Debate swirls around whether to release young bear back into Alberta’s wild

 

A seven-month old black bear in Alberta is at the centre of a battle on whether she should be released to the wild.

The bear named Maskwa (Cree for bear) was found near death by the side of the road.

She has now recovered and the province of Alberta wants to release her back to nature next month.

But the Cochrane Ecological Institute says at eight months, Maskwa will still be too young and the bear will not be able to survive on its own.

Video Journalist / Edmonton

Chris Stewart has been in the media for 20 years. He has worked at CBC, Global and CTV as a news camera operator and editor. Chris joined APTN in 2012 in the Saskatoon Bureau and moved to APTN Edmonton bureau in 2015 as a Videojournalist.


54 thoughts on “Debate swirls around whether to release young bear back into Alberta’s wild

  1. I agree with you Peggy. That’s just what I was thinking. Put a bullet in their heads rather then let them starve, freeze or get eaten by predators. I was at the campground when fish and wildlife came to get Charlie and was delighted to find out he would be rehabilitated. I am so, so disappointed in this decision.

  2. I agree with you Peggy. That’s just what I was thinking. Put a bullet in their heads rather then let them starve, freeze or get eaten by predators. I was at the campground when fish and wildlife came to get Charlie and was delighted to find out he would be rehabilitated. I am so, so disappointed in this decision.

  3. Please stop being morons and have some common sense for once. You don’t have any right to release this cub.! Keep it over the winter….I think it should be protected for at least another year. Stop abusing our animals.!

  4. Please stop being morons and have some common sense for once. You don’t have any right to release this cub.! Keep it over the winter….I think it should be protected for at least another year. Stop abusing our animals.!

  5. Please email the Premier of Alberta, the Prime Minister of Canada, your MP and lastly the AEP with your concerns about this early release of these bear cubs.

    1. We are in the 20th century, allowing to use these bear cubs is a experiment is just sickening. I am appalled that this is our government that is allowing this. Let ‘s take one of your children or grandchildren at 8 months and use them for this experiment, why is it that the wild animals suffers have we not done enough damage!!
      Look around you.
      Please from a concerned citizen, and animal lover give them a fair chance to survive on their own. Let us t\give them close to what their own mothers would have.
      Just breaks my heart,what next….

  6. Everyone who opposes this move to the early release of the bear cubs—please email the Premier of Alberta, the Prime Minister of Canada, your MP, and lastly the AEP with your objection to this release. Conservation is just that conserving the wild —not destroying it. Everyone share this matter on your facebook page as well.

  7. They want to experiment, didn’t they already have that experience with the bathroom bears? They did exactly what they want to do with these cubs, return them to the wild, with radio collars, which is how they found their carcasses when there was no longer any movement!! This tells me they just want to place bets on how long these 2 will survive!!! Ridiculous

  8. Both the cubs are in a large natural enclosure together, they have no human contact and are learning to forage on their own, however releasing these 2 cubs on October 15, which is still hunting season and way too early for hibernation is a death sentence. No matter how much they are fattened up before their release, they will lose too much weight to be able to survive hibernation and in all likelihood will be killed by another predator as competition for food at this time of year is high and they will not be big enough to fight off predators. Soft release during hibernation is the humane way to release these cubs…

  9. Please email the Premier of Alberta, the Prime Minister of Canada, your MP and lastly the AEP with your concerns about this early release of these bear cubs.

    1. We are in the 20th century, allowing to use these bear cubs is a experiment is just sickening. I am appalled that this is our government that is allowing this. Let ‘s take one of your children or grandchildren at 8 months and use them for this experiment, why is it that the wild animals suffers have we not done enough damage!!
      Look around you.
      Please from a concerned citizen, and animal lover give them a fair chance to survive on their own. Let us tgive them close to what their own mothers would have.
      Just breaks my heart,what next….

  10. Everyone who opposes this move to the early release of the bear cubs—please email the Premier of Alberta, the Prime Minister of Canada, your MP, and lastly the AEP with your objection to this release. Conservation is just that conserving the wild —not destroying it. Everyone share this matter on your facebook page as well.

  11. They want to experiment, didn’t they already have that experience with the bathroom bears? They did exactly what they want to do with these cubs, return them to the wild, with radio collars, which is how they found their carcasses when there was no longer any movement!! This tells me they just want to place bets on how long these 2 will survive!!! Ridiculous

  12. Both the cubs are in a large natural enclosure together, they have no human contact and are learning to forage on their own, however releasing these 2 cubs on October 15, which is still hunting season and way too early for hibernation is a death sentence. No matter how much they are fattened up before their release, they will lose too much weight to be able to survive hibernation and in all likelihood will be killed by another predator as competition for food at this time of year is high and they will not be big enough to fight off predators. Soft release during hibernation is the humane way to release these cubs…

  13. If bear rehab experts say she is too young to survive on her own at 8 months, then keep her over the winter. How hard is this? I don’t understand why Alberta wants to turn this bear out too soon, an action that will certainly lead to her death.

  14. The government has no right to “sacrifice” bears’ lives for the sake of a stupid experiment, much less one that opposes everything others more knowledgeable and practiced in bear rehab have already learned! Heartless thugs.

  15. I am horrified that anyone would think its wise to release cubs back into the wild…with out a mother to teach them…this the total abuse of Canada’s wild life …you are there to protect them not place them in danger …to release them now would be to send them to their death…you might as will put a bullet in their heads NOW….better then send them out to young to forage for themselves and die a slow death from starvation….I have never in my life heard of something so foolishly dangerous to the bears.and so neglectful of Canada wild life…

  16. If bear rehab experts say she is too young to survive on her own at 8 months, then keep her over the winter. How hard is this? I don’t understand why Alberta wants to turn this bear out too soon, an action that will certainly lead to her death.

  17. The government has no right to “sacrifice” bears’ lives for the sake of a stupid experiment, much less one that opposes everything others more knowledgeable and practiced in bear rehab have already learned! Heartless thugs.

  18. I am horrified that anyone would think its wise to release cubs back into the wild…with out a mother to teach them…this the total abuse of Canada’s wild life …you are there to protect them not place them in danger …to release them now would be to send them to their death…you might as will put a bullet in their heads NOW….better then send them out to young to forage for themselves and die a slow death from starvation….I have never in my life heard of something so foolishly dangerous to the bears.and so neglectful of Canada wild life…

  19. It’s more then difficult to understand why the government of Alberta finally changed its policies to allow orphaned black bear cubs to be rescued and rehabilitated but is demanding the release of the cubs well before they have any hope of survival!!
    Who are these people and why do they have the power to make such heinous decisions?

  20. If you release these cubs way to early then you have no heart , I’m sure you’ll hear from people like me ,who believe this is wrong on so many levels . You wouldn’t release a child at this age so why in hell would you a baby cub , a baby is a baby , no matter which way you look at it , Stop what your going to regret . Do Not Release them too young

  21. EACH and EVERY ONE of US…is RESPONSIBLE>>>
    FOR A KINDER, SAFER, HEALTHIER and M O R E J U S T WORLD>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Without REVERENCE for ALL LIFE there can be…no PEACE>>
    The most destructive force of nature is…human nature…because it can choose>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    OUR moral progress is dependent on how WE treat ALL LIFE…tragically…WE HAVEN”T PROGRESSED>>>>>>>>

  22. This seems like a no brainer. The bear cubs can’t fend for themselves- there are studies to validate this. So what is really going on with the government to want this release??? Seems something is not honest here.

  23. Why would the government save the cub, raise it in an (obviously) sheltered environment, then release it when it’s too young to survive??? Usual government hypocrisy? Mistaken thinking?? Maybe they could say something.??

  24. Why would the government save the cub, raise it in an (obviously) sheltered environment, then release it when it’s too young to survive??? Usual government hypocrisy? Mistaken thinking?? Maybe they could say something.??

  25. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. It is absolutely disgusting that the government would even consider releasing these cubs for one of the stupidest experiments ever. How can people get together and decide this makes sense and is justifiable? It the equivalent of getting kids to move out of home when they are 7 years old because they would be okay right? How can people with no experience even begin to think they know what is right when experienced and expert people are telling them they are wrong. Terrifying. Bear cubs live with their mother for around 2 years.. It is inhumane to release them without hope for survival. It is inexcusable to release them when there are organizations that are willing to help take care of them. It is so obvious its disturbing to think people cant see it.

  26. What is the real reason for this province’s “bum’s rush,” when an early release is NOT backed by what is already known scientifically about how long young bears need to truly be READY for a safer release? WHY is the govt of AB trying to decrease this, and other young bears’, chances of survival? Do they just hate bears, or are they trying to pander to only hunters? Heinous, either way.

  27. Baby bears stay with their mother for 2 years… there is a reason for that. And anyone with half a brain…would figure out they need to be taught valuable life saving skills by their mom..like hibernation. These bears havent even gone into their first hibernation. Who do we have running our province…idiots?

  28. It’s more then difficult to understand why the government of Alberta finally changed its policies to allow orphaned black bear cubs to be rescued and rehabilitated but is demanding the release of the cubs well before they have any hope of survival!!
    Who are these people and why do they have the power to make such heinous decisions?

  29. If you release these cubs way to early then you have no heart , I’m sure you’ll hear from people like me ,who believe this is wrong on so many levels . You wouldn’t release a child at this age so why in hell would you a baby cub , a baby is a baby , no matter which way you look at it , Stop what your going to regret . Do Not Release them too young

  30. EACH and EVERY ONE of US…is RESPONSIBLE>>>
    FOR A KINDER, SAFER, HEALTHIER and M O R E J U S T WORLD>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Without REVERENCE for ALL LIFE there can be…no PEACE>>
    The most destructive force of nature is…human nature…because it can choose>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    OUR moral progress is dependent on how WE treat ALL LIFE…tragically…WE HAVEN”T PROGRESSED>>>>>>>>

    1. Unfortunately, many of the decision makers are also no-brainers. Hopefully, the new deputy minister for environment and parks won’t be one of them and will help change this cruel and inhumane early release plan.

    2. Why bother to save her in the first place,if she is still so young she cannot fend for herself ? Has she been taught any survival skills?
      if she had been with a mother at least she would have been taught how to survive in the wild….

  31. This seems like a no brainer. The bear cubs can’t fend for themselves- there are studies to validate this. So what is really going on with the government to want this release??? Seems something is not honest here.

  32. Why would the government save the cub, raise it in an (obviously) sheltered environment, then release it when it’s too young to survive??? Usual government hypocrisy? Mistaken thinking?? Maybe they could say something.??

  33. Why would the government save the cub, raise it in an (obviously) sheltered environment, then release it when it’s too young to survive??? Usual government hypocrisy? Mistaken thinking?? Maybe they could say something.??

  34. Thanks for bringing this to our attention. It is absolutely disgusting that the government would even consider releasing these cubs for one of the stupidest experiments ever. How can people get together and decide this makes sense and is justifiable? It the equivalent of getting kids to move out of home when they are 7 years old because they would be okay right? How can people with no experience even begin to think they know what is right when experienced and expert people are telling them they are wrong. Terrifying. Bear cubs live with their mother for around 2 years.. It is inhumane to release them without hope for survival. It is inexcusable to release them when there are organizations that are willing to help take care of them. It is so obvious its disturbing to think people cant see it.

  35. What is the real reason for this province’s “bum’s rush,” when an early release is NOT backed by what is already known scientifically about how long young bears need to truly be READY for a safer release? WHY is the govt of AB trying to decrease this, and other young bears’, chances of survival? Do they just hate bears, or are they trying to pander to only hunters? Heinous, either way.

  36. Baby bears stay with their mother for 2 years… there is a reason for that. And anyone with half a brain…would figure out they need to be taught valuable life saving skills by their mom..like hibernation. These bears havent even gone into their first hibernation. Who do we have running our province…idiots?

    1. Unfortunately, many of the decision makers are also no-brainers. Hopefully, the new deputy minister for environment and parks won’t be one of them and will help change this cruel and inhumane early release plan.

    2. Why bother to save her in the first place,if she is still so young she cannot fend for herself ? Has she been taught any survival skills?
      if she had been with a mother at least she would have been taught how to survive in the wild….

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