About 50 protesters gathered outside the Assiniboine Park Zoo early this evening to rally for a small bear to be sent to a sanctuary.

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Rene Dubois points to a photo quilt his family made of Makoon's stay with him after the black bear cub found in a ditch near St Malo. Protestors gathered in front of the Assiniboine Park Zoo Wednesday to protest the province's handling of Makoon.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Rene Dubois points to a photo quilt his family made of Makoon's stay with him after the black bear cub found in a ditch near St Malo. Protestors gathered in front of the Assiniboine Park Zoo Wednesday to protest the province's handling of Makoon.

About 50 protesters gathered outside the Assiniboine Park Zoo early this evening to rally for a small bear to be sent to a sanctuary.

The rally was held for Makoon, a five-month-old black bear cub that weighs about 14 kilograms.

Makoon is at the zoo and is due to be released back into the wild soon, a move the protesters do not support.

Judy Stearns, who started an online group dedicated to stopping the bear from being released into the wild, said more than 10,000 people have signed an online petition protesting the release.

She said a bear sanctuary in Ontario has offered to care for him.

"It's not just because he's a cute, cuddly bear cub," she said.

"I don't like to see any living being... tossed out into the wild to suffer by our own government."

Gabrielle.giroday@freepress.mb.ca