Some of the 18 bears at Critter Care. The facility has reached capacity. (Critter Care photo)

Wildlife bear rehab centre runs out of room

With 18 bears, Critter Care founder says they can’t handle any more orphaned cubs

Critter Care Wildlife Society in Langley has run out of room to accommodate orphaned bear cubs.

Founder Gail Martin said the wildlife rehabilitation facility has 18 bears, the most it has ever had at this time of year, and cannot accept any more.

“I would save them all if we could, but we can’t,” Martin told the Langley Advance Times.

So far, she said, the centre hasn’t had to turn any cubs away.

Last week, three cubs arrived from Port Moody after conservation officer killed two adult bears that had been going through trash in the Parkside Drive area.

Martin said the last time the wildlife rehabilitation centre had an unusually high number of bears, it went over capacity with 32 about four years ago.

“We would never do that again,” Martin said.

“They wrecked the cages, and when you have that many bears, you have to release them before they are completely ready. We want to do the best we can for the ones we have.”

READ MORE: VIDEO: Critter Care open house

Critter Care estimated that each bear costs a minimum of $10,000 to rehab.

A “save our bears” fundraiser campaign has been launched to raise $200,000 at crittercarewildlife.org.

All of the orphaned cubs will have to winter with Critter Care until the spring when they are old enough and strong enough to have another chance in the wild.

Martin said people need to keep their garbage contained, to prevent bears from invading residential areas.

There isn’t another facility that can rehabilitate bears in the Lower Mainland, Martin observed.

There is one on the island, but it can only deal with bears from the island, she explained.

So far this year, she noted, Conservation Officers have had to put down nearly 300 bears.

Martin would like to see more attempts at relocating animals, rather than shooting them.

“I know they say it doesn’t work [because bears can return], but a chance is better than no chance.”

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