Did he do the right thing by scooping up a bear cub he thought was abandoned?
On Monday evening, Corey Hancock was hiking along the Santiam River in Oregon. He’s a nature photographer, and was looking to take some photos when he stumbled across a tiny black bear cub.
“It was laying on its back,” Hancock told Oregon Live, “barely moving. It twisted a couple times. Its paws weren’t moving. It wasn’t breathing. It was dying.” He told Oregon Live that he waited for 10 minutes to see if any other bears would arrive. This seems dangerous, but we’ll get back to that. He decided to scoop the cub up and run a mile back to his car, where he took this selfie — imploring his Facebook friends for help.
“Help!!! Rescued a baby bear that was left for dead. Where do it take it?!” he frantically asks Facebook. I was totally waiting to see that one jerk friend who always posts “Let me Google that for you” when you ask a question. His friends were much more helpful. He said he gave the bear “some little rescue puffs like it was a baby,” and tickled its feet. One of his Facebook friends recommended he call the Turtle Ridge Wildlife Rehab, who opened up to accept the bear.
“It’s recommended to call ODFW or us here at Turtle Ridge if you encounter wildlife you think may need help,” the post says.”This was an uncommon situation and we appreciate Corey for trusting us with the distressed cub’s care.” Translation: don’t touch bear cubs, ever — Corey already did so we don’t want to make him feel bad about it.
“We advise people to never assume a young animal is orphaned unless they saw the mother die,” Michelle Dennehy, a spokesperson for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife told Oregon Live. “It is quite common for young to temporarily be left alone in the wild.”
“We see this happen a lot in the spring,” Dennehy said, “with all sorts of young animals including birds, deer fawns and elk calves, and even cougar kittens, getting picked up because people assume they are orphaned. Removing young animals from the wild is not a good thing to do for them. These animals miss the chance to learn important survival skills from their parent.”
The internet is arguing about whether Corey is a hero, or… not so much.
There are those who think he had no business grabbing the cub:
Most baby wildlife that appear to be abandoned are NOT. I know people have good intentions, but please, just leave them alone.
It’s shocking to see how many people think this guy is a hero. IF the animal would have died it could have been food for something else. ‘Circle of life’ is only cute in the Lion King folks. Wildlife experts (who didn’t take selfies) said the cub would have probably been fine.
And somewhere, there’s a mama bear looking around going “WTF?” Dude….let the wild be wild.
And others who think he’s a hero:
It awesome that a dying wild baby animal was nursed back to health. It’s human instinct to want to protect and care. Especially for a helpless baby.
Give this man a medal of honor.
This guy did the right thing by watching from a safe distance before acting. If he hadn’t picked up this cub, it would be dead. No doubt.
The experts seem to agree: don’t mess with nature. Call someone who is an expert at dealing with this sort of thing, and pray the cub will make it through.
And if you want to do something to help situations like this one, you can donate to your local wild animal refuge or sanctuary.