A mother bear and her three small cubs were safely rounded up at Lester Beach Wednesday and released back into the wild in a day of high drama that could have gone horribly wrong.
Natural Resources officers were called in Wednesday morning when a family spotted the four black bears wandering in the area just north of Grand Beach. There had been several sightings of the bear family for about a week.
Natural Resources officer Sheldon Orvis said officers responded quickly to restrict the bears from getting too close to cottages and the beach. There was also a fear the sow might become aggressive if separated from her cubs. The plan was to tranquilize the mama bear and capture her three small cubs. All appeared to be in good health.
However, when the roughly 180-pound female bear was hit by the tranquillizer dart, she ran high up the nearest pine tree, creating a situation where when she fell asleep she could have fallen to her death, orphaning her three cubs. A male cub also ran up the same tree. Two female cubs went up separate trees.
Natural Resources quickly recruited the help of a Manitoba Hydro crew and their bucket truck, which when put into position was able to reach the sleepy mother bear and her cub. Both were plucked safely from the tree branches and lowered to the ground. The two female cubs were caught using a dog-catching snare.
The bear family were put into a live bear trap, a culvert on wheels, and given water.
When it looked like all were in good health, they were driven and safely released into the wild north of Pine Falls.