Black bear cub removed from Cochrane Ecological Institute, permit revoked

The cub is named Maskwa, which means Bear in Cree. (Cochrane Ecological Institute)

Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers removed a black bear cub from a wildlife rehabilitation centre earlier this month and revoked the facility's permit to work with the animals.

The move was made June 1 when Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers removed a cub from the Cochrane Ecological Institute (CEI) and revoked its permit to rehabilitate orphaned black bears.

A hunter was out near Kearl Lake on May 16 and called CEI to report a bear cub had been found covered in bitumen. The hunter called the centre after watching the cub for 12 hours and not seeing its mother anywhere nearby.

Clio Smeeton, president of the CEI Centre, says the rehabilitation permit required her to report the bear within 24 hours of taking it into her facility. Smeeton says it was closer to 40 hours by the time she got around to submitting the forms.

Smeeton says she is very busy at her facility right now and the important thing to her is that the bear cub is safe.

Alberta Fish and Wildlife says Smeeton violated other requirements of the permit, such as having the hunter drive the bear part way to her facility, and not bringing the oil-covered bear to the correct veterinarian.

Smeeton says she feels this is all because she’s butted heads with the government in the past. In 2018, Smeeton argued Alberta’s rewriting of orphaned black bear protocol was misleading, and that has resulted in the province coming down hard on her facility.