An injured 3-month-old bear cub who was picked up by a hiker on an Oregon trail last week is headed to Washington state for rehabilitation at a special facility for injured and orphaned animals.
The Salem man who scooped up the black bear cub while hiking in Marion County has shared more details of his decision after he was criticized by state wildlife officials and on social media.
Corey Hancock was hiking on the Santiam River Trail when he saw a three-month-old bear cub laying on its back in the grass.
"He wasn’t two feet off the trail, laying there on his back, seeming by all appearances to be dead," Hancock wrote on Facebook.
After waiting 10 minutes to see if the cub's mother would show up, he scooped up the bear in a flannel shirt and rain-proof sack. Hancock details on Facebook his efforts to keep the bear cub alive en route to a wildlife facility, and at one point even gave the cub mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Hancock was later warned by Oregon State Troopers that he probably violated Oregon law , which prohibits removing or capturing wildlife, but Hancock took the cub to the Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center for medical care.
"I would do it again. I bet most of you would too," Hancock wrote.
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials took custody of the bear cub the next morning and said Friday the cub will be relocated to PAWS Wildlife Center, a facility in Lynwood, Washington that specializes in rehabilitating injured or orphaned wildlife.
The cub will receive care designed to allow cubs to develop without interacting with humans, which is essential in introducing bear cubs back into the wild.
"This is exactly what I hoped would happen with him," Hancock wrote on Facebook.
Hancock wrote that his decision to take the cub from its natural habitat has resulted in people flooding his Facebook account with "malicious notes" and negative attention. His Facebook post has been shared more than 1,300 times.
"Our relationship with wildlife is not simple, and it’s difficult for me to agree with protocols, regulations, or opinions that ask us to ignore one of our most beautiful virtues… our ability to not only empathize with other species in their suffering but to also intervene and help them," Hancock wrote.
If you come across an animal you think is injured or along, call ODFW at 1-800-720-ODFW. For more information, click here.