By the end of June, the Northern Lights Wildlife Society in Smithers plans to have all 45 of their rescued bears returned to the wild.

Last season they broke a record for the number of black bear cubs rescued.

Out of the 45 bears, they have one grizzly that will be airlifted with a helicopter back to Bella Coola.

Angelika Langen with the society says they’ll be travelling over 15,000 Kilometres across the province to release the bears into their original habitat.

She says it helps keep the population balanced.

“Each area supports only so many animals and if you keep adding to it then you’re going to wreck the natural balance – and we don’t want to do that,” says Langen. “They would be part of that population if the mother hadn’t been killed by a vehicle or a hunter…etc.”

She says there’s also genetic reasons for bringing bears back to where they were rescued.

“There are things that we don’t know, so in order to not upset the natural balance we always bring them back into the population they belong to.”

So far this spring, the society has rescued two cubs after their mother was killed in a collision with a vehicle near Smithers.

Langen says they haven’t seen the record breaking number of rescues that came early last season. She also says there haven’t been any den rescues.

With bears just starting to emerge from their dens, Langen is reminding the public to be vigilant.

She urges people to be careful on the roads and be responsible with wildlife attractants.