Most orphaned grizzly cubs never make it in the wild. Often, they are left to die, shot on the spot or taken to a zoo. But in British Columbia, Orphaned grizzlies (Ursus arctos) raised at Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter are being released back into the wild. Bear biologist Lana Ciarniello, co-chair of the human-bear conflicts expert team of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, fits them with radio collars, releases them close to where they were orphaned and tracks them to see if they will make it on their own.
Her study is the first long-term research into whether orphaned grizzlies can be raised and returned to the wild. “We want to give these bears the best chance for survival,” Ciarniello told the New York Times. “We want to set them up for success.”