Orphaned bear cub falls ill

Fisher, one of two cubs rescued near Cranbrook last month, takes a turn for the worse at wildlife shelter

The tale of the bear cubs saved by two Cranbrook residents a month ago has taken a negative turn, after Fisher, one of the two cubs, fell ill this week.

The cubs, Fisher and Jo, have been at the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter since May, when Cranbrook residents Stephanie McGregor and Colleen Bailey found the young cubs near Bull River and arranged for them to be brought to the shelter in Smithers.

Angelika Langen, manager of the wildlife shelter, said they just got Fisher’s blood results back that show somewhere the male cub has a large infection.

“We’re trying to pinpoint now where it’s coming from,” Langen said. “We started treating two days ago and he’s showing a mild response to it. He hasn’t gotten any worse, but he hasn’t gotten any better either.”

She said they hope that by adding some new drugs today after the blood results came back that they can turn it around.

Fisher suddenly stopped eating on the weekend, which is when they discovered something was wrong.

“He was fine, playing with the bears and doing really well. Then we came up and brought milk and he didn’t want any,” she said. “He was still looking fine and he ate some fruits and vegetables, so we thought maybe he isn’t feeling like milk.”

The next morning, however, he had become shaky and didn’t look well. They isolated him and put him on some antibiotics. On Monday, they took him in for blood tests and put him on IV fluids.

“He really perked up and had a bowl of cereal with honey in it,” she said. “We thought maybe the IV fluids made a difference, but today he is back to where he was before.”

They are now working with vets on a treatment plan.

The shelter is also busy dealing with multiple other rescues at the moment, including a deer injured after being chased down by dogs and a moose calf that got tangled in barbed wire and lost an eye. A couple weeks ago, an orphaned yearling grizzly bear cub from Fernie was brought in. It had come out of hibernation looking very thin and weak, but she said he was doing great now.

Langen admitted the financial toll of all the rescues does add up quickly, with the vet bills, medications and other expenses.

“The dilemma that you have as a non-profit is always, ‘How much do I put into this one animal that I may not be able to save, versus the funds that I may need to potential save some others next week?” she said, adding that even small donations make a huge difference for the shelter.

On Facebook, Colleen Bailey hoped that those in the East Kootenay would donate to the wildlife shelter to help Fisher.

“Fisher is our bear cub. He’s our responsibility,” Bailey said. “Let’s provide NLWS with the resources to give our bear cubs the best chances they have to be returned back to our region to live long, healthy and productive wild lives.”

To donate to or become a member of the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter Society go to