The following is a description of the Grizzly Bear Cub Rehabilitation Facility being built at Cochrane Ecological Institute (CEI). This will be a facility to rear and maintain Grizzly Bear Cubs that would come to the facility at less than 12 months of age and be returned to the wild at approximately 24 months of age. The design is based on eight years of consultation and information from the following facilities:
- Wildwood Trust, Herne Common, Herne Bay, Kent, CT6 7LQ.
- Northern Lights Wildlife Society, Smithers, B.C.
- Vier Pfoten Bulgaria and Germany
At present there is only one facility in Canada that accepts Grizzly Bear Cubs.
Because of the similarities in the early life stage rearing of Grizzly Bear Cubs as compared to Black Bear Cubs many of the existing facilities at CEI could be separately be used for both species. These facilities would include:
Nursery Facilities, used when the cubs are being bottle fed.
Food preparation areas for all ages of cubs.
Primary Care Facilities for minor medical treatments.
Food storage facilities.
The facility that will be constructed will consist of a bear enclosure and a bear house. The size of the enclosure will be four (4) acres. The enclosure will be contain three types of vegetation that naturally occur in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. These include open meadow, white spruce forest and mixed (aspen/spruce) forest. The terrain within the enclosure has an elevation change of approximately 20 feet from north (higher) to south. The approximate dimensions 550 feet by 250 feet.
The area will be enclosed an 8 ft. heavy gauge wildlife fence with a 2 ft. inward facing overhang. The pole spacing for the fence will be 10 feet and poles will be 3 inch OD galvanized steel. There will be a 4 ft buried chain link ground wire on the inside of the fence. The ground wire will be tied to the upright fencing. In addition to the chain link fencing there will be eight (8) strands of electric fencing on the upright fence and two strands on the overhang. The electric fence will carry the 8,000 volt charge from a Gallagher cattle fencer running on 110 volts AC with a battery back up power supply. The entrance to the enclosure will be double entry.
The enclosure has been sited so that it is not visible from any other building or structure at Cochrane Ecological Institute.
In addition to the enclosure there will be a 12 ft by 14 ft bear house constructed of wood frame and finished in sheet metal inside and out. This building will open into the enclosure through a sliding steel door. The building will be used for temporary shelter for the cubs and for equipment storage.
Construction of the enclosure began in mid-April with the siting and flagging of the Fence lines.
The next step in the construction was the clearing of the fence lines. to accomplish this we contracted a construction company that used a John Deere 250c excavator. This is a good sized piece of equipment which was capable of taking the surface down to mineral soil and removing all tree stumps. This was necessary to minimize digging by the bear cubs.
In 3 & 1/2 days the excavator cleared the fence line to a width of approximately 20 ft wide, disposed of the slash (tree stumps, branches and tree trunks under 6 inches) by burial and covered the slash piles.
With the fence line cleared the next steps are putting up the fencing and building the Bear House. Both of these activities will begin before the end of June.