BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA -- (Marketwired) -- 07/08/13 -- One lucky male grizzly bear cub named Tika, who was found orphaned in Golden in December, is on his way back to the wild. The tiny cub was found completely matted, alone and starving and suffering from a head tremor. He was rescued and nursed back to health with human care and is now ready to be released close to his home range.
Tika was cared for at the Northern Lights Wildlife Society (NLWS - www.wildlifeshelter.com) rehabilitation centre where he lived in a large enclosure with very limited human contact. He didn't hibernate this winter, but spent his time fattening up for his release. He is now old enough, strong enough and has the skills to be released back to the wild. Tika has been fitted with a satellite collar and released on July 9, 2013 into a remote area away from human activity and monitored for 18 months.
The rescue, transport and release of the Grizzlies is part of a unique cooperative pilot project between the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - www.ifaw.org), the Northern Lights Wildlife Society (NLWS - www.wildlifeshelter.com) and the British Columbia Ministries of Environment, and Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
The project will study whether releasing orphaned grizzlies is viable. This is the fifth time such a release has taken place. Two bears were released in July of 2008, two in the summer of 2009 four in the summer of 2011, and two in the Nakusp area in June 2013.
"Ten lucky grizzly cubs have been re-introduced to the wild over the last five years as part of this pilot project," said Angelika Langen of NLWS. "And we hope that many more will pass through our doors and be released back to the wild."
"The satellite collars that we are using to track the movements of the bears is providing vital information," said John Beecham, bear specialist with IFAW. "It's a key part of the project that helps us to scientifically validate whether what we're doing is working."
Human-bear conflict is an ongoing concern in British Columbia. For tips on how to reduce human-bear conflict, please visit wildsafebc.com.
Rehabilitating orphan bear cubs is viewed by IFAW as a more sustainable and humane alternative than killing the bears outright. Similar bear rehabilitation projects are being supported by IFAW in Russia and India.
About IFAW (the International Fund for Animal Welfare)
Founded in 1969, IFAW saves animals in crisis around the world. With projects in more than 40 countries, IFAW rescues individual animals, works to prevent cruelty to animals, and advocates for the protection of wildlife and habitats. For more information visit our website and follow us on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Photographs of the transport and release of the grizzly will be available for media use, and spokespeople from IFAW and NLWS are available for interview.
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