Alberta experts don't want bathroom bears to go to Ontario
A decision to send three black bear cubs found inside a restroom in Banff National Park is raising questions with wildlife experts.
The three cubs, found locked inside the building earlier this month, will be taken to Aspen Wildlife Centre in Muskoka, Ontario.
Eventually, the animals will come back to Banff, but not until about a year from now.
The decision was governed by legislation passed in 2010 that prohibited the rehabilitation of many animals, including bears, within the province of Alberta.
The law states that there is too much of a risk to humans via disease or habituation if those efforts are undertaken here.
Wildlife experts say that isn’t true and want the law to change.
“We have a number of excellent rehabilitation facilities but they are prohibited from taking in or releasing black bears and other species, including Grizzly bears and caribou, which are threatened in the province. Rehabilitators are prohibited even from rehabilitating and restoring threatened species in the province, it's very curious and I think it's very backward,” said Jim Pissot with the Wild Canada Conservation Alliance.
Pissot says that the government will only pay attention when there is an issue that makes headlines, like with these three bears.
“Why can't we rehabilitate bears here in the province of Alberta? We're good at wildlife management, we can be better, and this is the chance to prove it.”
No matter what happens, he says he is glad that the bears will eventually have a chance to return to the wild.
In many circumstances, orphaned cubs are killed in Alberta.