What would you do if you found a defenseless baby animal lost in the woods? Forty-one-year-old Corey Hancock did the same thing you probably would: he rescued it. And according to the authorities, this was a serious mistake.
A little detour to visit one of my favorite viewpoints on the west end of the Gorge.
Posted by Corey Hancock on Samstag, 25. März 2017
Corey was hiking through the beautiful mountains of Oregon when he saw something that caught his attention: a small bear lying on its back in the middle of a trail.
«I hid behind a tree and made sure there wasn’t a mama anywhere,» Corey reported. But it soon became obvious that the bear was alone, and it wasn’t moving. He thought that perhaps its mother had abandoned it, or that a hunter had hurt it. Then he decided to act: he took off his shirt, wrapped the animal in it and ran to his car.
«He was totally unresponsive: I tried tickling his feet, messing with his ears and he didn’t move at all,» Corey said. Despite its lack of movement, he noticed that it was breathing, so he drove for 20 minutes until he had reception on his cell phone. He then posted this photo on Facebook asking for help and advice on what to do with the bear:
Help!!! Rescued a baby bear that was left for dead. Where do it take it?! It's barely breathing and not very responsive. Heading on the Santiam highway towards Salem
Posted by Corey Hancock on Montag, 27. März 2017
A shelter for wild animals took the bear cub in. It was clear that it was severely malnourished. They managed to rehydrate the animal and stabilize its temperature. Within 12 hours they were able to move it to another animal shelter, this one controlled by the government. It was here that Corey’s heroism was called into question.
An employee at the shelter warned that he might have to pay a fine for rescuing the poor bear. They explained to Corey that baby animals are not to be removed from their habitat unless there is definitive proof that the mother is dead. Babies are often left alone while the mother hunts and it does not mean that they have been abandoned.
Fortunately for Corey, in this case the authorities made an exception because of the circumstances and only gave him a warning instead of a fine. Corey was grateful, but also admitted that he would do it all again if he had to: «I don’t think anyone who was a parent or a good-natured human being could walk away from another mammal taking his last breath.»
Meanwhile, the little cub is doing much better and is already running around and playing. When it’s old enough to survive on its own, it will be released back into the wild.
Taking animals out of their natural habitat is never advisable, but because of the bear’s condition in this case Corey obviously did the right thing. Thanks to him that little bear now has a chance at life and can soon look forward to roaming the forests of Oregon for many years to come.