While it’s not uncommon to happen across a black bear on the North Island, it was clear that the young cub that crossed in front of Dustin Carmen and Shae Greenhorn near Port Alice was in trouble.
With a torn ear and missing fur on its belly and back legs, the orphaned cub was emaciated and had likely fallen victim to a predator when the young couple found it. The two were able to quiet the cub while they waited for the conservation officer, who delivered it to the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre.
Dubbed “Muffin” – short for the ragamuffin she resembled – with care from the centre’s Dr. Malcolm McAdie, medicine and food she quickly rebounded and a few short days later was thriving in the nursery. As she grows, she’ll progress first to the juvenile area with a little more room and finally to the release enclosure, which will prepare for her eventual release at about 18 months old, explains Sylvia Campbell, centre co-founder with husband Robin.
Caring for ill, injured or orphaned wildlife
Located in Errington, a few minutes outside Parksville, the centre takes in ill, injured or orphaned wildlife, rehabilitating those that can be released back to the wild and providing a home to those that can’t. The centre also welcomes visitors for self-guided tours and special events.
“This little cub really pulled at our heartstrings, so it’s exciting to see her do so well,” Campbell says.
Today, you can come check in on Muffin via the closed-circuit TV, as she won’t have human contact in preparation for her re-release. You’ll also enjoy viewing non-releasable animals like resident black bears Knut and Rae, and Dougall the blind raven – ambassadors for the needs of wildlife and the vital work undertaken at the centre. Glove-trained raptors like Joey the barn own add an exciting element during special events.
“Because we’re a unique wildlife rehabilitation centre, where we also have non-releasable wildlife ambassadors, we have become a world-class tourism destination where people can come learn about bears, raptors, deer and other wildlife, which in the end also benefits the animals in the wild,” Campbell says.
‘They depend on us; we depend on you’
Care for wildlife like Muffin is estimated at about $40 per day, meaning donations and volunteers are essential to making the centre’s work possible. Click here to learn about how you can contribute, and remember, “They depend on us; we depend on you,” Campbell says.