Parks Canada says it's still trying to figure out what to do with three bear cubs found under mysterious circumstances in a Banff outhouse and hopes to find space at a suitable wildlife rehabilitation centre in another province.
"Given all the criteria at this point, I don't think we're going to land in Alberta," acting Banff field unit superintendent Sheila Luey told The Calgary Eyeopener on Wednesday.
"We've been reaching out to our contacts across the country."
Alberta effectively outlawed the rehabilitation of bears about six years ago, citing concerns over public safety and how the animals fare in the wild once they've become habituated to humans.
Local wildlife refuges exist but are forbidden from taking bears and releasing them back into the wild without special permission from the provincial government.
Luey said Parks Canada employees are taking care of the cubs for now and still searching for a suitable rehabilitation facility to house the animals, which are believed to be about three months old.
"We are looking for a facility that has sufficient space for three bears, expertise and a track record in rehabbing them back into the wild, and is licensed to receive bears for the purposes of rehab," Luey said.
"It is a tall order but I think we'll get there."
If that's not possible, Luey has said a zoo would be the next option.
It's still unclear how the three cubs ended up trapped inside an outdoor public washroom on the side of the Trans-Canada Highway, just west of the Banff townsite.
A park visitor who stopped to use the facilities discovered the animals and contacted Parks Canada.
There was no sign of the cubs' mother or any bear activity in the area at all, Luey said.
"We've had lots of calls but no substantive tips about how they came to be there," she said.
"The fact is that we don't know how they got there and we may never know how they got there."
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With files from The Calgary Eyeopener