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Prince George neighbours team up to rescue bear cubs

'It really was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity'

"Do you need a hug?"

Laura MacDonald of Prince George asked the young orphaned bear cub as he looked longingly at her as the Conservation Officer took him away to be reunited with his two siblings.

She and the tiny bear had formed an attachment when they spent three hours together last Sunday afternoon.

It all started when the North Nechako Neighbours Facebook page was put on high alert as three cubs wandered onto Rosia Road. No one had seen the mom.

The first cub was captured by Conservation Officers earlier in the week and taken to the Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers to be cared for while the other two cubs continued to roam.

Last Sunday, those two lucky cubs wandered into the right yard because the determined MacDonald and two neighbours spent three hours making sure they stayed in one spot long enough for the Conservation Officer to come and get them, ultimately reuniting them with the sibling already at the Smithers' sanctuary.

“We weren’t going to let these cubs get away, we knew they needed a safe place to live and thrive and we knew if we just hung in there the Conservation Officer would come and get them,” MacDonald said. They wrangled the bears by creating a three-way barrier.

“We had to shoo them up the tree every now and then to prevent them from escaping and we fed them blueberries and apples. We knew they were starving because they’d been without their mother for a long time and they were just too young to find food for themselves and so then I got out a couple of frozen salmon steaks for them.”

Looking back on it MacDonald said it was a really awesome experience.

“It was worth the wait, it was worth the heat,” MacDonald said. “I got within arm’s length of the bears. It really was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be that close to the cubs. It was a definite neighbourhood effort.”