Donate Now Through!

Canada Helps is a secure site that allows you to make one-time donations or apply automatic monthly contributions to your credit card. Thank you for your generous support of our wildlife rehabilitation and community education programs.

“They need you. We depend on you.”

Get North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre Email Updates

* required


Email & Social Media Marketing by VerticalResponse

Black Bear Rehabilitation Program

"The goal of this study is to enable us to confidently take into care wild black bears, and rehabilitate them back to the wild."Robin Campbell Wildlife Manager


Young cubs arrive to the centre at about 2.5 kg. and are released about eighteen months later.

In 1997, NIWRA made the decision to construct and manage a bear program for Vancouver Island Bears. In doing so a captive bred bear (Knut)  came to the center to help us perfect the design and operation of our facility for the care and feeding of these animals, to study their hibernation habits and to control their overall environment and human contact.

The center has spent approximately $430,000 to construct a bear nursery, clinic, examining rooms, rehab area, play areas, pre-release enclosure and a 120' X 120' enclosure with a cave, pond, and a catch and receiving chute. Major funding for this project came from the late Arthur Knowles, the Donner Canadian Foundation and an anonymous donor.

Bear Cub Release Program


When NIWRA gets a call that a bear cub is coming there is a sense of excitement. When the cub arrives the visitors lucky enough to be at the center get to share in this excitement until the cub is taken into our treatment center. Once there the cub is weighed and checked and put into quarantine for 24 hours. If we have another cub at the center we can then begin to introduce them to each other.

Having two cubs makes rehabilitation and release easier. They have a buddy and cuddle up with each other. The plan is to raise the cubs with minimal human contact until they are old enough to be released back into the wild either this fall or next spring.

The cubs are fed  bear milk replacer, cottage cheese, puppy chow, rice pablum, apple sauce, and liquid fish vitamins four times a day until they are old enough to start eating more natural foods. This would include a large variety of fruits and berries, a  large variety of vegatation, some insects and meal worms and fish and meat - we often hide their food to make them hunt for it just as they would in the wild.

The bears are on closed circuit TV 24/7 for the public to view - because we want to release them back to the wild they must be kept away from all human contact.

 2014 Bear Cub Release

Dr Schwantje Checking on Sedated CubSedated Bear Cubs to be ReleasedWeighing Bear Cub Prior to Release

All 10 cubs at the Centre were sedated, examined and prepared for transport to their release sites on July 8th, 2014. We had 8 Conservation Officers, Dr. Helen Schwantje, a 4th year vet student and staff from the Ministry of Environment on-site to help with the event. This year we had admitted cubs from the following areas: Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Campbell River and Duncan and the cubs were returned to excellent habitat in the regions they came from.  Everything went very smoothly as we worked in 2 bear facilities to isolate individual bears in order to safely sedate and examine them. They were transported in large culvert traps by the Conservation Officers to sites way out in the bush. The cubs had grown significantly since they were admitted and ranged in weights from 66kg-100kg. They were all deemed to be in excellent condition and should adjust to life in the wild well.


We have an exclusive opportunity for you to share in the excitement of what we do here at the Centre and be a part of the tremendous work involved in the care of our bears.  It takes plenty of resources to feed and care for them and you can contribute towards the costs by purchasing shares..."bear shares" if you like!

In addition to share certificates you will receive NIWRA merchandise at certain levels of participation.  Here's how it works:

  • Purchase 1 share at $50.00 and you receive a share certificate worth framing
  • Purchase 5 shares and you receive a certificate plus a NIWRA pin and our "Wellness to Wilderness" DVD which chronicles our history
  • Purchase 10 shares and you receive a certificate and the official NIWRA zippered hoody with logo
  • Purchase 20 shares or more and you receive all of the above plus the book "The Unknown Path to Success" which tells the story of Robin and Sylvia Campbell, their life journey and the creation of NIWRA. 

To participate in this funding opportunity, please give the centre a call at 250-248-8534 and we would be pleased to help you.

All donations are tax-deductible.