From Marineland to Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is thrilled to announce that Sasha, the black bear, has officially found a permanent wildlife residence at Aspen Valley after being fostered with the Sanctuary for one year. Sasha comes to Aspen Valley from Marineland in Niagara Falls where he was formerly known as Slash.
A wildlife sanctuary is a facility where animals are brought to live and be protected for the rest of their lives. Located on 460 acres, Aspen Valley has both the facilities and natural environments needed to meet the biological and behavioral needs of Ontario’s native species on a long-term basis.
“Animal Welfare Services reached out to us last fall.” said Linda Glimps, Executive Director, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. “They were looking to rehome Sasha, and knew that we provided forever homes to native wildlife that cannot be released.”
After several consultations with Animal Welfare Services, Aspen Valley agreed to foster Sasha, and the Ministry of Natural Resources gave the Sanctuary the green light to proceed. He was two years old at the time.
“The decision to foster first was an important one. We needed to determine if Sasha was a good fit with one of the five other black bears who already call Aspen Valley home,” said Glimps. “Caring for a sixth, much larger, black bear is a very big commitment, and yet we were determined to help Sasha.”
Upon arrival at Aspen Valley in November 2022, Sasha was given his own outdoor enclosure where he was able to settle in, and explore almost an acre of forested woodland, with a pond and natural denning sites to hibernate in.
“I’ll never forget when he came out of his den this Spring. He had clearly never seen so much snow before, and wasn’t sure how to navigate it,” said Janalene Kingshott, Director, Animal Welfare, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary. “He literally took to doing the army crawl for a few days.”
“Sasha is a big bear with an even bigger personality, and everyone that met him during his foster with us was quick to fall in love,” said Glimps. “The question was would Sasha get along with another bear in a single enclosure?”
After becoming accustomed to Aspen Valley’s other bears through the fence line of their adjoining enclosures, Sasha was introduced to Clover late this summer. Clover is a three-year-old bear that was born at Aspen Valley after her mom (Honey Pot) was rescued from a facility that breeds. Aspen Valley does not buy, breed or sell wildlife.
“It was an incredible moment … watching Clover enter Sasha’s enclosure, and the two getting to know one another,” said Kingshott. “Today, they can be seen enjoying each other’s company, and even sharing the occasional meal.”
“Following the successful integration, we then put in the request with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Animal Welfare Services to formally adopt Sasha,” said Glimps. “The adoption papers were signed early this month and Sasha has officially found his forever home.”
Individuals interested in supporting Sasha and the wildlife in care at Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary are encouraged to make an online donation at www.aspen valley.ca. As a not-for-profit, Aspen Valley is solely dependent on the generosity of its donors.
More on Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary
Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is on a mission to keep wildlife wild. Sanctuary programs include:
Rehabilitation - rescuing sick, injured and orphaned wildlife - returning them to the wild once rehabilitated.
Permanent Wildlife - providing forever homes for native species that cannot be released back into the wild due to human interference. Many of these animals were rescued from roadside zoos.
Education - educating the public about living in harmony with wildlife.
While Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is not open to the public, reservations can be made in advance to experience educational guided tours. These tours are a unique opportunity to see the Sanctuary’s now 27 permanent residents (including Sasha) and learn how to keep wildlife wild. Reservations can be made by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org