Two bears to be euthanized says ministry to Dallyn

These bear cubs, affectionately named Dolly and Danny, were taken in by Mark Dallyn last year when a sow was shot and killed in April. After fruitless attempts to have them adopted by a zoo in Canada, Dallyn agreed to attempt to hibernate them over the winter. After successfully caring for the animals and ensuring they would remain wild, Dallyn recently released them on Aug. 7. (Photo by Jillian Doucet)

By Ben Ingram

Mark Dallyn of Healing Haven Wildlife Rescue recently learned that two bears under his care will be euthanized,  after others he successfully cared for over the winter were released on Aug. 7.

The two bears that were released by Dallyn came to him after their sow was shot and killed in late-April of last year. After struggling to find a new home for the cubs, Dallyn received approval to care for them over winter and release them this summer.

Last week, Dallyn again got a call saying some cubs had been orphaned in the area.

“I work at the park and a momma bear got put down at Kimball. There was two orphaned cubs, so I came there and climbed up the tree and spent an hour-and-a-half lassoing these bear cubs, about 25 feet up,” he said.

The 25-year-old animal lover has become known by friends and family as ‘bird guy’ and ‘bear guy’ for his collection of wounded and orphaned animals that he routinely raises and heals for life in the wild.

From sparrows and mice to bald eagles, bears, deer and coyotes, Dallyn said he’s had experience with them all.

“Right now there is a white-tail fawn, a mule deer fawn, a bald eagle, a canada goose, two northern harriers, a merlin and a great-horned owl,” he said describing the veritable ark of wildlife currently taking refuge in his sanctuary.

But the news that the two bears he recently acquired at Kimball are to be euthanized is something Dallyn accepted with reluctance.

“This hasn’t happened before and the ministry isn’t ready for the regulations and policies,” he said, outlining their demands that he obtain insurance and construct a secondary fence for safety. “Pretty disappointing, because I know I can do it but they won’t let me this time.”

Dallyn was visited by Rob Tether, a wildlife ecologist with the Ministry of Environment who was also involved with the first pair of animals.

The two met on Thursday to assess the facility’s readiness for another pair of cubs and Tether said he found the shelters in need of upgrades “for his own safety and his own liability.

“He would like to move into the area where he can try and rehabilitate bears and other carnivore type things, but right now he’s just set up for deer and smaller mammals,” Tether said.

The ecologist said the ministry needs to conduct an investigation into the overall effects of raising bear cubs for release into the wild, to consider what it could mean for public safety and wildlife in general.

According to him, sows getting shot in the parks is a rarity. The two incidents, one last year and this year’s shooting, were the first in several years.

“We want him to be successful because we use him quite a bit for everything else, so it’s unfortunate that these two cubs may not survive,” Tether said.

For Dallyn, black bears are a species that he feels are misunderstood and feared unnecessarily.

“Everyone sees them as monsters, mean and they’ll eat you and stuff,” he said. “They’re really nothing to be feared, just respected.”

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