How a Mama Bear and Fisherman Worked Together to Save Her Cubs

By: Past Chronicles Staff | Last updated: Nov 10, 2022

Brace yourself and prepare some tissues because you are about to find out what it would be like to have the encounter of a lifetime with a powerful force of nature. Bears are wild creatures, but there’s no fury quite like a protective mama bear. 

When bear cubs are present, one must always be cautious for a mama bear around the corner as protective mothers can become aggressive if they sense their family being threatened. In this story, we follow the fine line between danger and kindness during a remarkable bear encounter on a boat. 

Where it All Started

Lake Vygozero is a freshwater lake in Russia’s northwest region. This lake is a perfect spot for animals like bears to swim and enjoy themselves during the summer. It’s a true haven for them. However, it’s a different story during the winter. That’s when the water turns into an icy wasteland, which can be dangerous for bears.


The cold temperature regularly drops below -4 degrees Fahrenheit (-20 degrees Celsius) during the winter months. Given the circumstances, we can only imagine how miserable and dangerous it would be to visit that lake. We don’t envy this mama bear!


A Strange Decision

They say maternal instincts are powerful, and perhaps that’s why the slogan “Mother knows best” exists. Knowing what’s best for your kid is an intimate and personal experience when you are a mother. Some people believe that, even if a child doesn’t say anything, their mother will notice if something is wrong.


The rationale for this mother bear’s decision to plunge into the lake with her cubs, despite the frigid weather, is unknown. She endangered not only her own life but also that of her babies. Maybe her intuition kicked in. Or perhaps they all accidentally fell into the water somehow.

A Quick Turn Of Events

We can tell that her decision on that specific day was not the wisest. Her cubs were unable to withstand the cold as they crossed the lake. If you look closely at the photo, you can see the cubs clinging to her in the hopes of gaining body heat from their mother.


As time went on, the mama bear discovered that her endurance and determination were insufficient to survive the cold. After a while, it became clear that she couldn’t hold their weight any longer. The only problem was, the cubs just couldn’t keep going on their own. The cubs eventually ended up stranded in the middle of the lake, unsure of where to go next.

Mama Bear’s Heartbreaking Decision

We can’t express how heartbreaking it is for a mother bear to abandon her children. Simply looking at them must have caused so much agony. Some people say that mother bears are naturally generous animals, prepared to sacrifice themselves for their offspring when their maternal instincts kick in. Thus, the action of this mama bear was a bit puzzling.


The mother bear began to swim away in this story, abandoning her cubs. Was she selfishly trying to save herself over her cubs? Or was she swimming to shore to try to get help or devise a better plan to save her cubs?

The Story Behind Her Decision

Before some of us start hating on the mama bear, we would like you to know what she tried before deciding to leave her cubs behind. She did try to save all of them from the powerful undercurrent and cold temperature of the lake.

She tried her best, but it wasn’t enough. The mama bear and her cubs were torn apart by the current, and she hoped that her cubs would be able to follow her. The mother bear ultimately made it to land after swimming for quite some time.


Urgent Help

In the dangerous lake, we can see the weary and desperate cubs looking for a way to survive – looking for anyone to help them. Without someone to take good care of and guide them, how could any cubs survive such a situation?

All we know is that young bears don’t have much experience swimming. So, help from anyone was desperately needed. As a human being, would you be willing to offer your hand to save these cute bears? We’re curious about how we would react if we were in such a situation.


Fighting To Survive

These cubs had a strong desire to survive their perilous situation. We can see from the pictures how hard they tried to stay afloat amid the crisis. It’s awful to think that they had to face such adversity at such a young age, with no one to guide them.

Anyone faced with this kind of adversity, regardless of age, human or not, is deserving of help. Imagine being alone in the open water, fighting to keep your head above water while struggling to breathe – that’s how vulnerable these cubs were at the moment.


Could They Be Rescued?

After spending so much time struggling to swim, these little cubs were reaching their limits. The only hope for survival was to find someone to help them. Luckily, a nearby boat spotted them.

The fishermen onboard were sure that something was wrong because there was no mother bear swimming with the cubs. It would only be a matter of time until something awful happened to the cubs, so the man who spotted them decided he must act fast and precisely. Time was not on his side. 


The Rescue Mission

When the boat got closer, it was evident that the little cubs were exhausted and nearing their limits. Despite that, they were still fighting to survive in their situation. It was clear that the people on the boat had to do something to ensure the cubs were safe.

The crew had no idea how to safely get them out of the water. This was a fishing boat, but they weren’t used to pulling bears out of the water! The fishermen felt that there was a hint of destiny in their discovery – they were meant to save the cubs that day.


Watching Close By

Despite the mama bear being on the shore, she did not turn her gaze away from her lost cubs. Imagine being the mother bear in this seemingly hopeless situation, wanting to save them but unable to do so. All you can do is watch what happens – how tragic and horrible.


Terrified, the fishermen waited for the mother bear to be at a safer distance before attempting to save her cubs. After all, she was a massive bear, and the fishermen were also concerned for their own safety. It would be far better to help the cubs without risking their lives, right?


Determining The Best Approach

While the fishermen were waiting, they thought of the best plan to ensure the cubs’ safety. They discussed ideas about how to get the cubs into the boat without harming them. Of course, any plan had to ensure that the crew would also be safe.


What do you believe the best course of action would be in this situation? While they may be cubs, they are still wild bears. Even if they wanted to remove them from the water swiftly, they needed more of a plan. If the fishermen unintentionally hurt the cubs, the cubs might misunderstand the rescue effort and attack the fishermen. Not to mention the angry mama bear waiting on the shore!


Gathering Evidence

It’s not every day that people encounter a baby bear, or a bear in general, swimming in the lake, right? The fishermen thought it would be a good idea to snap a few photos for evidence that they caught a lot more than just fish that day.

The fisherman documented the process, starting with discovering the cubs in the lake, their approach to the cubs, and the rescue effort. They didn’t miss a moment because something like this only happens once in a lifetime. We’d do the same if we were them.


The Cubs Asked For Help

We can see how eager the cubs were to survive in their situation. It breaks our hearts to know all the struggles they encountered without the presence of their mother. However, we are also thankful for the kindhearted fishermen who extended their helping hands and nets to the cubs.

When the fishermen saw the cubs crying out for help, they began to put their plan into action, using their fishing gear as tools to capture the bears. The execution of the plan was a little different than they expected, and it was difficult for them to get the cubs up to their boat.


Change Of Plan

Their initial plan wasn’t enough to get the little cubs in their boat. One of the fishermen saw that the bears were struggling to climb on board, so he used fishing gear to catch and bring one cub on board.

Bears are known to have a powerful mouth-gripping ability, and the fishermen knew this, so they took advantage of it. Rather than pushing the cub into the boat, the intention was to lift himself into the vessel using his mouth as support.


Would The New Method Work?

With this new strategy, the fishermen hoped that their rescue mission would be a success. However, the bear couldn’t lift his complete body since he was still too far away from the boat. As a result, they had to make changes quickly because time was not on their side.

They had to physically pull the cub up to ensure it got on board. They needed to act quickly since the cubs were freezing, exhausted, and reaching their limitations at this point. Because it was a matter of life and death, the brave fishermen brushed aside their fears for their own safety.


Holding On And Trusting One Another

At this point, they didn’t bother to think twice. Instead, they just trusted that the cub would not attack them or drag them into the cold water. Trusting a wild creature of another species would be a memorable moment in anyone’s life.

Human communication is impossible without trust. In this case, the fishermen chose to trust that the bear cubs would work with them to secure a successful rescue. The fishermen’s only hope was that no one would be injured while retrieving the cubs.


The Eyes Can’t Lie

Do you believe the saying that goes, “The eyes are the windows to your soul”?  They say that even if your words are full of lies, your eyes will still tell the truth. For instance, if you tell someone that you are okay, but your eyes are telling them otherwise, people will see the lack of sincerity in your voice and words and know that you are lying.


Looking at the pleading eyes of the little cubs, the fishermen were sure that they had to do everything they could to save them. Thankfully, the fishermen were able to find a way to succeed in protecting the little cubs. 


An Interesting Idea

The fishermen were eager to help the little cubs faster. It seems that a connection was growing between them. We believe that even without talking or saying anything, the fishermen and the little cubs understood each other.

Because of this, an idea popped up. Using their fishing nets, the fishermen tried to lift the bears out of the water, just like how they would have done with a large fish if they hadn’t stumbled across the stranded cubs.


Will Their Plan Succeed?

Will using fishing nets designated only to catch fish succeed in lifting the little cubs? We’re a bit doubtful but hopeful that it will work. Regardless, they were ready to risk breaking the net to save the cubs, so they continued with their plan.

And it worked! They pulled the first cub out of the water. Time was running out, so they needed to act quicker, and precision was of vital importance. We can’t help but applaud the dedication of these fishermen to help the poor little cubs.


Hold On Dear Cub

Finally, the cub was on the boat after all of the trial and error. The fishermen caught it with a net and carried it closer and closer to the boat until it was finally able to climb on board! Of course, this was only the start – they needed to make sure the other little bear was also safe.

Despite their success, the fishermen still had to stay attentive. The cub may have been weak and exhausted by what happened to it, but it could still attack them. They ensured that both they and the little cub were safe during the encounter.


Keeping The Cubs Calm

Right before they caught and rescued the first cub, they faced many challenges. One of their most important tasks was to keep the cub calm. The fishermen would have an easier time saving all the cubs if they could keep them calm. After all, they must act quickly since the second cub still needed assistance.


If they didn’t settle down the first bear, approaching the second one would be even more difficult and dangerous. It would put their lives and the cubs’ lives in jeopardy. If you wish to bring a wild animal on board your vessel, you must ensure that they are not anxious or stressed – this is something you definitely do not want.


Pull A Bit Harder

Imagine if the little cubs were adult bears – that would change the whole story. It’s terrifying to deal with an adult bear. Also, they are relatively heavier compared to these little cubs. Still, the fishermen rescuing the cubs realized that even these young bears were actually quite heavy. They worried that the fishing net would break due to the weight and that their mission might fail.

However, it didn’t stop them from trying to pull the second cub onboard. They just hoped that the fishing net would hold out. If not, it would be hard for them to think of another plan, given that they were already exhausted from everything they’d already done.


Just A Bit More

We admire how these fishermen could think and act appropriately, given the weather and the craziness of the situation. It demonstrates how skilled they are at their jobs and at braving whatever Mother Nature throws at them. Despite the cold, the fishermen had to put more effort into saving the young cubs, and they succeeded.

Their plan had allowed them to get at least one cub out of the water. Thanks to their dedication, they succeeded in part one of their rescue. We can’t imagine the thrill the fishermen felt when they managed to get that cub safely onto their boat. They just needed to repeat the process once more.


Smooth Rescue

It’s true that the first try is the hardest, and it’s also true that the first try is not always the best. We can see this through the process of the fishermen to save the first cub. They had to go through a lot of trial and error to rescue the first little cub successfully.

As they approached the second cub, the fishermen felt a bit of relief because it was way smoother than the first one. However, they still had to put in the work. They smoothly pulled the second little cub out of the water using the fishing net once again.


The Little Cubs Are Now Safe 

After a long and tiring rescue mission, the fisherman finally brought the second cub on board. It took all of their physical and mental strength to save these young cubs, and the fishermen were truly exhausted. The next question that the fishermen had to answer was, “what should we do now?”


The question haunted the fishermen as they looked at the two little cubs on their boat and the big mama bear onshore. What should they do next? The fishermen were tired. On top of that, the cubs were exhausted and required their mother’s warm touch. But what would mom think if they approached her with her babies?


Is it Time To Celebrate?

Because of the long time the cubs were in the water, they were exhausted, wet, and freezing. We all know what cold temperatures can do to us. Although tired from everything they had done thus far, the fishermen had to respond quickly, or else all their efforts would be in vain.

The cubs were also terrified by the strange environment they were in. The poor creatures were trembling from fear and cold. Judging by how they reacted to the situation, it’s possible that this was their first interaction with humans. Missing their mother, these cubs were cowering in the corner of the boat.


A Strong Connection

The fishermen felt a solid connection to the little cubs. They had indeed fallen for their charm. Seeing the cubs alone, cold, and in need of warmth, the fishermen wanted nothing more than to protect and comfort them.


They knew that the mother bear was close by, watching their every move. Though they wanted to care for the little cubs, they felt like the right thing to do was to reunite them with their mother as soon as possible. After all, their mother would know the best way to care for and nurture her cubs.


Another Obstacle

The fishermen decided to return the cubs to their mother, but where had she gone? They had to find the mother bear as soon as possible because time was running out for them as well for the little, freezing cubs.

One fisherman remembered the area where they had last spotted the mother bear not so long ago. So, they decided to circle back and search the area cautiously. One of the fishermen saw the spot, and they headed for it, expecting to see the mother loom into sight.


Playing A Game

When the fishermen reached the shore, they couldn’t find the mother bear anywhere. But this didn’t stop them from doing what they had to do. Instead of leaving, they waited for the mother bear to arrive. They held out hope that the mother bear was nearby, watching over her cubs from a distance.

Although, they were hoping for the best, the fishermen were still worried about what would happen if the mother bear didn’t appear. If that were the case, they realized they would have to free the cubs and hope their scent would soon bring them to mama. The fishermen delivered the exhausted and weak cubs to safety by carrying them onto land.


Their Decision

It seemed that the mother bear wasn’t going to show herself, so the fishermen decided to let the cubs roam the shore in hopes that the mother bear would smell the scent of her cubs and return. They were still looking out, fearing that the cubs would be left alone, with no one to protect them.

As they waited, they noticed a movement on the other bank. The mother of the two cubs they rescued appeared to have entered the water and began swimming towards them. The fishermen were happy but also startled.


Getting Closer

The feeling of being reunited with your loved ones is a beautiful thing. You’re able to hug them and feel their warm embrace. Thinking about this, the fishermen were excited that the cubs would be reunited with their mother soon.

However, alongside their excitement was the very real fear of being attacked by the mother bear. They rescued the cubs – this is true. But did the mother bear recognize this good deed? It wasn’t worth finding out. The mama bear was getting closer to them with each passing second. The fishermen were relieved to see she was on her way to get her cubs instead of going over to their boat.


Reunited At Last

Seeing that the mother bear was getting closer and closer to her cubs, the fishermen abandoned them and returned to their boat. They just wanted to ensure that the bear family would be complete before they sailed away from the shore.

Once they saw that the cubs were safe with their mother, the fishermen turned on the engine and sailed away. The men breathed a collective sigh of relief because they knew that the mother bear would never make such a mistake with her cubs again. They could see how happy she was to have them back.


A Bittersweet Goodbye

For the fishermen, it was a sad goodbye. They had felt a connection with the cubs and adored their cuteness. Leaving them on the shore was a hard decision for them, but ultimately, they made the right choice by reuniting the babies with their mom.

The fishermen went above and beyond in helping the wild bears. Their actions demonstrate how selfless some individuals can be when they witness someone or something struggling to survive. We hope that others find this narrative to be inspiring and go out seeking to help those in need.