted with satellite collars so stay tuned and remember to visit IFAW.org for updates on how they are all doing.

– MB

For more information on the International Fund for Animal Welfare effort to save animals in crisis around the world, visit http://www.ifaw.org

Grizzly Bear Release Update

22 July, 2011



The release of the four bears went without a hitch. Lori and Dean went first and in fact it was quite dramatic to see the bears in nets being lifted by helicopter. The pilot lowered them down without even a bump. Then it was Drew and Jason’s turn and they were released in a slightly different place in Bella Coola.



The satellite collars are working well and the bears’ movements are checked daily. Jason and Drew started out traveling together continue to stick close to each other. Lori and Dean separated immediately and went their separate ways. All the bears seem to doing well and have moved from the valleys to areas around 1200 meters above sea level close to the snowline, although Jason and Drew have begun to come down the other side of the mountain they went over. They are spending time in specific areas before moving on to the next – normal grizzly bear behavior which is what we like to see!



UPDATE: Yesterday (19 July), Dean made a drastic change in his travel pattern and swam the lake and is now near a large mountain at 1400 meters. He traveled pretty rapidly out of his area, so I guess he encountered some trouble. Maybe it was a territory dispute?



Gail

For more information, visit International Fund for Animal Welfare website.


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