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

QUIZ: How much do you know about British Columbia?

On this B.C. Day long weekend, put your knowledge of our province to the test

Terrace councillors consider court watch committee to ‘create an extra level of accountability’

City staff are reaching out to Coast Mountain College about a pilot program

Council briefs: RCMP rural files on the rise

Summary of key discussions from the public council meeting July 27, 2020

Tahltan Nation closes hunting and recreational activity access points

The remote and vulnerable territory has limited medical capacity

VIDEO: Otter pups learn to swim at B.C. wildlife rescue facility

Watch Critter Care’s Nathan Wagstaffe help seven young otters go for their first dip

Michael Buble among 13 British Columbians to receive Order of B.C.

Ceremony will be delayed to 2021 due to COVID-19

U.S. border communities feel loss of Canadian tourists, shoppers and friends

Restrictions on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border have been in place since March 2`

Rollout of COVID-19 Alert app faces criticism over accessibility

App requires users to have Apple or Android phones made in the last five years, and a relatively new operating system

Alleged impaired driver sparks small wildfire near Lytton after crash: B.C. RCMP

Good Samaritans prevented the blaze from getting out of control

B.C. First Nation adopts ‘digital twinning’ software to better manage territory

Software allows users to visualize what a mountain might look like if the trees on its slopes were logged

All inquiry recommendations implemented after fatal Port Hardy RCMP shooting: Ministry

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. cleared the RCMP officers involved of wrongdoing

Most Read