I would like to comment on the article concerning the bear rehabilitation situation and I would like to correct the date when the ban on rehabilitating orphaned bear cubs, and a variety of other species, was introduced. It was actually 2010 as stated in the now-defunct Fast Forward weekly paper. That headline read “Erring on the side of ignorance - or is it fear ruling Alberta’s wildlife rehab program?” by Jeff Gailus.
When I read about the demise of Charlie, I was extremely sad, angry, and very frustrated because that little bear was the victim of bureaucracy.This bear’s death could have been avoided if only Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) had not been so insistent and arrogant in its approach to releasing this bear.
Although protocols (apparently) dictate that a bear must be returned to the place of discovery, surely rules can be bent in favour of the surety of the bear’s successful rehabilitation.
As Lisa Dahlseide commented: “What if they’re found in a campground or a golf course"?
While AEP appears to support, in theory, wildlife rehabilitation, in reality it seems that AEP would prefer to allow animals to be killed rather than allow them to be cared for by a competent rehabilitation facility.
According to an Alberta Institute for Wildlife Conservation (AIWC) newsletter, this centre receives injured and orphaned animals that are allowed to be treated and released.
Yet the Cochrane Ecological Institute (CEI), a rehabilitation centre with decades of experience, was ignored when it offered advice to assist Charlie’s and Muskwa’s transition to the wild.
If, indeed, it is within the mandate of this government to manage Alberta’s wildlife and “support environmental conservation and protection," I assume that would include caring for orphaned and/or injured wildlife, or will AEP continue to foil any suggestions offered by the rehabilitators?
Finally, I would appreciate the media considering its language when referring to an animal especially when the animal’s gender is known. Charlie was not an it, but a male black bear, a sentient being, whose untimely death was so unfortunate.