Malcolm, pictured here shortly after being rescued near Tofino, has died at the north Island Wildlife Recovery Centre after being ensnared by a rope. (Photo - Jennifer Steven)

Bear cub, rescued near Tofino, dies in strangulation accident

The animal got his head and neck tightly ensnared in a small rope handle.

A bear cub that was rescued near Tofino was found dead after what appears to be a tragic strangulation accident at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre.

“It is with extreme sadness that the NIWRA veterinary and animal care staff report the unfortunate and unexpected death of “Malcolm” the single bear cub that we have been managing in our rehabilitation program,” the recovery centre announced through Facebook Monday morning.

READ MORE: Baby bear rescued near Tofino after mother dies

The post explains that, on the morning of his death, Malcolm had been observed on cameras playing on large tree stumps set up in his cage, but Animal Care staff found the young animal immobile on the ground.

“Staff immediately entered the enclosure recognizing that there was a serious problem. Unfortunately he had managed to get his head and neck tightly ensnared in a small rope handle attached to a plastic buoy that was suspended by a chain from one of the tree stumps. There were no signs of a struggle and we suspect he got his head through the loop and then very quickly asphyxiated,” the post reads.

The post added that suspended buoys are a commonly used toy for animals at the centre, “and they routinely spend a lot of time interacting and playing with them,” without any injuries.

“Understandably we are quite upset and shocked by this event and will take precautions to ensure that this scenario is not repeated. Anyone who has been involved in the care of animals can probably appreciate that these events or hazards are not always easily foreseeable,” the post reads. “The buoy had been in Malcolm’s enclosure since he was first introduced. We feel that it represents a very unfortunate accident involving an extremely rare set of circumstances. Caring for these special animals is an emotionally intense experience and we feel this loss profoundly. However, we will learn from this and be better at what we do.”

READ MORE: NIWRA cares for bear orphaned near Tofino

Malcolm was rescued near Ross Pass where the tiny bear cub was discovered laying next to its dead mother on May 25.

Knowing the animal would not be able to survive on its own, wildlife watching guides John Forde and Jennifer Steven captured it and helped transport it to the recovery centre on May 26.

Despite being severely emaciated when he arrived at the centre, Malcolm had been recovering well, according to the post.

“He was sedated and examined on October 18, 2018 and found to be healthy and in very good body condition. On this same date he was moved to the larger pre-release enclosure where he quickly established himself without incident,” it reads.

The Westerly News has reached out to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre and will update this story as soon as new information comes in.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Rescued eagle released in Ucluelet



andrew.bailey@westerlynews.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Northern Health saw 14 cases in one day earlier this week, the highest in one day since the beginning of the pandemic. (Image courtesy CDC)
Northern Health sees highest number of new COVID-19 cases in one day

Oct. 27 saw the highest number of new cases in the Health Authority since the start of the pandemic

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. When Jaime Battiste was in his early 20s, cable news channels were full of images of Mi’kmaq fishermen in New Brunswick battling federal fisheries officers over seized lobster traps. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan)
Nisga’a Lisims Government calls on Prime Minister to act in N.S. fisheries dispute

NLG President: “We are shocked by what’s happening in Nova Scotia”

A nurse prepares a flu shot. The public vaccine for the 2020-2021 flu season is now in pharmacies in Terrace. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
Private flu vaccines scarce at Terrace pharmacies

Public flu vaccines still available for those with greatest need

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Most Read