When Noel was brought to the Northern Lights Wildlife Society in December, she was straggly and starving. Weighing only 32 pounds, she was half the weight she should have been heading into winter hibernation.
A month later, Noel has gained seven pounds and is doing very well.
“She was moved out of quarantine yesterday and is now in the big cage with the other bears,” said Angelika Langen, the founder of the NLWS. “She has claimed a den for herself and is a very feisty little bear.”
Noel, a brown bear, was rescued from Revelstoke, where she was seen wandering around the Arrow Heights area on her own several times in the fall. When she was seen again in early December, Carol Madlung and her neighbours Fred & Penny Lee, arranged to have her brought to the Northern Lights Wildlife Society’s rehabilitation facility in Smithers, B.C.
The Lees drove her north to Prince George on Dec. 5, where she picked up and taken the rest of the way to Smithers. There, she was examined and given a hair cut to remove matted hair filled with burrs.
The NLWS held a Facebook contest to name her. Noel was chosen because of the proximity to Christmas.
She was kept in quarantine until Thursday, Jan. 5, when she was released into the larger cage with the other rescued cubs. She quickly asserted herself and found a space for a den.
“She’s the feistiest bear we’ve ever had,” said Langen. “She doesn’t back down from anybody.”
Langen said cubs heading into hibernation should weigh about 60 pounds, and she expects Noel to continue to put on weight over the winter.
“Because they don’t hibernate, they catch up on the size they lost because of malnutrition,” she said.
If all goes well, Noel will be brought back to the Revelstoke area in June, where she will be released and expected to survive on her own.
Her rescue was one of the few good news stories for bears in Revelstoke during a year where 24 were destroyed by the Conservation Officer Service.
See page 15 for Revelstoke Bear Aware’s year-end report.