This Mama Bear Was Forced To Leave Her Cubs To Drown

Lisa am 24. August 2021
In the depths of Russia, there was a mother bear with her young trying to paddle across a freezing cold lake with her young bear cubs.

Despite early optimism on the part of the mother bear, she was soon faced with the reality of how difficult it would be to cross the lake as, naturally, she was a stronger swimmer than her two baby cubs. What she did next goes against all our basic beliefs about parental instinct. This Is The Heartbreaking tale

We are told that love has no bounds and that it can take many forms, indeed there is no stronger bond than the love between a mother and her babies. Yet, the story of the mother bear and her cubs will go against all that we believe when it comes to the love between a mother and her child.

Sometimes we are surprised by the behaviors of those looking out for themselves, and then again sometimes we can be surprised by the behaviors of those who go above and beyond for others. Those are the circumstances where real love has no bounds.
Lake Vygozero
In the Northeastern tip of Russia lies the freshwater Lake Vygozero, which is where the story of the mother bear takes place. Given its geographical location, it’s not surprising that temperatures can be as low as -20 Celsius (approx. -4 Fahrenheit). Freezing temperatures such as these are too dangerous for humans to swim and therefore poses challenges to fisherman on the lake as well as some of the wild animals who like in the area. Keep reading to see living proof of this.

If you’ve ever hiked in difficult terrain you’ll know how challenging the outdoors can be, especially when the weather conditions aren’t easy, living out in the wild is never an easy affair. Sometimes, this is the same for animals, and in this story, the mother bear realizes this as she tries to cross a freezing lake with two cubs. However, what she did not foresee was how difficult this would be for her two baby cubs.

Can’t keep up
So, what happened when the mother bear tried to cross the lake? she jumped into the lake with her two cubs on her back, she was certain that her baby's were able to tag along with her. Her cubs assumed they would be able to cling onto her back but very early on it became clear that the cubs would not be able to keep up with the speed of their mother, and as she too realized that her babies might not make it… at this something amazing occurred.

Despite everything we know about mothers protecting their young and even sacrificing their own lives for the sake of their babies, this mother bear decided to break free from her cubs and left them in the lake as she continued to swim to the other side alone. Of course, this isn’t what we expect from a mother, but sometimes in the wild, there are no rules and it’s everyone for themselves.
Powerful current
There are always two sides to a story. This mother bear really did try to help her cubs across the lake, but there was a strong current running through the lake and ripped to cubs off the mother bear’s back. Once the cubs were apart from the mother, she had no choice but to keep swimming to the other side, in the hope that her cubs would follow, and together they would reach dry land.

But what happened to the cubs who were left by themselves to swim across a freezing lake? These cubs have never been taught how to swim but had to use their instincts when they were torn from their mother who continued on without them. The lake was freezing cold and in such difficult conditions, the cubs were losing energy and desperately needed help. It was harsh,
Hanging by a thread
The baby cubs were having an extremely difficult time. It’s hard to imagine how they might have been feeling realizing their lives were in real danger. We must assume that they have been terrified and paddling furiously to save their lives. Just as they were starting to lose hope, their fortunes were about to change..

Just at the moment where all hope seemed to be lost, and the cubs could potentially drown, a boat appeared to save the day! Any human would have been shouting to the people aboard the boat to come and save them, but the cubs couldn’t do that. Luckily, the people on board the ship could see exactly what was going on and were there to help. At the same time, the cubs caught sight of the boat and started swimming towards it, possibly thinking that this could be their saviors.
Exhausted cubs
The people on board the ship were actually fishermen, and although they had come out to see in search of some fresh fish to catch, they had to make a quick change of plans in order to help the cubs from drowning. The closer they got, the more they realized just how tired the cubs looked as they were struggling to swim and keep their heads above water. This may not have been in the fishermen’s plans when they set out for that days catch, but they decided they couldn’t leave the cubs to potentially drown.

The fishermen sprang into action, but before they set about rescuing the cubs, the realized that the mother bear was still in the vicinity. Despite her having left her cubs to swim on their own, the fishermen were concerned that if she saw humans interfering, her motherly instincts may still kick in and then who knows what would have happened. eventually the fisherman waited for the mother bear to continue on before they went about rescuing the cubs.
No time to think
As the fishermen waited for the mother bear to leave the premises of the cubs, they began to think about how to actually rescue the tired cubs out of the freezing waters. Despite the many questions of how to rescue the cubs, and what to do with them if they did manage to get them onto the ship, they didn’t have much time to think about it all too much as this was a desperate situation and there was no time to waste.

In today's world where video clips like this go viral, one of the fishermen decided to start filming what was going on and ran to get his smartphone so he could capture every moment of the rescue. Within moments, one of the bear cubs had swum close enough to the fishermen and realized that this boat may be able to help them. The cub then placed a paw on the boat trying to get a good grip, possibly to pull himself up into the vessel.
An interesting plan
The little bear cub was trying desperately to pull himself up into the boat, but unfortunately he was too small to lift up over the side, and besides, he was exhausted from swimming and trying to tread water. The water was very cold and had a strong current, so these were difficult conditions for the bear cub. Luckily one of the fishermen was on hand to try and help and started using any piece of fishing equipment that may serve a purpose in rescuing the cub. The bear responded by trying to get a good grip on some of the fishing equipment, but sadly the cub still wasn’t close enough to be lifted aboard the ship.

In a strange twist of events, it was actually the cubs to started to think outside of the box in a bid to save their lives. One of the cubs started to use their sharp teeth. Though usually bears use their very sharp teeth for hunting on this occasion, the cub used them to his advantage and started to bite down on the ship, it seemed to do the trick!
Still too far
The cub, despite managing to dig its teeth into the side of the ship, was unable to lever himself onto the boat. The fishermen were going to have to find a way to help the desperate cubs out of the freezing lake . After the rescue, the fishermen were quoted saying that they couldn’t “look the other way” and decided that it was their duty to do everything in their power in order to rescue the cubs who were in real danger of drowning to death.

Getting closer to the rescue, both sides realized there needed to be real trust between them in order to succeed, with so little time left, the fishermen and the cubs had to push their fears aside. The fishermen knew that one wrong move could be potentially fatal for the cubs if they were to slip during the rescue. The fishermen and the cubs knew that they needed to trust each other to make sure they were successfully rescued.
Unspoken plea
At that very moment, something amazing occurred. The cub, who had sunk his teeth into the side of the boat came into eye contact with one of the fishermen. It was almost as if they were communicating with each other in a way which showed them they could trust one another. The look in the eye of the cub was heartbreaking for the fisherman, and it was almost as if he could hear the cub pleading to be rescued.

Knowing that they couldn’t leave the cubs, the fishermen agreed that they would do everything they could to rescue them from the freezing lake. They could have sailed away, effectively giving the cubs a death sentence, but this would have stayed with them forever. Instead, they enlisted their fisherman’s net and tried to lift the cubs aboard using that as a tool.
Clocks a-ticking
At first sight, using the fishing net seemed like an ingenious idea, but this was not a foolproof method. It’s important to remember that this net is intended to catch fish, and does not necessarily withstand the weight of a bear cub, still the fishermen decided they needed to give it their best try, in order to help rescue the pair of cubs. They threw the net towards the cubs and tried to pull them in towards the boat. Time was against them and conditions were poor for the cubs.

The fishermen then tried to raise the first cub into the boat, but this was not without its difficulties. The cub weighed a lot more than a net full of fish, which is what these men were used to catching in the lake. It was also the first time the cubs would have been in a net, and no one knew how they would react. There was a real fear that the bears would think they were being captured and try and resist being hoisted into the boat.
Soothing voices
Even though the cubs had been abandoned by the mother bear and were in real danger, there was no predicting how they would react when they were being reeled into the boat by the fisherman. Bear cubs are potentially vicious and dangerous, so it was important the fisherman kept calm and kept the cubs at ease as they pulled them towards the vessel. The trust at this point was vital so that the bears would feel safe with the fishermen.

Even though these were not fully-grown bears, who as adults can weigh as much as 1300 pounds, they still weighed a considerable amount. They were also soaking wet which meant their fur was weighed down by water, making them even heavier for the fisherman to try and lift them out of the lake. There was a fear that the cubs would be too heavy to be pulled from the water but the fishermen persevered.
Just one more pull
The fishermen feared they may not succeed in rescuing the cubs and so they had to muster all of their strength to keep pulling. Slowly by surely, the fishermen worked, and the first cub inched closer to the deck of the boat. They were nearly there and both the cub and fishermen felt how close they were to this ordeal is over. It was a mixture of nervousness and anticipation. Excitedly, the fishermen pulled on the net one more time. They were so nearly there.

The first bear cub was now on the boat! They had done it! Even though only half the task was done, the fishermen were confident that the net would work and they would be able to repeat the process with the second cub. However, it may not be quite as simple, as this cub was swimming further away from the boat, and had been in the water longer so was going to be exhausted from trying to tread water for even more time than his brother cub.
Bear cub number two
This was still a dangerous situation for both fishermen and the second bear cub, but now the fishermen knew what to do in order to rescue him from the lake successfully. They navigated the boat closer to where the cub was swimming and threw the net out into the water to catch the cub. The second time around the fishermen knew how the process should go and so things were a little easier. They encased the cub in the net and began to draw him closer to the boat.

The fishermen used all their remaining energy to pull the second bear cub onto the deck of their ship. They had succeeded once already so they knew how much effort it would take but they were willing to put it in to rescue the second cub. He was also heavy, fur soaked with water but they managed to hoist him up onto the deck, and they were now both safe. The fishermen needed to decide their next steps in dealing with the cubs.
Truly a miracle
To think that two bear cubs were now aboard a fishermen’s vessel is a strange thought, but of course, knowing the full story, this was a moment for everyone to celebrate. The cubs had been successfully rescued and could now recover from this ordeal, which could have very easily taken their lives. Thinking about the whole story, it is clear that their rescue was almost an act of divine intervention.

The cubs were now safe with the fishermen on board the boat, and so far the fishermen to properly examine them. It didn’t take long for them to realize that the cubs had some severe shakes. Perhaps this was the cold, or they may have been terrified. Imaging how the cubs must have felt, not only were these dangerous conditions in the water but now they had been pulled to safety they were confronted with a whole new challenge or being surrounded by humans.

Fishermen resolution
Realizing what a frightening situation the cubs were in, the fishermen wanted to do whatever they could to help them. The cubs had found a way into the hearts of the fishermen and seeing the cubs shivering and scared was difficult for them. They resolved it would be best to return the cubs to their natural habitat, in the woods. Given that the mother bear was only just a little ahead of them, the fishermen decided it would be best to bring them back together.

The fishermen started to look for the ideal location to reunite the mother bear with her cubs. They decided it would be best to look on the island which the mother bear had swum towards as even though at the moment she had left the cubs to swim for themselves, the fishermen were confident she would still want to be with her cubs. After searching, the fishermen identified the last location where they had sighted the mother bear. But, how long would it take for the mother bear to be reunited with her cubs? and what would she do when she saw them again?
Edge of their seats
As the fishermen approached the shore, there was no sign of the mother bear, there was much anticipation on the boat, both among the fishermen as well as the cubs. The fishermen on board had no idea how the mother bear would react. There was a real chance she could attack the fishermen, but they had already decided the right thing to do was to reunite the cubs with their mother, even if this put the whole crew in danger.

The fishermen waited for the mother bear to appear but after some time they still hadn’t seen her. Still, the fishermen knew it was best to leave the cubs to try and find her, even though they had grown fond of the cubs in this short time. The little cubs were tired and lacked in energy, so the fishermen carefully picked them up and brought them onto dry land. They thought this was the safest way to reunite the cubs with their mother.
Final goodbye
Having safely returned the cubs to dry land, the fishermen could reflect on the amazing events of that day. Since it had all been filmed by one of the fishermen, they were able to recount the entire thing in all of its beauty. The fishermen had proof that this had happened and they were very proud of their achievements that day. They had become close to the bear cubs, which was something that would stay with them forever.

This story is touching and inspirational. The fishermen literally risked life and limb to rescue these two cubs who could have savagely attacked them if they thought they may have been in danger.
It was not only the cubs who were in danger but the fishermen too as they had no idea how the cubs would react upon rescuing them. It was a gamble on the part of the fishermen, but they did what they thought was right for the well being of the cubs. This is a fantastic story of humans risking their lives to save animals.

In this story, we saw a group of fishermen rescues two drowning bear cubs, but this is not the only example of exemplary human behavior. There have been cases of one-man swimming to save a 400-pound bear stuck in the ocean, and other people risking everything to rescue a dog from a canal. These are special people who you can read more about here.