Yosemite National Park Ranger Shares Emotional Story of a Mother Bear Mourning Cub Killed by Speeding Driver

·3 min read
bear cub killed Yosemite
bear cub killed Yosemite

Yosemite National Park

In hopes of getting drivers to slow down, a Yosemite National Park ranger shared an emotional story of a bear mourning the death of her baby after the cub was hit by a speeding vehicle.

The story was shared on Friday in a now-viral Facebook post from the park. The unidentified ranger recounted the moment he received a call about a dead bear on the side of the road he had to retrieve — a call, he says, he receieves too often.

When that call comes in, the ranger's job is to find the bear and move it far away from the road before filling out a report and collecting information for future research. It was around 5 p.m. when the ranger arrived at the scene, scanning for signs of the bear and finally locating it in the middle of the road.

"Its tiny light brown body laying just feet from me and the road, nearly invisible to every passerby. It's a new cub—couldn't be much more than six months old, now balled up and lifeless under a small pine tree," the park ranger wrote. "For a moment I lose track of time as I stand there staring at its tiny body, but then the sound of more cars whizzing by reminds me of my place and my role."

Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park

Getty

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The ranger then carried the bear, weighing around 25 pounds, into the woods and laid it in a grassy area, protected by nearby logs. They then described hearing a noise nearby before looking up to see a full-grown bear staring back.

"From behind me there's a deep toned but soft sounding grunt. I immediately know what it is. It's a vocalization, the kind sows (female bears) make to call to their cubs," the post continued. "It's no coincidence. I can feel the callousness drain from my body. This bear is the mom, and she never left her cub. My heart sinks. It's been nearly six hours and she still hasn't given up on her cub."

Related video: A mama bear nurses her cubs on the side of the road

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"The calls to the cub continue, sounding more pained each time. 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."  

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The ranger added: "I get up, quickly pack my bag, and get out of there. It is time to go even though my task is not done. Quickly, I set up a remote camera. Why? 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." 

The Yosemite ranger ended the emotional post by urging social media followers and visitors of the park to be more cautious and drive the speed limit in order to look out for the wildlife.

"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," the post concluded. "Protecting Yosemite's black bears is something we can all do."