A lone little black bear spotted hanging around the Catalyst mill in Townsite was successfully trapped Sunday night and whisked away to safety, food and friends. “We estimate the cub was not in the cage for more than an hour or so before Catalyst employees John Pearsall, Craig Lockstead and Ed Westgate came to the rescue,” said Bill Chinn, Protection Working Foreman and ERT Supervisor at Catalyst Paper.
Cattie’s adventures started on Friday November 13 when Chinn notified the local SPCA that there was a small bear roaming around the mill grounds. The SPCA contacted Whales and Dolphins BC and Susan, a volunteer for the organization, helped Chinn rebuild an old trap they then positioned behind the A&K Electric trailers at the bottom of the G4 hill. “This is where the cub was last seen hanging out,” Chinn said. “The trap was set with fresh fruit inside in the hope it would entice the bear to enter.”
BC Wildlife Conservation officers gave their consent to set the trap and Catalyst employees were encouraged to avoid the area in order to keep human scent away from the surrounding area. “Protection staff checked regularly over the weekend to see if the front door of the trap had been tripped,” Chinn said.
Late Sunday evening workers found the cub within the cage. “Susan was contacted and once the cub was transferred to a carrier pen Susan transported the bear to her home overnight,” Chinn said. “There, the cub was fed all sorts of fruit for her airplane journey to Critter Care in Langley.”
The little female cub weighed in at 28.4 lbs. and is estimated to be approximately 6 months old. “This weight is about half of what a bear that age should weigh,” Chinn said. “It was obviously hungry and looking for food. At Critter Care she will be looked after and fed appropriately. The great thing about organizations like Critter Care, is they don’t let the bears become habituated to humans. They rehabilitate each bear for release back into the wild at an age-appropriate time.”
“Cattie” was flown to Vancouver by Pacific Coastal Airlines, but chances are she won’t remember her remarkable journey. “She was sedated to undergo her complete physical and tagging, which was filmed by CTV news,” Chinn said. The story was broadcast Tuesday, November 17th on CTV evening news but the town of Powell River was not mentioned. “But we knew it was “Cattie” because they had her correct weight,” Chinn said.
By Tuesday afternoon news came back that “Cattie” was doing well in Langley. “She is eating and they do not anticipate any health issues or concerns going forward,” Chinn said. “This, despite the fact she ingested some plastic during her foraging for food prior to capture.”
The trap that was set to lure little “Cattie” to safety. All photos courtesy of Bill Chinn and Catalyst Paper.