Two hapless bear cubs have conservation officers to thank for their rescue from a dumpster near Sooke last Wednesday.
“We got a call at about 9:30 a.m. that there were a couple of bear cubs in a dumpster,” said conservation officer Sgt. Scott Norris.
“They couldn’t get out and mama bear was standing a respectful distance away when we arrived.”
Norris said it’s likely the curious cubs were investigating the bin when they fell in and found that they simply couldn’t get out. The mother bear would likewise have been unable to do anything to help.
Conservation officers assessed the situation and used immobilizing drugs to sedate the bears before removing them from the dumpster and fasten ear tags to the little fellows.
Throughout the episode, the mother bear kept watch but did nothing to interfere.
“We dragged them over to the edge of a ravine, about 100 yards away, and they slowly started waking up,” Norris said.
At that point, officers backed off and the mama bear came over and retrieved her cubs, likely to give them a stern talking to about the hazards of large metal bins.
“The strange thing was that there was no food in the dumpster. It was full of recycling, but it’s possible it had the smell of food still in it, or that someone had tossed something into it at some point that didn’t belong there,” Norris said.
He noted this was an uncommon occurrence and that finding bears trapped in dumpsters is almost unheard of.
“It is a good reminder, though, that bears are still active on the South Island and that people have to be aware and secure their garbage, whether it’s in dumpsters or simple garbage cans.”