Corey Hancock, a hiker from Oregon, was going on a regular walk near the Santiam river when he suddenly spotted a small bear. Corey wanted to take a few pictures of his hiking trail, but it was raining quite hard and he decided to go back. On the way back, he saw the small black bear a couple of feet next to the trail. It was immediately obvious to him that the little bear was dying.
The bear barely reacted and was extremely slim. Corey was convinced that his mother has abandoned him or was shot by hunters. “He was laying on his back”, Hancock said. “He barely moved, he was dying.”
At first, Corey didn’t know exactly how to respond. He decided to stick around for a bit and hide, to see if the mother would still show up. After waiting about ten minutes with no sign of the bear’s mother, the little bear was almost lifeless. Corey quickly wrapped the animal in his shirt and carried it to his car for over a mile.
The little bear seemed to be on its last legs, so Hancock provided CPR on the animal to keep it alive. He only needed one breath to resuscitate him. Corey asked his Facebook friends if anyone knew what was going on with the bear and asked for advice. Someone suggested that he’d bring the bear to the Turtle Ridge Wildlife Rehab, a center for wild animals. The center was normally closed, but made an exception and opened for Corey and the whelp.
The baby bear was immediately cared for and received a warm blanket and an injection. He started to warm up and breath better again, and the caregivers of the Center stayed up the whole night to take care of the whelp. Hancock visited the bear a few days after, and he was happy to see an active, lively and healthy animal.
The bear was named Elkhorn in Turtle Ridge and was definitely improving. It’s safe to say that Elkhorn wouldn’t have survived if it weren’t for Corey and the caregivers.
Interfering in wildlife is illegal, and solitary confinement and major fines as possible consequences. Luckily, Corey only received a warning.
When Corey was asked if he would do it again, he confirmed without a doubt. “I feel a special bond with that bear”, he said.
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