By Monique Tamminga/Special to the Langley Advance Times
It took crawling through blackberry bushes and partially climbing a tree, but staff at Critter Care managed to rescue a starving bear cub from Maple Ridge last Wednesday.
“Neighbours could hear the baby crying for at least four days without any mamma bear showing up,” said Critter Care’s Maureen Binnie. “Poor little guy. Something must have happened to his mom because there is no way she would leave him alone to fend for himself.”
The brown bear cub came into Critter Care’s triage centre to be weighed in. He was only eight pounds, said Binnie.
He was sent to wildlife veterinarian Ken Macquiston to get a full check over as all the animals do when first brought to Critter Care, said Binnie.
Critter Care founder Gail Martin will spend her Easter weekend bottle feeding the cub and providing round-the-clock care.
“She loves it and wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Binnie about Martin’s 20 years of dedication to helping B.C.’s wildlife.
Once strong enough, the bear will be moved to a large enclosure at Critter Care where it will learn climbing and survival skills and be fed well. The end goal is for the cub to be re-released back to the wild when he is the right weight, likely next spring.
This cub is one of six living at Critter Care rehabilitation centre, the Lower Mainland’s only facility that can take in injured and orphaned wildlife.
This cub’s story is just one of thousands at Critter Care.
Each year, the Langley facility takes in hundreds of wildlife, including fawns, beaver, river otters, raccoons, coyotes, opossums, flying squirrels and even bobcats like Bobbi.
In October, Critter Care got a call that someone had a baby bobcat living in their basement in Burnaby.
Two weeks later another call came in, giving the address of where the bobcat was located.
Critter Care staff rushed to the house and found an emaciated bobcat kitten in a dog kennel.
“The woman acted very nervous, changed her story a few times and said she thought it was a domestic cat,” said Binnie, president of Critter Care Wildlife Society.
When they brought in the kitten, it weighed 3.5 kilograms and was seven weeks old. Now, Bobbi, the bobcat, is showing all the signs and behaviours of a wild cat and is more than ready to be released, said Binnie.
An animal that has stolen the hearts of all the staff, interns and volunteers is Otto, the river otter.
The baby otter was rescued from the wild with a severe injury to its nose. Because of its injury, it needed round the clock care, help with bottles and medication. It also couldn’t be with the other otters which is difficult because they are very social.
His caregivers worried about his ability to swim, hold his breath and feed given he could only use one nostril. They also worried his injury might ruin his chances of going back to the wild.
After some initial fears of the water were conquered, Otto was swimming and diving just like any otter.
He always showed his determination and now a playful, cheeky side was emerging.
When his nose was beginning to heal, he was introduced to the other otters. His unique character caught the eye of Orchid, the otter, and the two became inseparable. You can see videos of the pair wrestling, swimming and playing together on Critter Care’s Facebook page.
Seeing they were ready to return to the wild, the adorable otters were released together this month.
Now staff, interns and volunteers are slaving away with cleaning and organizing incubators, kennels and cages to be ready to accept this cycle of babies and patients that come with spring and summer.
Critter Care is a non-profit organization that has given thousands of B.C. wildlife a second chance. They are able to do that because of generous donations to the centre and years of support from the community.
One way, you can show your support for Critter Care is by attending their 20th anniversary Black and White gala this Saturday, April 27 at the Cascades Casino and Coast Hotel ballroom.
Guests are expected to enjoy a gourmet dinner, live, and silent auction, as well as amazing speakers and special guests. Wildlife veterinarian Ken Macquiston, who spent years caring for the grizzly bears on Grouse Mountain, will talk about the future for these large bears.
HELP ALWAYS NEEDED
There are still a few tickets left so call today at 604-530-2054 or go to www.crittercarewildlife.org.