Corey Hancock, a 41-year-old man from Massachusetts was determined to take a hike through the lush Santiam River Trail in Oregon in spite of the weather forecast. Hancock was looking forward to seeing a specific waterfall he had discovered during his last hike in the same area. He explained on a Facebook post that he wanted to see the waterfall “swollen” from recent rains. This amateur photographer also added that he just needed to breath some fresh air.
He was clothed in waterproof clothing and gear, but he wasn’t prepared for such massive downpour. He was afraid his camera would get damaged, so he decided to turn back. He retraced his steps and found a black figure that wasn’t there before where the flowers were blooming. The figure was in fact, a bear cub appearing almost dead. His lips were blue, and his eyes were open but seemed hazy and unmoving.
Hancock realized immediately that there might be a mother bear around. So, he took a quick photograph of the bear cub and then waited nearby to see if the mother would return. The rain continued to get worse hitting on the cub’s weak body. The man, who is also a father, couldn’t wait any longer. So he grabbed the bear cub, wrapped him up and carried him to his car. The bear was hardly breathing. As soon as he had a cell signal, he posted his situation on social media, asking for advice as to where to take the cub.
The cub stopped breathing several times while he waited on the side of the road for someone to give him a piece of sound advice. Hancock performed CPR and brought him back. The cub had very little time.
Finally, someone responded and told Hancock to take the cub to Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center. The staff was modified immediately and were expecting the sick cub. Hancock named him “Elk Horn.”
A staff member, Mary noticed immediately that he was significantly underweight and dehydrated. He was also diagnosed with pneumonia. They wrapped Elk Horn in warming blanket and gave him an IV filled with essential electrolytes.
Hancock felt reassured by the facility and left him behind in capable hands of Mary.
Although, his life was saved not all his Facebook followers agreed that he had done the right thing. His story had gained a lot of attention overnight. Some among them had alerted the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and lodged a complaint since it was illegal to move the bear cub without contacting them first. Hancock faced a large fine and even a year jail time for doing such an act.
Hancock was cleared once the investigation found that he did what he had to for the bear’s survival. He did the right thing All the charges were dropped.
On the other hand, Elk Horn began to improve due to necessary medical attention. He was moved to a facility in Washington where he was monitored just enough so that he could return to the wild in Oregon.
Hancock received some truly emotional ‘thank you’ messages and letters from those who appreciated his action. When asked what led him to save Elk Horn, he replies rather humanely, “I thought about my two-year-old son and I saw a baby that deserves to live. If I would have walked away for the bear to die, it would have haunted me for the rest of his life.”
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