TEAM UNDERDOG
CANADA'S MIGHTY MOUSE JOINS FORCES WITH UNDERDOG

Help Orphaned Bears

Readers step up to help orphaned bears

FOOD, MONEY WELCOME: One who responded to Province story is former swimming great Elaine Tanner

ELAINE TANNER

She was known as the Mighty Mouse of the pool when she was a swimmer with the Pacific Dolphins and hauling in a slew of medals at Olympic, Pan Am and Commonwealth Games in the 1960s.

Now Elaine Tanner is one of many readers who responded to a Province story Monday, readers who want to help out the Critter Care Wildlife Society in Langley, where two to three times the usual number of orphaned bear cubs have wound up this summer and fall.

“We love animals,” Tanner said, speaking also for her husband, John Watt. “And these little bear cubs, it’s so sad.”

Tanner’s first book, called Monkey Guy and the Cosmic Fairy, is at the publisher and due out late next week. She and Watt will donate $1 to Critter Care for each book sold, on top of an initial upfront cash donation.

“The book is about unconditional love and caring and friendship,” Tanner said. “I thought this would be a perfect tie-in to help Critter Care.”

A Langley fruit and vegetable broker, Krown Imports, is donating food for the bears.

The Province received phone calls from Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland wondering if money could be donated instead.

It’s all welcome, said Gail Martin, founder and executive director of Critter Care.

“Money is always welcome from the public, that’s how we survive,” Martin said. “And we need food to continually come in.”

Donations can be made to the Critter Care Wildlife Society at 481 216th St., Langley, B.C., V2Z 1R6.

Critter Care has taken in a record 26 orphaned cubs this year.

Most were underweight. Two cubs rescued on the weekend weighed only 20 pounds or so, a third of what a healthy bear should weigh at their age and faced long odds against surviving the winter in the wild.

Four of the rescued cubs died within 24 hours of being transported to Critter Care and the centre has reached out for donations of fruit and vegetables to feed the remaining 22, plus the 80 or so other mammals it’s rehabbing.

The cubs will be taught to forage and will be released back into the wild in the spring.

In an average year Critter Care might take in between 10 and 15 orphaned cubs, Martin said.