Rare white raven, bear cubs recovering at Vancouver Island wildlife centre

The North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre (NIWRC) in Errington is currently caring for a rare white raven and a pair of orphaned bear cubs.

NIWRC says the juvenile white raven came into the centre last week after it was found on the ground and unable to fly in the Oceanside area. It's one of only a handful of white ravens that have been cared for at the centre over the past 30 years.

The centre says typically white ravens have a compromised immune system and don’t make it to adulthood.

"We are hoping that in a captive situation we can overcome these hurdles," said Derek Downes, an animal care technician at NIWRC. "Get it’s immune system firing on a strong level, then perhaps we'll be able to succeed with this one."

The white raven is considered sacred to the Oceanside region and some have been spotted in the area off and on for several years.

It’s not clear what causes the white pigmentation of the ravens seen in the area, but it’s believed to be a recessive gene passed on by the black raven parents.

Meanwhile, NIWRC is caring for two sibling bears who were picked up by conservation officers near Woss, B.C. earlier this week after their mother had died.

The two bear cubs and are in good condition and are eating on their own, according to the animal centre.

The cubs were born in February and their prognosis looks very good to be released back into the wild next year.

"They’ll be in our care until probably next June," said Robin Campbell, founder and operations manager of NIWRC. "It’s going to be a journey and they’re going to have to pass many, many tests before they go home."

The recovery centre will have things come full circle in a couple of weeks when the three black bears they took in last year are expected to be released.