On Friday, May 25th we were notified that a Hot Springs Tour Boat spotted a deceased black bear sow in Ross Pass. They reported that there was a cub with the black bear's body. John, Michelle from Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society and myself jumped into the Eco and headed up to have a look. We arrived in Ross Pass around 5:00 PM and saw a Black Bear laying on a cliff not moving and a tiny cub laying on the mother black bear. We anchored the boat and John headed up to have a look. The black bear was laying on the ground with no visible trauma or wounds. You could see that the cub had been breastfeeding on the mother after she had died. John looked for the cub and it was hiding in a hole beneath him. He tied to pick it up but it was spooked and climbed a tree. We got back in the boat and moved off to see if it would come down. It did. We tried again to get the orphaned cub but it went back up another tree. We were going to loose light and made the hard decision to come back in the morning. We were all worried that predators would take the cub in the night.
John and I woke up at 5:30 am. We launched the Lil Salty and headed up to Ross Pass. When we arrived on scene I told John that I would put the boat up to the island and he should jump off and quietly creep up to the cub. If it was still there. Within minutes we could see the cub moving and laying on its dead mother. John quietly walked up to the mother's body to pick up the cub. It saw him and moved into the hole. He patiently waited for it to come back out to lay on its mother. It did and he was able to pick it up and carry it back to the boat. It was screaming. My heart was breaking listening to its screams but I knew this was its only chance to survive.
The cub was distressed and looked thirty. We fed it some water and checked it over. The cub was so adorable! We had brought a pet crate to transport the cub back to Tofino. We put towels over it to keep it dark and it was quiet on the boat ride back. We took the cub back to our house and called the conservation office and the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. Plans were made for us to meet a conservation officer in Port Alberni so he could transport the cub to the centre.
We have had updates that the cub is doing well, feeding and being checked by a vet. We hope to adopt the cub and help pay for her expenses while she is in the centre. Eventually she will be released back here when she is ready to be on her own in the wild. We are elated that we could help make a difference. We make our living off of Bear Watching in Tofino so we will always give back to the bears.
Thanks for all your kind words and support. We never think twice about jumping in the boat to help both wildlife and humans whenever we can.