By David F. Rooney
With the ursine death toll at three so far this year it’s nice to see one of our hungry bruins get a chance to start her life over instead of a bullet in the brain pan.
The animal in this photo essay was driven into Arrow Heights by the failure of the area’s berry crop. Dubbed “Sally” by one local woman, this animal had not been eating garbage and otherwise appeared to be in relatively good shape when RCMP Const. Dave Segers and Conservation Officer Alex Desjardins were called to deal with her.
I just happened to be nearby when I was tipped off to this late-summer drama. The following photos show you exactly what happens to this beautiful animal:
This bear, dubbed “Sally” by an onlooker, was treed at 1857 Beruschi in Arrow Heights by Conservation Officer Alex Desjardins and RCMP Const. Dave Segers on Saturday afternoon. Poor girl, she had apparently been in the area for a while eating Saskatoon berries and other backyard goodies. “She’s inb pretty good shape and she’s very afraid of us,” Desjardins said. That’s a good combination. The fact that neighbourhood residents said she hadn’t been eating their garbage was also a vote in her favour. “I’d like to have this be a good news story,” Desjardins said. “I don’t want to shoot her.” David F. Rooney photo Desjardins takes aim at Sally’s backside with his dart gun. David F. Rooney photo About 10 minutes after she was darted Sally crashed through the branches and slumped on the ground. Here Desjardins checks to see how drugged she is. She looks quite out of it, but Sally was very conscious. Within a minute or two she raised her head and tried to keep tabs on the humans watching her. Fortunately, though, she was otherwise immobilized. David F. Rooney photo Const. Segers checks out Sally. David F. Rooney photo Segers was happy to see this outcome for Sally. He had the unfortunate duty of shooting a bear in the Big Eddy last year and did not enjoy the experience, even though there was no other possible outcome. “That was a sick bear,” he said. “He came right up to me.” Sick with what we don’t know but any wild animal that approaches humans is likely not well. David F. Rooney photo Sally watches as CO Alex Desjardins backs his bear trap up on the lawn. She may not know it, but Sally was a very lucky bear. She was going to receive a one-way trip out to the woods instead of a bullet in the brain. David F. Rooney photo Sally lies in the shade licking her muzzle, which was an autonomic reaction to the drugs coursing through her body. David F. Rooney photo Here, CO Desjardins administers another dose of sedative. Like the other men and women in the Conservation Officer Service Desjardins likes and respects the wild creatures that populate our forests. He’d rather take the time to tranquilize a bear and transport it 80-100 kilometres away than kill it. David F. Rooney photo Neighbourhood residents enjoyed the show. Without exception they were happy to know that Sally would live to roam the woods another day. David F. Rooney photo After about 30 minutes Sally’s head was beginning to sink towards the ground. David F. Rooney photo Finally, Sally was out of it enough that Desjardins and Segers could approach her. Here, Constable Segers attaches a tag to her ear. David F. Rooney photo At last, it was safe to hoist Sally off the ground and put her in the cage. David F. Rooney photo In she goes. David F. Rooney photo Adios Sally. Desjardins said he would release this bear 80 to 100 kilometres away. Sally was a very lucky girl. She could easily have gotten into enough trouble that killing her was the only possible outcome. CO Desjardins urges everyone who cares about the welfare of wild animals to clear their fruit trees of fruit. David F. Rooney photo
For more information about doing your part to be Bear Smart
please click here to visit the Revelstoke Bear Aware website.