Corey Hancock from Salem, Oregon was in the woods taking photos. It was a Monday evening and when it started raining, he decide to head back.
On his way back he saw something on the ground. He saw a bear cub. The bear cub was emaciated, soaking wet and barely breathing.
“It was laying on its back,” Hancock said in a phone interview, “barely moving. It twisted a couple times. Its paws weren’t moving. It wasn’t breathing. It was dying.“
Corey had a tough decision to make. as it is quite common for young to temporarily be left alone in the wild, the mother could still be around. He did not want to face the wrath of a mother bear. On the other hand, he could not simply just let the cub die.
After 10 minutes and no sign of a mother, Corey wrapped the cub in a flannel and sprinted a mile and a half to his car.
“I thought about my 2-year-old son, and I saw a baby that deserved to live,” Hancock told The Washington Post. He posted on his Facebook, “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“
Corey performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation along the way when it appeared the animal had stopped breathing.
“It would take like a breath like every minute and a half,” he said. “I pulled over a couple times and debated on whether he was dead or alive.”
At last, someone from Turtle Ridge Wildlife Rehab, which was closed, opened up to accept the bear.
When Hancock arrived at Turtle Ridge, he said, an employee put the cub on on a heat blanket and injected him with some electrolytes.
“He start warming up and breathing better,” Hancock said.
Hancock called Turtle Ridge at 6 a.m. Tuesday and the rehab facility said they stayed up all night and the cub was hydrated and starting to move around.
“The cub, nicknamed ‘Elkhorn,’ received care throughout the night,” Charles Harmansky-Johnson of Turtle Ridge wrote in an email. “Close to 2 a.m., after several rounds of subcutaneous fluids, his hydration and body temperature finally normalized.”
“Nearly 12 hours later,” Harmansky-Johnson continued, “Elkhorn is showing significant signs of improvement. He’s being more vocal, attempting to stand and move around.
Harmansky-Johnson called Hancock a “hero.”
Elkhorn is now in the custody of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
While ODFW said they didn’t want to speculate on the exact situation of Hancock’s cub, they advised “to never assume a young animal is orphaned unless they saw the mother die. It is quite common for young to temporarily be left alone in the wild.”
But after reviewing Hancock’s story, Sylvia Dolson, executive director of Get Bear Smart Society, told The Washington Post that Hancock made a good decision.
“The rescuer, in this case, did the only thing any caring person should do,” she said, noting that the cub “would have almost certainly died” without help.
“Some mothers may leave their cubs unattended in a tree for several hours while they go to find food,” she said. “The cubs are safe in the tree. A cub lying on his back on the ground almost comatose is dying. I personally support stepping in and saving their life.”
Read more at