Alberta wildlife officials say that an injured black bear living in a field near Springbank will recover after hibernation, but others aren’t so sure it can survive the winter.

Back in September, residents spotted a small black bear in the field near Highway 22 and Springbank Road. The animal appears to have suffered some sort of injury to its back legs and has been forced to hobble instead of walk.

Michelle Shaw, who lives on an acreage directly south of where the bear has been seen, has serious concerns about the welfare of the animal.

“I seen him once running up the backside of the hill, whereas in the beginning I just seen him hunkered in the field and it was just like, ‘oh my gosh’.”

Shaw first believed the bear should be left alone, but now thinks something needs to be done before winter sets in.

“Let’s help him out with a den at least to give him a choice to settle in for the winter. I do believe in miracles, I do believe in the power to heal.”

Despite calls for the province to step in, officials say the bear must be left alone.

In a statement, the province says the best thing is to give the bear some space and treatment in captivity is not in the animal’s best interest.

They expect it to hibernate any day now and that could result in a full recovery in the spring.

The province adds that while there have been reports that people have been feeding the bear, no one has been caught doing it so far.

Even if anyone did, there are no regulations about feeding wild animals on provincial land but it’s always best to follow the rules in Alberta’s BearSmart program.

(With files from Stephanie Weibe)