Locals are hopeful that Russell, the injured and likely orphaned black bear cub beloved by residents outside of Calgary, is hibernating. But the pain he endured from an untreated and undiagnosed back leg injury – a pain that may continue when he awakes this spring – could have been reduced, if Alberta Environment and Parks had listened to the experts.
Wildlife rehabilitators in Alberta are currently prohibited from assisting or rehabilitating the following species: Fox kits, Skunks kits, Toads, Salamanders, Frogs (other than leopard frogs), Bats, Elk calves, Lynx, Bobcat, Deer mouse, Racoon, Adult Skunk, Bighorn sheep, Mountain goats, Wolves, Coyotes, Grizzly bears, Black bears, and Cougar. These species are listed in what is called Schedule A, a part of the rehabilitation permitting process.
Alberta Environment and Parks has not provided any scientific basis for these decisions; in fact, there is overwhelming science that shows that some of the species can be successfully rehabilitated and released into the wild for the benefit of entire ecosystems. You can see a list of some research regarding black bear research here.
Please take a moment and tell Alberta Environment and Parks that you want them to remove the sections of Schedule A that prohibit the rehabilitation of many species and allow trained veterinarians and wildlife rehabilitators to do their work – which the government does not fund – and protect the lives of injured or orphaned wildlife in Alberta. You can use our form below, with a pre-written letter to the Minister and Deputy Minister of Environment, and add in your Alberta MLA if you’re a resident.
This form is currently only able to send emails from Canadian residents. If you'd like to send a letter and you live outside of Canada, please copy and paste it into your email client and address AEP.Minister@gov.ab.ca.
Photo of Russell provided by Ian Cocks