Northern bear cubs get feast

The Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter received truckloads of food from Vanderhoof and surrounding communities

Written by Kimberley Watkins, Prince George

Northern BC opened their hearts & freezers last month for a group of orphaned and injured bear cubs rescued by the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter in Smithers.

Being a volunteer with the shelter here in Prince George, I had seen what a group from Terrace had done for the shelter and decided I wanted to get Vanderhoof, Prince George and points North involved. Elena Penrose, one of Pet land’s kennel technicians, and myself, left Prince George on Nov. 22 with a donated trailer packed with donations from our area. During a lengthy breakdown just outside of Prince George, Cathy Rae Malo, who had organized things in Vanderhoof, and her husband, Marcel, drove the donations out to where we were.

Their pickup truck was packed with meat, fish and cleaning supplies. Our trailer was considerably fuller after the transfer. The people of Vanderhoof came through for the shelter beyond our wildest expectations! Once we got mobile, stops were made in Brookside, Fraser Lake, Stellako and Endako. All these communities had substantial donations for NLWS. Unfortunately we missed the group in Burns Lake but were met out on the highway by another couple with a donation of meat. The trailer was so heavy that we acquired another flat tire and were even short on fuel five minutes out of Houston.

We were happy when locals Kevin Himech and his wife, Marni Laroque stopped to help. We called U-Haul and in the meantime Stanley, aka Norman Flint, one of the NLWS volunteers, had contacted those waiting for us and put out an SOS.

Thank you Derk Sali, another local contributor, who donated meat and brought us fuel! We then limped into Houston where we were met with a new tire and another significant load of donations. Simon Zanderbergen, the district manager for U-Haul, very graciously, got us a free hotel room for the night in Smithers.

Sunday morning we were picked up to go for breakfast by Angelika Langen, who along with her husband, Peter, are the founders of the Northern Lights Wildlife Society. We got to meet the crew from Northern Lights and then headed out to the shelter. Once there, our trailer didn’t want to back in so, after a slip into a shallow ditch, some of the stronger volunteers were able to tow the rig in behind the tractor. Then the fun began. The trailer was so packed we had to watch for falling donations. We had everything from meat & fish and fruit & veggies, to dog food and cleaning supplies, along with lumber, fencing, medical supplies and donations for the online fundraiser that started Nov. 30. The crew at Northern Lights were overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity and wanted us to say thank you so… “THANK YOU!!!”