ENVIRONMENT

Gut-Wrenching Photo Shows Mother Bear Standing Over Cub Killed By Car In Yosemite

An emotional post from a park ranger detailed the heartbreaking toll vehicles take on wildlife.

Yosemite National Park shared a heartbreaking story from a ranger that illustrates the deadly consequences of driving recklessly or too fast in the park.

“We get this call a lot,” begins the now-viral post, shared on the park’s social media accounts on Friday. “Too much, to be honest. ‘Bear hit by vehicle, dead on the side of the road.’ Sadly, it’s become routine.”

The bear turned out to be a cub around 6 months old. The ranger, whose name is not given, carries the cub away from the road to a grassy spot. The ranger notes the cub is female, which “immediately triggers thoughts of the life this bear may have lived ― perhaps she would have had cubs of her own.”

It’s then that the already emotional post takes a truly gut-wrenching turn. The ranger hears a stick snap and sees another bear nearby. At first, the ranger thinks maybe the bear is scavenging or is possibly also trying to cross the road.

“But then I hear it, and it changes my mind completely,” the ranger wrote. “From behind me there’s a deep toned but soft sounding grunt. I immediately know what it is. It’s a vocalization, the kind sows (female bears) make to call to their cubs.”

The meaning is clear: “This bear is the mom, and she never left her cub.”

“The calls to the cub continue, sounding more pained each time,” the post reads. “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 quickly left, but first set up a camera to capture the “sad reality” of animals hit by cars in Yosemite. Vehicle-bear collisions are one of the “leading causes” of black bear mortality in Yosemite, according to Keep Bears Wild, an initiative from the park and the Yosemite Conservancy,

The National Park Service states that at least eight bears have been hit by cars in Yosemite and at least one killed so far this year. CNN notes that Yosemite is still currently in the midst of its peak season, which is from June-September.