Survival in the unforgiving wilderness can be a daunting challenge, even for one of the mightiest predators on the planet. For a young polar bear cub, orphaned and left to fend for herself, the odds seemed stacked against her after the tragic loss of her mother.
In the world of polar bears, cubs rely heavily on their mothers for both nourishment and protection, a dependence that can extend for up to 2.5 to 3 years. Yet, this little one, only several months old, found herself adrift without maternal care.
Her salvation, however, came from an unexpected source. This fledgling polar bear was struggling to secure her own sustenance, her future appearing bleak. Hungry and bewildered, the young female approached a group of Arctic gold mine workers, her large, soulful eyes silently pleading for help.
Alone on the island of Bolshevik, situated within the Russian territory of the Arctic Circle, the bear was lured by the scent of food emanating from the miners. In a place where strict regulations sternly prohibit the feeding of polar bears, these compassionate workers chose to break the rules to save a life teetering on the brink of despair.
For several months, the polar bear found solace and companionship among the people who had come to her aid. She even formed a unique bond with them, sharing moments of tenderness and comfort.
However, the day arrived when the gold miners completed their contract, obliging them to leave the island, and once again, the polar bear was left to her own devices. Yet, their commitment to her well-being remained unwavering, and they resolved to explore every avenue to ensure her rescue.
Andrey Gorban, director of Royev Ruchei Zoo, shed light on their extraordinary efforts. “The workers could only get in touch with us at the end of their work stint, as they had no communication link at the base”, he explained. “We were told that the men were leaving back to the mainland, and the cub had stayed there alone, so our only hope was that they left quite a big open rubbish site, so there was a chance that the cub could feed off it for weeks.”
Weeks turned into a small reprieve, and at long last, the polar bear was rescued and taken to the Moscow Zoo, where she awaits her potential relocation to a permanent home. However, her destiny does not lie in the wild, for her close interactions with humans have made her ill-equipped for the harsh realities of the Arctic wilderness.
Nonetheless, if it weren’t for the selfless actions of these miners who defied the “no feeding” regulations, the bear’s fate would have been far bleaker. Surprisingly, their decision to provide sustenance and companionship was met with praise from wildlife officials.
“For right or wrong, they fed the endangered animal and through that tamed her”, remarked Andrey Gorban. “The workers saved its life; the cub had no chance to survive.”
In a world where humanity’s impact on wildlife is often devastating, this is a rare story of human intervention that has made a significant difference in the life of a remarkable creature.
Source: Majestic Animals