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

Lost dog reunited with family three months after going missing along Juan de Fuca trail

‘The poor thing was skin and bones,’ says one of the Sooke rescuers

Victoria family donates 878 falafel wraps to support Beirut blast victims

Wrap and Roll pulls in $20,500 during weekend fundraiser

Reimagined campaign continues to make Vancouver Island wishes come true

#UnWinedOutside allows participants to support Make-A-Wish Foundation, local businesses

Police investigating string of break-ins at closed Saanich care home

Electronics, tools reported stolen from Mount Tolmie Hospital

Laid-off hotel workers begin hunger strike demanding job protection

Laid-off workers not sure what they’ll do when government support programs end

B.C. records 30-50 new COVID-19 cases a day over weekend, no new deaths

Many of those testing positive were identified by contact tracing for being linked to other confirmed infections

Five B.C. First Nations call out Canada for ‘discriminatory’ food fish practices

West Coast nations say government ignoring court-won right to chinook and coho

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Nanaimo woman will buy ‘supersonic’ hair dryer after $500,000 lotto win

Debra Allen won $500,000 in July 28 Lotto Max draw

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

Cougar euthanized after attacking little dog in Qualicum area

Owner freed pet by whacking big cat, but dog didn’t survive the attack

$45K in donations received after couple’s sudden death in Tulameen

Sarah MacDermid, 31, and Casey Bussiere, 37, died August long weekend

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Internet-famous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and more

Most Read