A Langley-based wildlife society is calling for the province to better train conservation officers after an emaciated bear cub was brought to the animal rescue group covered in ice.
According to Critter Care Wildlife Society, the year-old bear arrived at the centre from Port Moody at 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 14 after being driven by a B.C. conservation officer in an open-sided kennel in the bed of an open truck bed.
Temperatures that evening were about -9 C amid the most recent winter storm.
In a video posted to the group’s social media accounts, staff can be seen running their hands through the bear’s ice-ridden fur.
The bear, which weighed 40 pounds, was also given nearly three times the necessary amount of sedation for an animal his size, the society claims.
“The addition of not being kept warm could have resulted in the bear cub dying,” Critter Care said, adding that stafff offered the officer some blankets to keep in his truck but he said it wasn’t necessary.
Since arriving at the centre, the bear has been under round-the-clock care and was able to be brought “back from the brink,” the society said. It’s the 29th bear at the centre.
But the group is reiterating its calls for conservation officers to receive more training.
“Protocols and policies need to be revised in the conservation department. Correct sedation, better transport, better education on the behaviour and ecology of not only black bears, but all of B.C wildlife.”
The Ministry of Environment said in an emailed statement to Black Press Media that the bear cub was tranquilized to ensure its safety before being placed in a protected enclosure inside the back of the officers truck and rushed to a wildlife rehabilitation facility.
“Conservation officers are trained in the proper handling and care of animals, which includes guidance from our provincial wildlife veterinarian on the safe transportation of bear cubs to rehabilitation centres,” the statement reads.