Yukon conservation officers believed they were giving a mother black bear and her two cubs a second chance for life, and even captured the celebrated release on video.
Instead, the main star of a YouTube video had to be destroyed after she returned to the same Whitehorse neighbourhood where she was removed days earlier.
Environment Yukon conservation officer Ryan Hennings said after the bear and her two young cubs were captured they were released across the Yukon River — an event the officers recorded on video and later posted on YouTube.
But the sow returned to the same area Monday and was spotted going through trash.
Hennings said conservation officers didn't know the animal had cubs when she was put down, and now they're trying to find the young bears, which will be taken to a veterinarian for assessment.
"We didn't expect her to cross the Yukon River with those cubs," said Hennings. "That was a surprise."
The 2:12 video posted July 10 was shot in a grassy clearing surrounded by trees and shows two conservation officers releasing the three bears from a trap on the back of a pickup truck.
In the video, which has been viewed more than 44,000 times, the mother bear is seen trotting out of the trap and knocking over the video camera. A second camera shows images of her cubs — about the size of a medium dog — taking off in a different direction.
The cubs return, passing briefly before the second camera, and then head off in the same direction as their mother.
The unnamed conservation officer then exits his truck and approaches the knocked-over camera.
"Ew, she slobbered all over my camera," he tells his smiling colleague. "She slobbered all over my camera."
The two men give each other a high-five for what the first conservation officer calls a "job well done."
"She got a second chance at life," he said, before the video ends. (CKRW)