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Orphaned bear cubs find winter home in Cochrane

Last Updated Oct 10, 2018 at 3:32 pm MDT

Alberta has rescued its first orphaned black bear cub, shown in a handout photo, under a new policy that allows for private rehabilitation. Alberta Environment says two black bear cubs being rehabilitated for the first time in years will be returned to the wild by mid-October, despite concerns that it's too early. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Alberta Environment MANDATORY CREDIT

CALGARY (660 NEWS) – The Alberta government is allowing the Cochrane Ecological Institute, a non-profit wildlife facility, to keep two orphaned black bear cubs through the winter.

Charlie and Maskwa came to the institute back in June and were initially supposed to be released on Oct. 15.

“If they were released now, they would have less than a 30 per cent chance of survival, but if they are released after they’ve had one hibernation, the chance for survival goes up to slightly more than 80 per cent,” explained Clio Smeeton, president of the institute.

Smeeton says the early snowfall changed the minds of provincial officials.

The cubs are in a four-acre enclosure.