Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

No aid for orphaned cubs

Province avoids Makoon repeat

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THE bear cubs who were left orphaned after their mother was struck and killed on Highway 313 have remained in their natural habitat.

Manitoba Conservation and Water Stewardship said Sunday night the cubs should be at the stage of development where they have the ability to survive on their own.

"Their best chance at survival is to have a healthy fear of people and to not become food conditioned or used to people," the province said in a statement.

The bears' mother was killed Saturday shortly after 10 a.m. by a motorist on Highway 313. Highway 313 starts about 10 kilometres northeast of Lac du Bonnet and ends about 30 kilometres east to Pointe du Bois.

The cubs abandoned the sad scene before Manitoba Conservation officers could arrive.

"They're only babies. They won't survive," said Cathie Mieyette, a motorist who spotted the bears Saturday morning as they nuzzled the body of their dead mother. "Everybody's going crazy because of Makoon being released and we don't want that to happen again."

Earlier this spring, a baby bear cub was taken into a man's St. Malo home about 70 kilometres south of Winnipeg after he found the cub starving in a ditch along a highway.

The man later named the cub Makoon and tried to adopt it.

News of the rescued bear quickly spread, and became an international story, attracting attention from bear lovers around the world. The cub attracted over 600 visitors to the St. Malo residence before Manitoba Conservation scooped it up and took it to isolation at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.

Makoon was eventually released into the wild, despite a public backlash against the decision.

In this weekend's case, Manitoba Conservation planned to relocate the cubs to a remote area of the bush north of Lac du Bonnet if they returned to the scene.

The province has reminded the public not to attempt to approach or feed bears.

 

katherine.dow@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 13, 2012 A4

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