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For Immediate Release


April 8, 2009

Ministry of Environment




NORTH VANCOUVER – Orphaned black bears from the Lower Mainland will have a new place to learn the survival skills they’ll need when they’re eventually released back into the wild, thanks to a $400,000 investment from the provincial government, Environment Minister Barry Penner announced today.


“Our government wants to give orphaned black bear cubs a better chance of being successfully rehabilitated before they are released from care,” said Penner. “The new facility will give juvenile black bears a chance to develop their natural foraging and denning skills. There’s a much better probability that they can become independent, healthy wild bears on their own when given this opportunity.”

The new black bear rehabilitation centre, located on Fromme Mountain in North Vancouver, is an extension of the Critter Care Wildlife Society’s Langley-based rehabilitation centre.

“Critter Care will be actively involved in the planning, implementation and ongoing activities of the project,” said Gail Martin, Critter Care founder and executive director. “All bears transferred from Critter Care will be carefully monitored to ensure successful release into the wild.”


Dr. Ken Macquisten, managing director and veterinarian for the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife in North Vancouver, responded to a Ministry initiative and completed the initial planning work for the establishment of the new black bear rehabilitation centre on Fromme Mountain.


“This new centre will allow orphaned cubs to be kept in a wild state and released as wild creatures through an innovative, progressive program of minimal human contact and opportunities for their natural development,” said Macquisten.


 “A major benefit of this centre is a better survival rate for orphaned bear cubs,” said Joan McIntyre, MLA for West Vancouver-Garibaldi. “However, the project will also provide the Ministry of Environment with the potential to increase understanding of the successful rehabilitation of black bears into the wild.”


The $400,000 provided by the provincial government will be held by the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation to be dispersed as funding requests are filed through the program’s implementation plan. A committee, including a Ministry staff expert, will oversee the implementation of the project.


“The issue of black bears becoming habituated to human food on the North Shore has become a major headache for municipalities, residents and the Conservation Officer Service,” said Ralph Sultan, MLA for West Vancouver-Capilano. “Sometimes the destruction of mother bears is the only option and this new centre will give their orphaned cubs another chance of survival.”


The Fromme Mountain facility, comprised of 32 hectares of typical black bear habitat with security fencing, remote feeding stations and a closed circuit camera system for observation, will be off limits to the public. The facility will be capable of handling up to 25 bears at one time.


“Because North Shore communities interface with a huge mountain wilderness area, black bears are common in the area and they are constantly on the prowl for food sources,” said Katherine Whittred, North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA. “Their noses can lead them into touchy situations, putting them in jeopardy and increasing the potential for cubs to become orphans. I’m thankful that this new facility will give orphaned cubs a much better chance of survival.”


Each year in British Columbia, approximately 700 black bears are destroyed due to conflicts between people and bears. It is an offence to feed or leave attractants available to dangerous wildlife.


The public is encouraged to report human-wildlife conflicts that threaten public safety or result in significant property damage, or to report dangerous wildlife spotted in urban areas by calling 1 877 952-7277. Information provided to emergency operators is used to identify and respond to high-risk conflicts that threaten public safety.








Kate Thompson

Media Relations

Ministry of Environment

250 953-4577


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