Six-year-old Piper Alstad is pictured with a photo and paw print of Ebbe, the orphaned bear cub that is now at the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter. Piper raised $320 for the cub, and helped her get to the shelter in the first place. (Submitted file)

Six-year-old Kootenay resident helps save orphaned bear cub, raises $320

Piper Alstad’s persistence ensured that bear cub Ebbe has a safe place to grow up

Thanks to a persistent six-year-old, an orphaned bear cup from Nakusp is now in the safe care of the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter.

Piper Alstad has spent her last two birthdays without friends and extended family because of COVID-19 restrictions.

In 2021, however, she was finally able to celebrate. Rather than gifts, she opted to fundraise for her bear-cub friend, Ebbe, instead.

“Piper is a Christmas baby, and for the past two years she hasn’t been able to see her friends or family around her birthday,” explained mom, Jenna Alstad. “This year she could, but she said to me that she didn’t want presents. She wanted to help Ebbe.”

Piper raised $320 through her birthday party for Ebbe and the shelter.

“Piper was really worried about Ebbe. We kept seeing her in the forest near our house,” explained Alstad. “Piper loves the TV show [Wild Bear Rescue] and knew that Ebbe needed a home. She established a connection with the Northern Lights shelter, and Angelika. The shelter even sent Piper a picture of Ebbe and her paw print.”

Angelika Langen is one of the founders of the Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter. Langen says that it was Piper’s persistency that ultimately lead to Ebbe’s rescue.

“She’s super cute,” Langen said of Piper. “She was the one who saw the bear cub and called it in. We spoke with the CO’s and one of our volunteers went out there several times to try and capture Ebbe, who was quite elusive and was not interested in being caught.”

That didn’t stop Piper, her intuition knew that Ebbe was orphaned.

“Piper absolutely expected that the bear would be rescued,” Langen laughed. “[Our volunteer] was able to get her and bring her to the shelter. Piper has been checking in on her, and she helped to name her. It has been a lot of fun.”

Langen says that Ebbe is happy and healthy, and that the shelter plans to take care of her until June, when they will return her back to the wilderness.

“We hope that we will be able to bring Piper with us when we release Ebbe, if all goes to plan,” said Langen. “You know, it’s wonderful when young people get involved. It’s important work. These kids are the next generation, who will be filling these roles and we’re just so happy when they are so enthusiastic.”