An orphaned female Kodiak cub has joined the Discovery Wildlife Park family.
Berkley, who arrived on Wednesday from a private facility in the United States, needed to be separated from her young mother. It was an unexpected pregnancy so the male bear was still with the female and the cub was in danger from the male.
“They took her a few days shy of one month for her own safety,” said Serena Bos, Discovery’s head zookeeper and animal trainer on Friday.
Berkley was in the care of humans as of Feb. 13. After the American facility contacted Discovery, it took time for the necessary paperwork to be completed and processed in order for her to come to Canada.
“One of the focuses of the park is to have enclosures ready for animals that become orphaned so we have the ability to say yes when we get the phone calls to take them.”
Bos said she is the brown bear cub’s primary caregiver. They’re pretty much together 24-7, and Berkley reminds her of a nine-month-old child.
“She’s doing amazing, kind of like all babies — eat, sleep, poop, play hard and crash.
“They are so playful. They are so cute. They have such big personalities, and are such little balls of fluff.”
Berkley is fed a special milk mixture that meets her nutritional needs and as of Thursday she weighed 3.8 kilograms (8.6 pounds). Once she is mature in four to six years, Berkley will weigh between 360 to 495 kilograms (800 and 1,100 pounds).
“Kodiaks are actually the largest land carnivore.”
The Innisfail park now has 10 bears and three-month-old Berkley is the only Kodiak.
Discovery opens for the season on May 1 and a public baby shower for Berkley will be held the first weekend. Donations and gifts will be accepted for the cub. A list of what she requires will be posted on Discovery’s Facebook page next week.
“Like human babies, their needs are unbelievable,” Bos said.
Berkley’s public schedule has yet to be determined, but she will definitely make an appearance at the park’s bear presentations held twice daily. She will also make evening visits to the park’s new campground for campers.
Bos said it’s an unique opportunity for the public to watch a cub grow.
“In the wild if you see a cub, the best thing for you and the bear is for you to get out of the area immediately. Those momma bears are very, very protective of baby bear.”
Momma bears are capable of one of the worst bear attacks and the attacks you hear about most frequently, she said.
For more information visit www.discoverywildlifepark.com