Column: Transition day for Malcolm the bear

Column: Transition day for Malcolm the bear

Small bruin lovingly brought back to life at North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre

It was a transition day for the bear known as ‘Malcolm’ at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre. Visitors peering through the treatment centre window were fortunate to witness this bear sedated and examined.

This small bear came to the centre in May of this year severely dehydrated which developed into seizures.

His prognosis was poor but Dr. McAdie, who the bear was named after, spent hours bringing this 3.7-kilogram bear back to life.

Malcolm was found on Ross Pass in the Tofino area by the owner of the Tofino whale watching company. Its mother was deceased on the beach but they noticed something moving and suckling on the carcass. Bravely, they ventured onto the beach and captured the cub.

They are the heroes along with Dr. McAdie as they gave this bear a second chance at life. This is why the wildlife recovery centre was started and a story such as this gives the staff and volunteers a great boost of energy to continue on the work.

The term roly poly was given to the bear as it now weighs 45 kilograms, around 100 pounds.

It has gained so much weight it was difficult to find a vein to take blood samples but Dr. McAdie is an expert at this and finally found what he was looking for. The bear was also inserted with a high-tech tracking system under the skin. Further measurements were taken such as body length and circumference.

I remember the day this bear arrived and the horror of seeing it seizure.

I just didn’t think it would make it. It was heartbreaking but I have been keeping track of this bear on the closed-circuit camera and knew it would be a good outcome. As staff entered the enclosure today to dart the bear, its behaviour is just what we want to see, a fear of humans.

Malcolm was moved into the larger outdoor enclosure which is the final move until his release next year.

Dr. McAdie mused wondering what goes through the bear’s mind when they are moved and what it is like for them to return to the wild. I can only think it is a good thing.

Wild ‘n Free is written by Sylvia Campbell and can be reached at NIWRA is open daily year round for public viewing and animal admissions.