'I couldn't just do nothing': Langley man revives orphaned bear cub with CPR
When Langley artist and performer Ronnie Dean Harris drove past a dead bear by the side of Highway One near Lytton last Wednesday, he decided to double back.
"I turned around to put some tobacco down for the bear. In our culture that helps the spirit of the animal transition," said Harris. "And over the guard rail I saw this little head poke up."
The dead bear was a new mother, with two young cubs who were staying near her body.
Harris called the conservation service and kept an eye on the cubs, who climbed a nearby tree.
"The more livelier cub got down and started digging around in the woods, and then the cub that was on the branch decided to try to follow it," he recounted. "That’s when I realized it was caught up, it was caught by its neck by a cord. It started to struggle and make some really panicky noises, so I went to my car to get a blade. And by the time I got back it was hanging there lifeless from the tree."
Harris cut the bear cub down, removed a piece of tire rubber that was wrapped around its neck, and tried to revive it.
"I was petting it and stimulating it and then I pushed on it like one, two compressions," he told CTV News Vancouver.
"Come on, come on! And I pressed it and pressed it and it let out this gasp, and it started kind of like reeling and get it senses. By the time it seen me and seen I was a human being, it just ran."
Both cubs took off into the woods. Traps were set by conservation officers, and they were captured three days later. They were taken to the Critter Care Wildlife Society in Langley, but sadly, the cub that Harris revived with CPR did not survive.
"We're just taking it in that that cub passed away," said Harris. "It was all human stuff. Humans had hit the poor mom, it was human garbage (around the cub's neck). It was our trespass into their territories."
Harris is urging drivers who hit a bear to stop, but doesn’t necessarily encourage doing what he did.
"You can’t just go grabbing wild animals, even the baby ones. Any kind of wild animal is dangerous. What I did was based on adrenaline. I didn’t want to see that bear die in front of me."
Harris wishes there had been a better outcome for the bear he brought back to life.
"It’s sad it had to reach that fate, but we did what we could. I hope people can help out and donate to Critter Care for the remaining one. I wish him a really good rehabilitation, so he can go back home next year."