Mike Polocz, a resident of Soldotna, was floating down the Kenai River last weekend with his son and a family friend when their boat stumbled upon an intense and unsettling scene, The Redoubt Reporter writes. Having pushed through a final set of rapids, they spotted a brown bear sow and her cubs fishing for salmon.
"As we got a closer look, though, one of the cubs wasn't fishing. It was stuck in a whirlpool and drowning." Polocz told the Redoubt Reporter.
The cub was small, less than 50 pounds, and looked around 4 to 6 months old. It was swirling in the whitewater just a few yards from the boat.
"I was so close I could look into its eyes and they were wide open and filled with just sheer terror. I couldn't watch this defenseless animal suffer. I was ready to go in after it if it went under," he said.
For 10 to 15 minutes, Polocz attempted to push the cub out of the eddy. Finally, he was able to use his dip net to nudge the cub back into the river's main channel.
The cub made it to shore and climbed onto land. It gave out another cry, and the sow came bounding through the forest to her baby.
Polocz got a little emotional at that point. "There were three pretty tough guys in the boat, and there wasn't a dry eye among us," he told The Redoubt Reporter.
The video above shows Polocz's initial attempts to save the bear. Alaska Dispatch is most struck by the terrifying sound of the cub's cry. Does it sound like he's yelling "bear" to anyone else?
Read more, here.