YOSEMITE VILLAGE, Calif. (WFLA) — A post on Yosemite National Park’s Facebook went viral after describing how a mother bear grieved after losing its cub to a driver.
On July 16, the park reported that a bear cub had been hit by a vehicle and was left dead on the side of the road.
“We get this call a lot,” the park said on Facebook. “Too much, to be honest. ‘Bear hit by vehicle, dead on the side of the road. Sadly, it’s become routine.”
The person who wrote the post said they went to look for the cub around 4 p.m., although they thought the incident happened around noon.
After getting there at 5 p.m., the park ranger then found the cub’s body a short distance from a car part broken from the undercarriage.
“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 post reads. “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. I let out a deep sigh and continue on with my task.”
The ranger then had to get to work with moving the cub’s body away from the road so no other animals looking for food would get hit while scavenging.
“The least I can do is find it a nice place to be laid,” the ranger wrote. “I lay it down in the grass protected by one of the nearby logs and sit back on the log opposite of it, slightly relieved that it looks far more in place now than when I found it earlier. I take another moment and then continue with my work.”
Then, while filling out an assessment in their binder, the ranger spotted another bear staring at them. The ranger tried to scare the bear away by standing and smashing a stick over a tree, but it returns, this time making a type of grunt that mother bears make to summon their cubs.
“I turn and look in its direction and there she is, the same bear from before intently staring back at me,” the ranger said. “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. I can just imagine how many times she darted back and forth on that road in attempts to wake it. It’s extremely lucky that she wasn’t hit as well. 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.”
The ranger then left the area, but before they left, they set a remote camera to show what happens when a careless driver hits a bear.
“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 ranger said in their final words. “Go the speed limit, drive alertly, and look out for wildlife. Protecting Yosemite’s black bears is something we can all do.”