The Cochrane Ecological Institute and Wildlife Reserve recently released four bear cubs into the wild after two years of rearing and rehabilitation, something it won’t be able to do again according to Alberta Sustainable Resource Development (SRD).
The provincial government is forbidding the seven wildlife rehabilitation centres in Alberta from treating about a dozen species of animals - including cougars, bears and mountain sheep - and requiring them to euthanize seven species on-site out of concern for human safety.
According to Darcy Whiteside, spokesperson for SRD, the new policy hasn’t been finalized, but he expects it to be complete by the end of 2011.
“We are working on a review on all standards for wildlife centres. These animals present a risk to public safety either through diseases such as Hantavirus and rabies or because they can be habituated to humans,” he said.
“With these animals, there is too much of a public health risk. Releasing a moose, cougar or bear that not only has no fear of humans but actually (connects) us with food is dangerous.”
The government is working with wildlife rehabilitation centres on the review, he added
Hancock Wildlife Foundation