2:41 PM PDT, July 21, 2021
A park ranger from Yosemite National Park wrote a compelling post on Facebook recounting how a mama bear in despair would not leave her cub when it was hit and killed by a car. He now urges visitors to drive the speed limit and be ‘alert’ in order to protect the park’s wildlife population.
The ranger, who did not want to be identified, detailed his experience of retrieving the lifeless 6-month-old cub off the road and watching his mother call for her baby, Today reported.
“I pick up the cub — it couldn’t be much more than 25 pounds — and begin carrying it off into the woods. I have no certain destination; I’m just walking until I can no longer hear the hiss of the road behind me. I see a grassy spot surrounded by a semi-ring of down logs and gravitate towards it. The least I can do is find it a nice place to be laid,” wrote the ranger.
When he began to log the incident and discovered the cub was a female, he wrote “it triggered thoughts of the life this bear may have lived — perhaps she would have had cubs of her own.”
The ranger then recounted what he described as “deep-toned but soft sounding grunts,” the mama bear made.
“I immediately know what it is. It’s a vocalization, the kind sows (female bears) make to call to their cubs. I turn and look in its direction and there she is, the same bear from before intently staring back at me. It’s no coincidence. I can feel the callousness drain from my body. This bear is the mom, and she never left her cub,” he wrote.
The ranger, who watched the mama bear dart back and forth several times on the road, in hopes of waking her baby girl, described his emotion.
“My heart sinks,” he said. “It’s been nearly six hours and she still hasn’t given up on her cub,” he wrote. “I glance back finding myself hoping it would respond to her call too, but of course, nothing. Now here I am, standing between a grieving mother and her child. I feel like a monster.”
In that moment of despair, the ranger set up a remote camera so he would be able to show how critical it is for visitors who visit Yosemite to drive the speed limit and to protect the park’s black bear population.
“Every year we report the number of bears that get hit by vehicles, but numbers don’t always paint a picture. I want people to see what I saw: the sad reality behind each of these numbers,” he wrote.
“So please, remember this. Remember that when traveling through Yosemite, we are all just visitors in the home of countless animals and it is up to us to follow the rules that protect them. Go the speed limit, drive alertly, and look out for wildlife. Protecting Yosemite’s black bears is something we can all do.”
The caring ranger also left a link for those who want to learn more at http://keepbearswild.org/vehicle-bear-collisions/.