Is it always best to let nature take its course?
That's a question some are wrestling with in the Canadian province of Alberta, regarding a black bear cub that has been spotted limping in a field west of Calgary for the past 10 days.
Provincial regulations prevent the rescue of the cub, which is between 1 and 2 years old, under the presumption that it's best to let nature decide the fate of wild critters. (Black bear cubs typically stay with their mothers for about two years.)
But with the bruin out in the open, spotted on a regular basis, it's understandable that local residents are upset.
Rob Evans, chief of the Redwood Meadows Fire Department, recently captured footage of the bear favoring its left leg in the field, with a coyote watching from the nearby bushes.
It remains unclear how the bear was injured – whether it was hit by a car or perhaps attacked by a larger animal.
"The only real predators are humans and grizzlies, and it just seems like unnecessary suffering," Evans told the Calgary Sun.
Evans told CTV News that he wanted the footage to try to rally support for the injured black bear.
"I wanted to go and record this and hopefully get someone to help the bear," Evans said. "Whether it's putting down the bear, which I don't want to see, or capturing it and letting it heal properly over the winter for a release in the spring, if that's possible, I wanted to record it. It's just a stronger emotion for people if they can see what the bear is going through."
At least one wildlife care facility has expressed a willingness to take the bear in, but Alberta regulations prohibit rescue groups from capturing and releasing bears and other large animals.
Alberta Fish and Wildlife Department officials have acknowledged the presence of the injured bear, and are hopeful that it will heal on its own. The extent of the cub's injury is not known, but besides the limp it looks reasonably healthy.
Evans, however, expressed concern about the onset of severe weather. "Just letting it freeze or starve to death during the winter doesn't seem right," he said.
More about black bears from GrindTV