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'Probably pretty slim' chance Canuck is alive, says scientist

Last Updated Oct 11, 2019 at 10:01 am PDT

(Courtesy Canuck and I via Facebook)

Chances that Canuck is still alive are ‘pretty slim,' a scientist says

While crows mate for life, Canuck’s partner Cassiar will move on

Still no body, no clues in Canuck the Crow’s disappearance

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – “Thou know’st ’tis common; all that lives must die, passing through nature to eternity.” While the words of Shakespeare will live on, Canuck the Crow’s demise is inevitable if it hasn’t occurred already, says one expert.

Some biologists loathe to comment on the issue, fearing a backlash from the corvid’s loyal fan base. However, John Marzluff, also known as “the Crow Whisperer” is bravely declaring the probability that Canuck is still alive is “probably pretty slim.”

Without a body, he concedes there are numerous possible explanations.

He believes it would have been easy to kidnap the bird, so isn’t ruling out that theory which has become popular with most of Canuck’s followers.

“He’s certainly used to being around people and confiding in people so it would be simple I think to catch him and keep him inside,” says Marzluff.

“Crows do tame down relatively quickly,” he adds.

Prepare for heartache

Cassiar, Canuck’s partner, called out for him in the days following his disappearance. Those who often observe her daily say she’s clearly changed her behavior .

If Cassiar is in mourning, however, it’s only a matter of time before she moves on, something fans may want to prepare for, according to Marzluff.

“That bird will re-pair with another crow as soon as possible and get on with life as a crow which means to defend space and raise more young,” he says.

While crows do mate for life, when one of them dies that deal ends at the behest of nature; after all, it wouldn’t be well-adapted for any animal to avoid potential reproduction, according to Marzluff.

Media reports put Canuck’s age at four years old. “The probability of death is constant with age in birds beyond a couple of years in age. So still about 10% chance of death each year,” says Marzluff.

The famous corvid was nursed back to health by a kid in East Vancouver, but he chose Shawn Bergman as his best friend.

Online Thursday, Bergman posted a renewed plea for help.

“I understand that this is a stressful time for all of us that love Canuck and want him to come home. As bleak as things look, hope is still there in all of us. And in this time of not knowing and wanting answers, please; be kind to each other,” he writes.

A $10,000 reward for Canuck’s safe return has failed to turn up any leads.

A murder mystery?

A petition has been started demanding the City of Vancouver review it’s CCTV footage of the area near Boundary and Lougheed where Canuck and his partner Cassiar usually spend their time.

Jane Mason, who lives in Illinois, started the Change.org campaign. She is adamant the mayor should be stepping in and the city should be combing through CCTV footage to try to find out if someone bird-napped the unofficial mascot.

“This bird vanished without a trace, completely. Poof,” she says.

“Somebody either took him on purpose, poached him basically, to have him as a pet,” she says “Or, there’s a lot of people who thin he should be … out in the wild and completely on his own.”

Mason also worries Canuck got into a vehicle or truck near the PNE and ended up a long way from Vancouver without any way to get home.

Her focus has been pressuring Kennedy Stewart to backing up the statement he made at a September 4th press conference where a reporter asked the mayor what he thought about the issue days after Canuck’s disappearance.

She says she’s contacted the mayor’s office countless times but has never heard back.

“I believe the best possible clue to what happened is on a CCTV somewhere,” she says.

‘Still magic in the world’

The passionate relationship that Canuck’s friends and fans have with him as an international superstar is a bond that’s hard to describe if you’re not a part of the fever.

“Canuck is a wild spirit who has chosen to spend his life with a human being,” says Mason. “That is a bit of magic that the rest of us, we’re not privy to that. To see that, just a little bit of it, it let’s you know there is still magic in the world.”

But there are detractors. Bergman says “Threats, vigilantism, trolling, etc had been put up on the [Facebook] page by various individuals.”

When someone posted to Craigslist they found a dead crow with two leg bands, as Canuck dons, Bergman and the fan base tried to verify the post, which was eventually taken down, to no avail.

The person who posted it claimed he received death threats and accusations so he was forced to remove the post.

In it he wrote: This is the most absurd situation I have dealt with in my 50 odd years on this earth. I’m sorry your bird is dead. I didn’t kill it. And will have no further involvement, due to the numerous threats against finding me and hurting my family.”

One biologist NEWS 1130 reached out to, said she was weary to comment, as Canuck fans can be aggressive in their campaign to keep Vancouver’s city-wide search alive.