A male grizzly bear cub named Tika, who was found orphaned, matted and starving near Nicholson in December of 2012, was re-released in the Golden area on July 8.
The cub was rehabilitated by Peter and Angelika Langen of the Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers.
“He came just before Christmas and the first month was touch and go. He was very underweight and had some neurological problems,” Angelika said. “He went from 35 pounds to 162 pounds at his release time. He looked fantastic.”
This was not the first time the group has helped a bear that was near death recuperate.
“We have seen this a lot in black bears. They come in half dead and we provide them some good food and peace and quiet. It is amazing how they can recuperate. Nature is an incredible thing,” she said.
Angelika said that when Tika was being released he moved very cautiously before heading out into the forest.
“He moved very slowly at first but then he started moving away and eating. He was in the transport for two days and we were feeding him but fresh green food was there in front of him and it was just what he likes,” she said.
Overall she was very happy with the way the release went.
“It was as good as it can get. It is important because we want to make sure they are a part of the natural management unit. We do not want to upset the numbers in certain areas by putting more bears than would naturally be there,” she said. “To be able to give them that chance in the wild is incredible.”
Tika now has a new GPS collar which will allow the society to keep track of his movements.
“It uploads to a satellite and then to my computer. I can see where he is wandering and it is amazing,”
Overall the society has 11 grizzlies over the years and they said the tracking collars have proved the animals do not try to go into populated areas. The society runs completely off donations and has seen a great deal of support from people in Golden.
“Without donations we would not be able to do this. We are only funded by donations and grant writing to corporations (with the grant mostly being for projects like building cages). We had a lot of support from Golden. The first big one was the Golden Cinema around Christmas. There were also lots of people who privately sent stuff and also Kicking Horse Resort helped us as well,” said Angelika.
For more information check out www.wildlifeshelter.com.