Bear Rescue Facility
Created September 28, 2011 by Betty Gelean
The impact that our ever expanding human population has on the bears in our Province means less and less undisturbed areas and maps out a collision course of human/bear conflict situations. The results of such conflicts are all too often injured/orphaned cubs. Typically such injured/orphaned cubs are either shot by officials or left to die out in nature.
**Who we are**: NLWS is a volunteer based non-profit registered charity, dedicated to rehabilitating injured and/or orphaned juvenile wildlife back into the wild. Our bear program covers all of BC and we raise funds to provide care and shelter for cubs that are unable to survive on their own. We promote a peaceful coexistence with wildlife through education programs for schools and groups and through consulting with industries. Often we are the only resource that stands between juvenile wildlife and death. As such we don’t only benefit the animals, but also the communities and government of BC by offering a program that offers a sustainable management option. Since most of the injured/orphaned bear cubs result from human interference, NLWS feels that our programs are a suitable solution to minimize the human impact on the BC bear population. Subsequently, we have saved over 220 bears in the past 20 years and also started the world’s first grizzly project in 2007.
**The Problem**: The established program has received a lot of attention and our admitting numbers have risen dramatically. Bear cubs need space to mature physically and mentally in preparation for release and we have sadly outgrown our current facilities.
**Our Solution**: We propose to fence an additional 10000 square feet to accommodated the rising numbers of cubs being admitted and furnish it with shelter and activity opportunities. Funds will be used for building materials and Backhoe labour cost; volunteers will do the manual labour.
**Community impact**: By accepting orphaned cubs we have communications on peaceful co-existence with bears and promote a better community approach to reduce conflict situations, which subsequently will reduce the number of orphaned cubs. The grizzly project has attracted international attention and its current success resulted in the requested mentorship of projects in other countries, such as India, China and Greece. NLWS works with Universities to facilitate studies that improve human/wildlife relations. NLWS receives thousands of calls and e-mails each year to assist the public with wildlife related questions. Through our website (www.wildlifeshelter.com), media and Face book we share our work. This allows us to effectively spread awareness and by working with the BC Government and other wildlife related programs we strive to reduce human/wildlife conflict and casualty situations.
**Youth programs**: NLWS offers a variety of youth related programs. We visit classrooms to educate on the human impact on our wildlife. Furthermore we offer work projects, where classes become involved in the care of our animals. Such projects are in great demand and give the youth a unique opportunity to work for wildlife and experience unique close encounters.
**Environmental Impact**: NLWS creates enclosures that fit into the existing landscape with the least disturbance of the natural habitat. In the past 20 years there have been no negative impacts recorded on the resident wildlife or neighbouring properties and their inhabitants. NLWS uses solar energy for our electric fences, we recycle towels and blankets and take advantage of all donations we may be offered. By working closely with Universities from both BC and around the world we facilitate research studies.
**Likelihood of Success**: This is not a new program; it has been running successfully for 21 years, with no reports of rehabbed cubs turning into nuisance bears. Furthermore we have records of successful survival for several years beyond release and in the case of a female Kermode bear at least two sets of offspring’s.
**Longevity & Sustainability**: NLWS has a longstanding record of sustainability. In the past 21 years we have successfully been funded by donations (both private and corporate) and grant writing. Our membership is growing with each year and allows us the security of providing funding for ongoing operational costs. By operating solely with volunteers the costs encountered consist of animal care cost, veterinary, rescue operations and release costs.
**Originality**: Currently there are only 3 other shelters in BC that are licensed to rehabilitate black bears (but not grizzly). However, these other shelters are rehabilitating only bears orphaned in their immediate regions (Vancouver, Vancouver Island and Dawson Creek). The rest of the communities in BC rely on NLWS to rescue cubs.