Vernon and North Okanagan
Pole-ar bear: Safe and sound
Oct 1, 2013 / 7:07 pm
UPDATE 7 p.m. – The Lumby pole bear has now been picked up in Vernon and is on route to Chase Creek before heading north to her new home at the Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers, BC.
“She will live there, like a real bear, for up to a couple years where she will get bigger and stronger and eat and do bear things and then they will release her at a later date. As far as I understand the team there tries to make it as wild as possible,” shares the Conservation Officer who caught the bear Michael Richardson.
Richardson says they got several calls about the pole climbing bear yesterday but were unable to attend because of personnel numbers.
He says they also wanted to give the mother bear a chance to come get her cub at night which they often do, however momma bear never came. The conservation office received several more calls today.
The team assembled and tried to figure out how to get the bear safely down the 25-foot pole.
“It was a little bit of a dicey situation because the pole it was up was very live with hydro and it could have very well got electrocuted if it had touched the wires. So we were very concerned about how we were going to get it down because if we tranquilized it, it could fall and hit one of these wires or fall and hit the roadway so we were kind of in a predicament there,” says Richardson.
Conservation called BC Hydro for assistance. Hydro turned off power to the area to make the pole safe and offered their bucket truck to get up closer to the balancing bear.
Unfortunately the bear didn’t want to get caught and made its way down the pole taking off in a nearby field.
Conservation officers corralled her, tranquilized her, and put her in a crate.
“She was up and around in no time, very alert and in really good shape,” says Richardson.
He was able to get a hold of the Northern Lights Wildlife Society a wildlife rehab centre in Smithers BC that agreed to take on the cub.
“They were able to take it from us and rehabilitate this little bear.”
As it turns out after discussions with the locals in Lumby the bear and its family were living in the corn fields where the power poles are located. Neighbours say there were up to 14 bears living in the corn field at one time. Recently they harvested the corn and cleared the field and so all the bears had scattered.
“We figure this little guy’s mom must have been killed or hit by a vehicle or something because she was nowhere around and she should have picked up her cub,” says Richardson.
Richardson adds that it’s nice to have a happy ending to this story as often the bears are shot.
“We don’t always relocate these bears. If it was a garbage habituated bear or it wasn’t in good shape we probably would have had to put it down.
But because this bear was an agricultural bear that lived in the corn field and had lost its mother, and was still in good shape, we are giving it a second chance and letting it survive, so it’s a good news story.”
UPDATE 5:30 p.m. – The Lumby pole bear is safe and sound and on her way to an animal sanctuary in Smithers, BC.
Full details to follow.
A bear rescue is underway in Lumby.
The small bear, apparently separated from its mother, has a penchant for climbing power polls; now it's on the top of a pole on Creighton Valley Rd.
"The bear was up there yesterday, and then it came down and now it is up another pole," says Ann Verhage.
Lumby RCMP Corporal Prosce says the new Lumby celebrity is a town favourite.
The young bear has been traversing up and down power poles near the corner of Creighton Valley Rd. and the highway.
Prosce says the bear is a happy cub who, "Enjoys the view from atop the pole and enjoys a nice nap there during the day."
In the evening the cub makes his way down for food and then goes back up in the daylight, apparently feeling safe atop its perch.
Prosce believes the cub has been abandoned by its mother and will have a hard time surviving the winter alone.
Conservation Officers have been called, but cannot tranquilize the bear as the 25 foot drop would hurt the cub.
BC Hydro crews and conservation will work together to bring down the animal down safely.
A homeowner in the area confirmed to Castanet that the power has been cut.
"I passed it on the way home and he was still up there and there was a police car there," says Verhage.
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