AS A MEDIA MEMBER I was lucky to visit Boo — a rescued 15-year-old male grizzly bear at Golden’s Kicking Horse Mountain — before the general public and while the staff fed him breakfast (a mix of fruit and nuts). It’s a humbling experience to witness these animals up close, something you don’t want to do in the wild.
Boo was rescued along with his brother when their mother was shot by a poacher. Unfortunately, his brother didn’t survive — he had a twisted intestine — but Boo has flourished in the 20-acre refuge on the mountain. It’s the largest enclosed and protected refuge of its kind in the world. Many important discoveries have been made by observing him growing up. It was once believed that cubs needed their mother to learn certain survival skills, like den building, but the staff have been able to observe that Boo was instinctively able to learn many skills without his mother. This knowledge has been key in the rescue and eventual release of many other bear cubs since Boo was taken in.