North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre co-founder Robin Campbell is pictured with the famous bear cubs just before their release on Friday.

Bear cubs spared from death by conservation officer released into the wild

Conservation officer Bryce Casavant was suspended for not following orders to shoot the bears near Port Hardy in July of 2015

Jordan and Athena are free.

The bear cubs made famous worldwide by a conservation officer who was suspended after refusing to shoot them in July of 2015 have gained weight and were in good health after a year at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre (NIWRC) in Errington, according to one of NIWRC’s founders, Sylvia Campbell.

They were released into the wild on Friday.

“Today was a good day,” Campbell said after the bears were released. “Body condition showed they were in excellent condition, with both showing a good weight gain and fat layer.”

In July of 2015, Conservation Officer Bryce Casavant won the hearts of animal lovers everywhere when he opted not to shoot the cubs after their mother was destroyed for repeatedly raiding a home near Port Hardy. The Conservation Service’s deputy chief Chris Doyle said in April he doesn’t believe anything was wrong with a policy that suspended Casavant and later transferred him for refusing an order that he kill a pair of cubs deemed habituated to humans.

Casavant launched a grievance after he was first suspended, then transferred out of the CO service and into another department following his actions in defiance of provincial orders. According to his union, the grievance was dropped.

Boosted by the support of British comedian Ricky Gervais, an online petition for Casavant’s reinstatement eventually passed a total of 300,000 signatures.

The location of the cubs’ release Friday remains a secret. Campbell said veterinarian Helen Schwantje and the Ministry of Environment’s Sean Pendergast, along with a conservation officer were in charge of the bear’s release.

“Blood samples plus hair follicles were taken for a DNA database, as well as neck and chest measurements,” said Campbell, describing the time just before Jordan and Athena were released. “Sexes were determined and ear tag numbers were verified to determine that indeed these were the correct bears being released (NIWRC currently has eight bear cubs in their care).”

Satellite collars were placed on the bears to be tracked by the Ministry of Environment and NIWRA,” said Campbell. “The collars are designed to eventually fall off.”

— with files from Black Press

Just Posted

Driver escapes from crash in Sidney

Town truck and another vehicle collide, causing van to roll over

Victoria Women’s March draws hundreds

Pink pussy hats aplenty as demonstrators took to downtown streets

FISHING ADVENTURES: Winter fishing season in full swing

Upcoming fishing events include Local Pub’s Salmon Superbowl Derby and Victoria Boat Show

GALLERY: Storm causes damage along the waterfront in Greater Victoria

Municipal crews are cleaning up Monday following Sunday’s high wind and waves

Sooke Riptide soccer team advances to Lisa Cup Finals

Riptide defeats Gorge in shootout on Saturday afternoon

Backyard of $2.2M Uplands property bulldozed for BMX jump track

34-year-old financial advisor fulfills childhood dream

Tofino and Ucluelet wowed by biggest waves in a decade

“Even in pictures you show the kids and that, unless you’re witnessing it live, it’s like no other.”

Police fear fewer fentanyl imports don’t signal the end of the overdose crisis

RCMP say it’s just as likely that criminal are getting more clever

UPDATE: Two people die in ATV accident south of Campbell River

Third person survived attempt to cross a creek

Coal dust escaping rail cars spurs B.C. petition

Local governments are on board with Shuswap resident’s request for better control of escaping particulate

Vikes women run to 6-0, win first rugby sevens tourney of season

UVic Vikes this week: Hoops teams host shoot for the cure

Lawyers slam ‘de facto expulsion’ of student guilty of sexual interference

Calgary student guilty of sexual assault of a minor allowed to finish semester

B.C. NDP set to restructure union bargaining

School trustees to regain control over employer group

New development in missing plane near Revelstoke

The family of Ashley Bourgeault believe they have found a new clue

Most Read