News / Calgary

Leave injured bear alone, say Alberta wildlife officials

Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers say humans shouldn't try to help the animal— there's a strong chance it could heal during hibernation (and there could be a $50K fine).

Officials say anyone approaching the animal — even with the best of intentions — could face charges of harassing wildlife, which could mean a fine of up to $50,000.

AP FILE

Officials say anyone approaching the animal — even with the best of intentions — could face charges of harassing wildlife, which could mean a fine of up to $50,000.

CALGARY — Concerns are growing for the safety of an injured young bear that has spent the last few weeks limping around a field west of Calgary.

Environmental groups say they want to help the animal, but Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers say humans should not intervene.

In the meantime, curious onlookers have been flocking to the area and officials are worried about traffic safety concerns and the possibility someone may try to approach the young bear.

No one knows exactly how the bear injured its leg but an animal-lover recently posted online footage of it limping and trying to avoid a coyote.

Fish and Wildlife officials have told CTV News that biologists and officers believe the animal — believed to be between 18 months and three years old — should be left alone as there is a strong chance it could heal during hibernation.

They say anyone approaching the animal — even with the best of intentions — could face charges of harassing wildlife, which could mean a fine of up to $50,000.

Clio Smeeton of the Cochrane Ecological Institute says concerns regarding interactions between the bear and the public would disappear if her organization was provided a permit authorizing a rescue.

The institute is a government-certified bear facility and Smeeton has been pressuring the province to approve the collection and treatment of the young bear for the last two weeks.

“It’s in the government’s hands,” says Smeeton. “They know they’ve approved the facilities. They know the facilities were built for bears. They can give us a temporary shelter permit and everyone will be happy, hopefully, if it’s not too late (for the bear).”

Smeeton refers to the government’s inaction on the issuing of a permit as "cruel and unusual punishment" against the animal.

“We want it. We will take it. We have the facilities and the expertise to take it,” says Smeeton. “But they are the ones that have to say `here’s the permit.' ”

(CTV Calgary)

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