A pair of Russian fishermen recorded the moment they ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇᴅ a pair of bear cubs sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟɪɴɢ to swim in the middle of a lake.
Moscow resident Ruslan Lukanin and a buddy were fishing from a small boat in a lake in northwest Russia when they saw them: two adorable bear cubs, sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟɪɴɢ to stay afloat. The cubs apparently weren’t strong enough swimmers and had been unable to keep up with their mother, who made the crossing to dry land without even checking back to make sure the kiddos were okay.
The cubs were literally sinking and ᴡᴏᴜʟᴅ ʜᴀᴠᴇ ᴘᴇʀɪsʜᴇᴅ without the quick-thinking intervention of the Russian tourists. The eyes and expressions of one of the bears showed utter ꜰᴇᴀʀ and desperation, instinctively knowing only the fishermen could sᴀᴠᴇ them.
Ruslan Lukanin said: “They had swum across the lake with their mother. But she overestimated her strength and swam away. The cubs began to sink.”
The water was freezing! Their first instinct was to sᴀᴠᴇ the cubs. No doubt about that! But it wasn’t that simple. In order to do so, they had to be sure they were not in ʜᴀʀᴍ’s way. The cubs had a mother and mother bears are extremely protective.
The two men searched the waters for their mom. As they continued to approach the cubs, they came up empty. They didn’t see their mom anywhere. Had the cubs been abandoned? But then, one of the men saw, out of the corner of his eye, a large bear on the shoreline watching the cubs. This had to be their mom!
The men decided they’d do what it took to sᴀᴠᴇ the babies despite the risks and drove their boat closer. Now there was no time to waste! The waters were too cold and the cubs were too young to make it across on their own. Then, one of the cubs got close enough to the boat to put her determined little paws up on the side. She gripped the boat with her mouth as she tried to pull herself up. She tried with all her “beary” might to sᴀᴠᴇ herself but she kept slipping back into the water.
The two men knew they had to help her themselves but they were afraid the cub might lash out and bite them if they grabbed her. So one of the men grabs a fishing net and scoops it under his bum to help guide the little guy aboard. The second bear with a dark face is then also lifted out of the lake totally exhausted from its ordeal in the water.
Lukanin said the saga came to a “happy end” when he and his friend gave the baby bears a lift to the island, where they were reunited with their mother.
“We picked them up and dragged them to the island to which their mother had swum. It was ᴅᴀɴɢᴇʀᴏᴜs, of course. But they are living creatures. We couldn’t just look the other way.”