Bear cub killed by car with grieving mother beside it at Yosemite

A mother bear stood by her cub’s side (left) hours after it was hit by a car at Yosemite National Park (Picture: Facebook/CNN)

A black bear cub killed by a car at Yosemite National Park had its mother grieving by its side for hours. A park ranger snapped a photo of the tragic scene and shared it in a plea to visitors to slow down and prevent future bear deaths.

The ranger’s photo and lengthy story of what he saw was shared on the national park’s website and Facebook page on Friday.

‘We get this call a lot. Too much, to be honest,’ the ranger wrote in the post. ‘”Bear hit by vehicle, dead on the side of the road.” Sadly, it’s become routine.’

The ranger said he saw a small, light brown body laying feet away from him on the road and picked it up. The cub weighed only about 25 pounds and could not be much more than six months old.

After moving the cub into a grassy area to avoid other animals from scavenging on it and also possibly getting hit by passing vehicles, the ranger said he saw an adult bear staring back at him. The ranger scared the bear away and continued with his work of assessing the cub for a report, as the job entails.

The ranger soon realized that the watching bear was the cub’s mother.

‘This bear is the mom, and she never left her cub. My heart sinks,’ the ranger wrote. ‘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 ranger said the mother’s calls to its cub continued, ‘sounding more pained each time’, and it was time to pack and up and go even though the work was unfinished.

But the ranger set up a remote camera to snap the picture before leaving.

‘Why? Every year we report the number of bears that get hit by vehicles, but numbers don’t always paint a picture,’ the ranger wrote. ‘I want people to see what I saw: the sad reality behind each of these numbers.’

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