Video shows B.C. grizzly basking in clawfoot tub

A donated clawfoot bathtub has become the preferred lounging spot for a pair of B.C. grizzly bears, who have been taking turns relaxing and reclining in it – with minimal sibling squabbling – for the past year.

But after an appeal on social media by the BC Wildlife Park earlier this month, a second tub has been secured and they’ll no longer have to share.

Dawson, a 500-pound female and Knute, a 700-pound male have been living at the Kamloops zoo since 2011 when they were orphaned and rescued by conservation officers after their mother was shot in the Yukon.

Tracy Reynolds, the park’s animal care manager, explains that the tub isn’t exactly being used as originally intended.

“We wanted to have a water feature for them, but there’s not many things that would withstand a grizzly bear. So we thought, maybe a cast iron tub, something that they wouldn’t break,” she told CTV News.

“We got one and put a plug in it, which was screwed down with a metal plate. But they pulled that out within 24 hours. So, our plan to have a pool didn’t work, but they love the tub.”

Since posting to Facebook asking for help sourcing an additional tub, Reynolds says they have one that will be set up in the coming days and offers of several more, which they plan to test out on the zoo’s three black bears, who were also recued as orphans.

“We’ll see if they also enjoy lounging in tub much as our grizzly bears,” she explained.

The park got a boost in online followers after an outlet in the UK featured a photo of the grizzlies in their bath, and Reynolds says she understands why these particular animals attracted new fans and are perennial crowd favourites.

“I have to say, our grizzly bears are funny. We try not to anthropomorphize them but I can’t help it, because they are just always doing something that’s so hilarious,” she said.

Temperatures in the southern Interior have been sweltering lately but Reynolds says the animals are generally coping with the heat wave better than the humans who work to care for the creatures and maintain the park. Foxes and other animals that burrow will beat the heat by digging holes. Animals will also seek out indoor areas where they’ll cool off on the concrete floors. Shady areas, misters and water features offer respite outdoors. Frozen treats are also provided.

“We gave a block of ice to the caribou the other day, and he loved it. He just sat there laying next to it, licking it,” Reynolds said.

The BC Wildlife Park is home to nearly 200 animals of 65 different species and operates a rehabilitation centre for injured animals from the Interior.

‘It’s this or that’: Why some Canadians aren’t having kids anymore

Some Canadians feel stuck between a rock and a hard place when considering starting a family, while others are concerned about what their child’s future could look like.

CTV News asked Canadians to explain why they’re delaying their family planning, and, naturally, many pointed to a higher cost of living coupled with fears of being unable to adequately provide for their prospective little ones.

Even though Ashley Ruhl, 31, says she and her fiancé have minimal debt and a combined income of more than $100,000, she can’t fathom how they can afford to have a kid when they are already struggling to buy a house in London, Ont.

“How in the world am I supposed to bring life into this world? To raise a child I feel it deserves the best start. It’s our next generation we’re raising,” Ruhl told via email.

“(They) deserve education, healthcare, sports, social activities. I can’t guarantee that I will even have a roof over my head let alone be able to afford to put my future kid in sports.”

Affordable housing is top of mind for most Canadians, according to a recent survey, with the average cost of a home across the country hovering around $696,179 in June. Average asking rents for a one-bedroom in Canada sat at $1,918 in June, which is up 7.7 per cent from 2023, while two-bedrooms sat at just over $2,300.

“Why would I have a child knowing that I will probably end up relying on government help, child tax credits, etc. We are forced to pay $2,500 a month for rent but aren’t given the opportunity to own but yet can have children freely and get on welfare for the ultimate discounts and programs,” Ruhl said.

While several Canadians who wrote in to cited financial concerns as a primary factor, others were more concerned about the future their children would have and the sacrifices that would need to be made to start a family.

‘It’s this or that’

Michaela Hillery says she absolutely loves children and is heavily involved in the lives of her nieces and nephews. But seeing her loved ones worry about daycare and the lack of placements, saving enough for university tuition, or having the means to put their children through extracurricular activities spikes her anxiety — “and I’m not even a parent.”

For the last decade, Hillery, 32, thought she would have children of her own, which for many is the presumed next step in life.

“You graduate university, you get a good job, you meet someone you want to build a life with, that sort of thing, and I had just always kind of assumed that it was going to happen for me,” Hillery told CTV News in a phone interview.

“And then a couple of years ago, when we’re looking at just the reality of the way life is, it’s like, oh, this might not happen for me and actually, in all probability, is not going to happen for me,” she said. “Especially considering I would have to sacrifice my career, not entirely, but sacrifices would have to be made in terms of my career.”

To start a family would mean coming to terms with the understanding that she won’t attain her financial goals and her dream of being able to retire someday, she said.

“I’d like to think I’m a pragmatist and realizing some people are able to make it work, some people are willing to deal with financial stress and anxiety and that sort of thing, I felt once I started seriously considering what my future was going to look like,” Hillery said.

“I would have to choose, it’s this or that, and there’s not any way to have both, and of the two of them, there’s one lifestyle that I’d rather have over the other.”

Can Earth sustain more life?

For 26-year-old Brandon Dowhaniuk, the “climate crisis” is the biggest factor preventing them from having children.

“There are plenty of things that are already happening and will continue to get worse over time, such as more extreme weather events, scarcity of resources, and decrease in air quality. I don’t feel good about bringing new life into a world when their quality of life in the future is so uncertain,” Dowhaniuk told CTV News in a phone interview.

The Earth shattered global annual heat records, with 2023 being named the hottest to date at 1.48 C above pre-industrial times (and just squeezing below the threshold of the Paris climate accord, issued to avoid the most severe effects of global warming).

Hurricane season started early this summer with Hurricane Beryl barrelling through parts of the Caribbean, Mexico and the United States, knocking trees down, tearing through homes and cutting the power out for millions in its wake. Sweltering heat has also swept across various parts of the world, with June marking the 15th consecutive month of record-high sea surface temperatures.

“I don’t want to bring them into a world where everyone is already struggling and I can’t guarantee that they’re going to have a better life than I have,” Dowhaniuk said.

Instead, Dowhaniuk is considering adoption as a potential avenue for starting a family, but only when they’re financially able to do so.

With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press

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 Deciding on Your Focal Point
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Repetition for Rhythm
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Perfect Proportion and Suitable Scaling
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What is the focal point in your room?  What is your best tip to find harmony and balance through your home?