May 9 – May 15 is National Police Week. The focus is on partnering and collaborating for healthy and safe communities.
This year, Cst. Colin Gilbody took that to include any member of the community, including wildlife. On May 7, Cst. Gilbody was on shift at the Gypsumville RCMP Detachment when a distraught woman entered to report that a bear and three cubs had been struck on Provincial Road 513, only about 300 metres from the Detachment.
Cst. Gilbody had dispatch contact Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development and then headed straight to the scene. A female adult bear was deceased in the ditch. Two of the cubs had run away, but the third cub had been struck by the vehicle also and dragged under the vehicle for a short distance. The cub was lying in the middle of the road obviously injured. Cst. Gilbody blocked the roadway with his police vehicle to ensure nobody tending to the bear would be struck.
The cub leaned against Cst. Gilbody’s leg, and tried to push its little body to standing. It needed help. As a first responder, Cst. Gilbody stepped in until conservation officers arrived.
“I wasn’t sure if it was dying,” said Cst. Gilbody of the little cub. “I felt her, and she was shaking. I wasn’t sure if it was from shock or from freezing, as the asphalt was really cold. I don’t know much about caring for injured wildlife, but I figured I should keep her as warm as possible and try to keep her awake.
“It was a bit nerve-wracking,” he added. “I kept scanning the area because if that wasn’t the mama bear in the ditch, I could be in for an awkward conversation!”
Conservation officers arrived with a cage, and were able to take the cub for emergency medical treatment. By all reports, the cub is doing well, and conservation officers were able to bring another one of the orphaned cubs to Black Bear Rescue Manitoba and located the third one. If you encounter wildlife that appears sick, injured, or orphaned, you should contact a conservation officer in the local district office or call the toll-free TIP line at 1-800-782-0076.
“I’m a huge animal lover. Always have been,” said Cst. Gilbody. “The cub was a cute little thing, and she needed help. I feel very lucky that I was there and got to have this experience. As a police officer, I’m there to help in any way I can. The outcome was really good, and I am glad I was able to play a role in Gypsomville is 242 kilometres north-northwest of Winnipeg in the Interlake Region of Manitoba on the north bank of Lake St. Martin.