He looked on in distress as the young bears struggled to keep their heads above water. Their mother was now far away, completely unable to help them.
And he was no more than a simple fisherman, who just happened to be witnessing this agonizing event by sheer coincidence. This sort of thing probably occurs in nature all the time, he thought. But as he heard the panicked cries of the cubs, he decided he had to help. He turned to his friend and began to hatch a plan.
An Ordinary Fishing Trip
Moscow-born Ruslan Lukanin had not gone to the lake that day to take part in a wild adventure. All he and his friend wanted was to spend a nice, relaxing afternoon fishing and having some drinks.
But, with Lake Vygozero having an area of 1,250 km2 and over 500 densely wooded islands, it’s safe to say that anything can happen. And, sure enough, he and his friend soon became spectators to the ruthlessness of nature.
Something In The Water
As Ruslan and his friend fished, they suddenly spotted three creatures in the water. It was a mother bear and her two cubs, swimming along trying to cross the lake. This in itself was not an unusual sight, as bears are extremely common in the Russian wilderness.
But soon the men realized something was not right. As the mother swam confidently toward one of the islands, her cubs were starting to struggle. Ruslan and his friend could not believe what they were seeing.
Fighting The Current
It was a windy autumn day, and the current in the lake was strong. Before long, the mother bear and her cubs were drifting farther and farther apart. And, though female bears have a strong motherly instinct, it’s safe to say she was thinking of her own survival.
So she trod along and continued toward the island, while her cubs struggled to stay afloat. The two fishermen were faced with the very real possibility of watching the young bears drown. Ruslan decided it was something he couldn’t allow to happen
Ruslan didn’t want to approach the cubs while their mother was still within reach, fearing she might turn around and attack them and their boat.
But as the seconds ticked along, he and his friend watched the cubs become more desperate. Finally, he decided that the mother was at a safe distance. He and his friend steered the boat toward the cubs, slowly as to not startle them. But, to their amazement, it seemed as though the young bears knew this was a lifeline.
Running Out Of Time
As soon as Ruslan’s boat was within reach, the cubs started to swim toward it. The closer they were, the more he realized how exhausted the young bears already were.
They would not be able to stay above water for long. But he didn’t know how to actually get them on the boat, or whether it would be safe for him to do so. The cubs, though, didn’t wait for him to make a move.
Trying To Climb Aboard
One of the cubs paddled close enough to the boat to put his paws on the side. But he kept slipping as he couldn’t get a strong hold to propel him onto the deck.
That didn’t mean he was going to stop trying, though. Ruslan and his friend watched in amazement as the cub gripped the side of the boat with his teeth. Meanwhile, they were trying to figure out how to help him on board. A promising idea came to mind.
The men decided to use their fishing net to help push the cub onto the boat. But it would be no easy feat — a soaking wet bear cub was infinitely heavier than the fish the net was designed to hold.
But this was their best chance, so they had to try. Ruslan jumped into the water while his friend took the net and slowly slid it under the cub’s bottom, hoping to scoop him up and propel him over the side. Then, an incredible thing happened.
The cub turned toward the men and looked straight at them, seemingly acknowledging their efforts to help. He struggled and grunted as the net slowly raised him higher, all the while Ruslan spoke to him in a calm, hushed voice.
“We’ll rescue you, don’t be afraid,” he said to the bear. He wondered aloud whether the cub would bite them, to which his friend replied, “He won’t, he’s just clinging on for his life.” Then, finally, the miracle occurred.
Hauling Him Onboard
With the help of the fishing net, the cub made it onto the boat at last.
Though the men had worried he’d attack them in fear, it was clear this young bear was too tired to do anything except lie where he had landed. But the fishermen knew their work was not done yet — the other bear cub was still in the water. Luckily, they knew what to do.
Going Back For The Other Cub
Armed with the knowledge that their fishing net was strong enough to support the weight of a young bear, the men confidently scooped up the other cub as it continued to struggle to stay afloat.
They deposited him next to his brother, then stood there for a minute letting what they had just accomplished sink in. Then, it was time to decide what to do with the young critters.
Where Was The Mother?
Ruslan and his friend knew that the best chance the cubs would have to survive was to be reunited with their mother.
Even though she’d left them to fend for themselves in the lake, she’d probably be happy to have them back. So the fishermen headed toward the island that she had swum to. But it remained to be seen whether they’d actually find her.
The men dragged their boat ashore and cautiously looked around, hoping to catch a glimpse of the female bear. However, she was nowhere in sight.
Meanwhile, the cubs themselves didn’t seem to be in a rush to find her. They stayed inside the boat, too weak to get up and walk away. Ruslan and his friend knew there was only one thing they could do.
Taking Them To The Forest
Though they had been reluctant this whole time to get too close to the cubs, the fishermen knew they would need help getting out of the boat and into the forest. So, with the utmost care, they picked them up once more and transported them to the edge of the trees. They left them there and sailed away, hoping their mother would find them.
As they watched from the boat, a hulking figure emerged from the treeline. It was the cubs’ mother! She looked at the men as if to thank them, then they all trotted back into the bushes.
Footage of the cubs’ rescue was shared on YouTube by Russian media outlet RT. The video quickly went viral, amassing almost 200,000 views in a few months. When interviewed, Ruslan was asked why he and his friends took such a risk. “It was dangerous, of course,” he said. “But they are living creatures. We couldn’t just look the other way.”
One cop found himself in an even more dangerous situation…
There it was, stomping back and forth on the road. They were gigantic animals but at night, they blend in with perfect camouflage and during the day, they make their presence all too obvious.
But as he approached closer, something seemed off. He immediately knew he had to act fast.
That day, traffic was growing by the minute, and the highway became chaos. State Trooper Thomas Owens was stuck in this back-to-back traffic when car horns started blaring because people were losing their nerves.
He knew something was the matter, so he approached closer. But as he did, he noticed a dark figure hiding in the bushes.
When Thomas was a little kid, he loved everything there was to love about cars.
He was obsessed with the high-speed chases and getaways he would see on the news, and he always rushed home, hoping for a glimpse of one when he turned on the TV.
Need For Speed
Some of these chases ended in tragedy, but most of them ended with justice.
Law enforcement always managed to catch the criminals right in time, restoring peace and safety! But Thomas’s mother always was worried about his delight in such high-speed vandals.
When it came time for Thomas to get his license, he was overly excited.
On his sixteenth birthday, he passed his driving test and his mom practically had to pry away the set of keys from his hands. She couldn’t stand the thought of her son becoming a dangerous driver.
Thomas was a young boy, but in no way was he irresponsible. “It’s a small town, Thomas. If we get one sniff of you being reckless, you can say goodbye to the truck,” his mother warned him.
Thomas knew what kind of danger was lurking out on the road, but he never would have expected someone he knew to become a victim of them.
Thomas loved driving around his neighborhood and would even offer to pick his friends up from school and drop them off at their homes.
He always made sure he stayed safe, and he did. But one day, as he got home, he didn’t see his mother’s car in the driveway. Shivers immediately went up and down his spine.
Need To Serve
Panic set all over him, as he made several calls, he learned the truth. His mother was in the hospital and had been involved in a hit and run.
He couldn’t believe how someone could be so reckless and this really touched home for him. That incident made a huge impact on his life in more ways than one. Soon he would know what to do with his bright future.
When his high school was over, he knew exactly what he wanted to do. All of his friends were enlisting in colleges in the state and out of state, but he knew that he wanted to stay right there.
He shared his plan to become a state trooper, and his family and friends were not at all surprised by his decision.
With the years and after his mother’s accident he knew all too well what dangerous driving really looked like and left it behind him.
Still, he had no idea one day he would encounter something on the road that he was not prepared for.
He had become an exemplary Officer, but even with those years under his belt, Thomas had never encountered something like that he did that day.
As he gripped the wheel in traffic, he had no idea what was going on up ahead. Still, he knew something had to be the matter.
Thomas’s first instinct was to think someone might have had a breakdown or a little fender bender up ahead, and that was what was causing the delays.
But then he got closer, and what he saw would be a once-in-a-lifetime discovery.
The figure on the road was enormous, he instantly realized that this was a dangerous bear.
Still, people were getting out of their cars to investigate what was going on, and Thomas couldn’t do anything but instruct them to get back in!
Bretton Woods, where Thomas had grown up and resided spans across 700 acres of land. The land is home to 200 species of birds alone, so it’s no surprise that the land became a protected wilderness.
But Thomas was about to encounter the biggest animal in the Woods, right there in front of him.
Sightings of these black bears were common in the area, but they usually didn’t bother anyone and stayed to themselves.
These animals are very dangerous and everyone in the community knew that, still, with all of Thomas’s extensive training, nothing could have prepared him for what he was about to face.
State Troopers were trained when it came to dangerous animals but still, meeting with one face to face can be extremely nerve-racking.
In the middle of the road, stopping traffic and walking along was an enormous black bear. What on earth was it doing there?
Bears usually hide in the woods and keep to themselves. But this enormous black bear was pacing across the road turning it into chaos.
Thomas yelled for everyone to stay put, but still, he couldn’t put his finger on something. Why was this bear out here?
What To Do?
Thomas got out of his car and started to approach the bear.
Commuters now had been instructed to stay in their cars where they were safe, but Thomas was not. He was on foot, walking towards one of the biggest wild animals out there.
Something Is Not Right
It seemed like the bear was not going to go anywhere, it was still there, pacing back and forth.
Thomas instructed everyone to turn their cars around and go back the way they came, they needed to give this bear space. Still, Thomas had no idea what the problem with the bear was.
Cars turned around, and that is when Thomas decided to take a closer look. He mustered all his courage and began to take more and more steps closer, and that’s when he saw it.
He now knew that this bear had no fear for humans because she had something a lot more critical she needed to protect.
Thomas took a closer look and saw the big black bear had some followers of her own!
Four cubs walked along the road, three of which were right by the mama’s side. However, one little cub sat down to rest.
Not Going Anywhere
The little bears were very young, they wobbled as they walked but still, they could do it on their own.
The little bear that sat in the middle of the road resting didn’t seem to have enough energy to keep going. That is when mama bear did something unexpected.
He had never seen a bear with three cubs, let alone four! But the mama bear was not going to let her baby be left on the road, or that is what Thomas thought.
He could see how the mama of the stranded cub walked up to it and nudged it with her nose, as if showing it the way. Still, he wasn’t having any of it. He was not moving.
Minutes went by and the mama bear tried to show the little bear the way, something was wrong. The little bear wouldn’t get back on his feet and that is when the mama bear knew she had to make a tough decision – she left him behind.
Thomas’s couldn’t believe what he had just witnessed, but as soon as the mama bear was out of sight, he knew he had to help the poor little cub.
Little Bear Cub
When the mama bear had disappeared, Thomas ran to the cub’s side and tried to help it move. It wouldn’t, and it was becoming worse by the minute.
His eyes were droopy as if it was extremely tired or worse, very sick. Thomas knew he had to save this incredible creature, so he picked it up and rushed back to his squad car.
On the way to the New Hampshire Fish and Game Center, Thomas couldn’t help but think of what he had witnessed.
Why would a mother bear abandon her baby on the road like that?
Thomas later discovered the logic behind the mother bear’s decision to abandon her sick cub – If she had stayed with the sick cub, she would have put the rest of the cubs in danger.
Even though that didn’t justify why she abandoned her cub, it did make sense. She didn’t want to put her other babies in danger.
Thomas’s rescue spread across the town, but then, officials gave Thomas shocking information. This baby was not the only one who had been abandoned.
The other officers had seen that mam bear before, and there weren’t four cubs by here side but five! Thomas knew exactly what he had to do.
Into The Woods
Thomas knew he had to search for the other cub, so he talked to the officers and was met by more state troopers accompanied by multiple K9 units.
They needed to find the poor cub, and with luck, it wasn’t long before they managed to locate it, not far from its mother’s crossing location.
They found the fifth cub in poor condition, but as they arrived at the vet, the experts knew exactly what to do.
Still, one question lingered in their mind – What were they to do once they cubs were healthy? They couldn’t bottle feed forever.
Thankfully, the little cubs made a speedy recovery and their carers put it down to their constant company.
Most rescued animals take time to recover due to stress and isolation, but these two had each other!
The center intends to reunite the cubs with their mother once they are strong enough if it can be possible.
And of course, there’s one person who has kept a keen eye on their progress every day!
Protect And Serve
Thomas never expected to encounter such a rare scene while he served, or even ever in his life!
It’s a strange sight to see four cubs together, and it is even stranger to rescue one cub, let alone two! If it wasn’t for his quick thinking, the two cubs may not have made it.
Protecting All Animals
Thomas has become dedicated to protecting all the citizens of Carroll, New Hampshire.
But he has made sure to include all residents in his efforts, including those who walk on four legs!