Rare white raven, 2 orphaned bear cubs cared for at Errington wildlife rescue centre

Founder and operations manager of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, Robin Campbell, shows a rare white raven being nursed back to health. (Michael Briones photo)Founder and operations manager of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre, Robin Campbell, shows a rare white raven being nursed back to health. (Michael Briones photo)
Founder and operations manager of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre Robin Campbell shows the rare white raven that they’re now nursing back to health. (Michael Briones photo)Founder and operations manager of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre Robin Campbell shows the rare white raven that they’re now nursing back to health. (Michael Briones photo)
The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington has two new black bear orphaned cubs in care. (Michael Briones photo)The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington has two new black bear orphaned cubs in care. (Michael Briones photo)
North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre will be releasing three bears back to the wild. (Michael Briones photo)North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre will be releasing three bears back to the wild. (Michael Briones photo)

An iconic rare bird and two orphaned bear cubs are currently in the care of the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre in Errington.

The juvenile raven was brought to the centre approximately one week ago and was in rough shape, said Derek Downes, one of the animal care technicians tasked with nursing it back to health.

“It was on the ground and it suffered some injuries to its feet,” said Downes. “They’re an extremely rare mutation, well-documented in this part of the world, specifically the (Parksville Qualicum Beach) area, which is why they have been dubbed the sacred white raven.”

The centre has occasionally cared for white ravens over the years but the survival chances for the birds has been slim. Unofficially, according to Downes, they’ve known of only one that has made it all the way to adulthood.

READ MORE: Legend continues as iconic white raven spotted again in Coombs

“They typically don’t do very well,” said Downes. “They have compromised immune systems, so we’re really, really trying very hard with this one. We’ve learned in the past of what we can do to help it and we’re hoping with this one we’re going to have some success.”

The white raven is not feeding on its own and had to be force-fed, using a tube. Downes said it is getting stronger and improving each day.

“We ran a course of antibiotics on him and numerous vitamins and minerals to try to help boost his immune system because that seems to be what lacks with these white ravens,” he said. “We’re really hoping for the best.”

Downes welcomes the rare knowledge he is picking up from the experience of treating the raven.

“This is my first time handling one,” said Downes. “I have seen photos and videos but never actually seen one up close and been able to actually be hands on in helping and trying to help this bird survive. It’s a really magical thing.”

While the white raven is generating plenty of attention, the centre is also busy caring for two orphaned black bear cubs, after conservation officers rescued them from the Woss area near Campbell River.

“We were able to luckily get them and they were still in great condition,” said Downes. “They haven’t been on their own for very long so these cubs stand a really, really great chance. They have a long journey with us ahead but these cubs are in good hands now and thankfully we’re able to do everything we can. They should be able to go back home sometime next year.”

The centre is also nearly ready to release three black bears rescued a year ago, including ‘Crumpet’ who was only 2.2 pounds when brought to the centre. They will be released at the location where they were found on Vancouver Island.

“The old ones are going home and the new ones are coming in for help,” said Downes. “It’s an amazing thing to witness and and amazing to be a part of. It’s really emotional to think about all the trials and tribulations that those orphan cubs have gone through and to now be on the precipice of going back home.”

The founder of the centre, Robin Campbell, is proud of the work they’ve been doing in more than two decades to help distressed and orphaned bears become healthy and be able to return to their natural habitat.

“Bears are very difficult and there’s a huge challenge in doing bears,” said Campbell. “It’s a huge responsibility that we took on over 25 years ago. We have released hundreds of bears back in the wild. But it never changes.”

Campbell relishes the thought of the bears’ first night of freedom, with no walls to limit their movements and open to the elements and natural surroundings.

“This is so exciting for us, not only for all our successes but also for our failures,” said Campbell. “And it is so emotional for us. All animals are very important from small birds to the bears. It doesn’t matter what it is. It’s such a thrill when you can have a few successes.”

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

ParksvillevancouverislandWildlife

Just Posted

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
SD70 chooses new name for AW Neill School in Port Alberni

New name honours Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples’ connection to region

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Port Alberni RCMP officer in command Insp. Eric Rochette presents longtime community policing volunteer Louie Aumair with a OIC appreciation certificate. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni RCMP honour longtime volunteer

First responders receive support from broader community

The Dock+ is located on Harbour Road in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
PROGRESS 2021: Port Alberni’s food hub still growing a year later

The Dock hopes to open a retail store on Alberni’s busy waterfront

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

Harvesting hay in the Fraser Valley. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)
COVID-19: B.C. waives farm income requirement for a second year

Property owners don’t need minimum income for 2022 taxes

A view of the outside of St. Andrews Roman Catholic Cathedral on Victoria’s Blanshard Street. (Don Denton/News staff)
Vancouver Island bishop apologizes for church’s role in residential schools

Bishop Gary Gordon of the Diocese of Victoria voices commitment to healing and reconciliation

Cruise ship passengers arrive at Juneau, Alaska in 2018. Cruise lines have begun booking passengers for trips from Seattle to Alaska as early as this July, bypassing B.C. ports that are not allowed to have visitors until March 2022 under a Canadian COVID-19 restrictions. (Michael Penn/Juneau Empire)
B.C. doesn’t depend on U.S. law to attract cruise ships, Horgan says

Provinces to get update next week on Canada’s border closure

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read