Rare bear captured after escaping from wildlife park
He definitely has a wandering Spirit.
Just hours after arriving at the B.C. Wildlife Park in east Kamloops, Clover, the Kermode (Spirit) bear, engaged in a great escape.
A zookeeper at the park went to feed breakfast to the white bruin, the only one of its kind in captivity and the latest addition to the park, on Tuesday, Oct. 30, only to find the gated, roofed enclosure empty.
"We'd just introduced him," park general manager Glenn Grant said, "and, now, it's ',Where'd he go?'"
Clover had climbed the 12-foot chain-link wall to the roof of his quarantine pen and managed to work loose a wire holding chain link together at the joint.
"He somehow squeezed through there," Grant said. "There was a lot of fur he left behind."
The enclosure, a 40-foot-square area, will be home to the bear until at least next spring.
The joints of wall and roof are traditionally kept closed, with clamps every four feet and wire twists between those gaps. However, with Clover, the decision was made to put the clamps every three feet apart.
He still managed his escape.
"This is not your average bear," Grant said. "He's a smart little bear."
The park was closed to visitors while staff checked to see if he was still on-site
Then the hunt moved on, with the unfortunate zookeeper in a helicopter and other zookeepers on foot tracking Clover.
They found him just a bit south of the park, north of Eaglepoint Golf Course and Blackwell Dairy, "sitting on a log in a ravine, eating berries. Not a care in the world," Grant said.
Clover's position, however, made it difficult to shoot a tranquilizer dart into him, so staff just kept an eye on him as he wandered around. After a few hours, Clover was in an area open enough to be tranquillized.
He fell asleep, was put into a crate and brought back to his new home at about dinnertime.
Grant said staff is confident Clover will try to escape again, so the enclosure has been adapted to address the bear's ingenuity.
"We've added a lot more clamps," Grant said, noting wire has been woven through the chain-link joints to make them seamless. An electrified hot wire, which will give Clover a mild jolt if he tries to escape, has also been added.
With winter coming, Clover will hibernate soon and, when he awakes in the spring, he'll still be in the enclosure, which has an adjacent pen that is four times larger and has other amenities a bear needs, including a pool.
Clover's name has been the source of some complaints in social media, Grant said, noting the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter named him so because the colour of his fur is similar to that of the clover flower bud — and clovers are a source of honey.
For Grant and his staff, though, the name is appropriate for another reason.
"A four-leaf clover is rare — and he's a very rare bear."