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Doc features orphaned B.C. grizzly cubs

CBC show Grizzly Rewild features Smithers' Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter as they release five human-raised orphaned grizzly cubs. Show airs 9 p.m. Friday.
Grizzly Rewild is a CBC Nature of Things show featuring orphaned grizzly cubs at Smithers' Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter. The show explores if cubs raised by humans can survive in the wild.

A TV program about five orphaned grizzly cubs that were raised at Smithers’ Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter, North America’s only grizzly rewilding facility, airs Friday on CBC.

The Nature of Things is showing Grizzly Rewild, a film about a first-time scientific study that explores if orphaned grizzly cubs can survive the wild after being raised by humans. The show airs on Friday at 9 p.m. on CBC and CBC Gem.

The show features shelter owner Angelika Langen, who has been trying to improve her grizzly cubs’ survival odds by accelerating their growth and keeping their contact with humans to a minimum. Through the process, Langen is followed by the father-son team of Brad Quenville, writer director, and son Nick who is the director of photography.

“After years of habitat destruction and overhunting, many of North America’s grizzly populations are endangered or under threat,” Brad Quenville said. “When a mother grizzly dies, her orphaned cubs are either euthanized on the spot or sent to a zoo to live in captivity, because it has been assumed they can not survive. The amazing team at Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter believes orphaned grizzly cubs could potentially help rebuild North America’s threatened grizzly populations and we were able to catch some of their groundbreaking work in Grizzly Rewild.”

Grizzly Rewild shoiws distinct behaviours and personalities of the five bears before they are prepared for release into the wild where they will be monitored using tracking collars. Viewers go on an emotional journey, from the bears’ dramatic release and their life and death struggles in the wild, to a chance encounter that ultimately gives hope for the future of the grizzly rewilding project.

First ever video of rewilded grizzly bear den can be seen here.