A mama bear stood mournfully over a baby cub that was hit by a car in Yosemite National Park, one of 400 bears hit by cars in the past 26 years

Grizzly Bear in Yosemite National Park, California, USA.
Grizzly Bear in Yosemite National Park, California, USA. Diego Cupolo/NurPhoto via Getty Images
  • A baby cub was fatally hit by a car in Yosemite National Park last week, a park ranger said.
  • While assessing the cub, the ranger heard the cub’s mother nearby.
  • She had spent at least six hours calling out for her cub, hoping they’d respond.
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A baby cub was killed by a car in Yosemite National Park on Friday, and its mother stood by its side to mourn.

“A cub. Its tiny light brown body laying just feet from me and the road, nearly invisible to every passerby. It’s a new cub-couldn’t be much more than six months old, now balled up and lifeless under a small pine tree,” an unidentified park ranger wrote in a Facebook post.

The unnamed ranger said calls about bears being hit by cars are coming in more frequently.

“Sadly, it’s become routine,” they wrote.

The ranger then said they heard the grieving mother bear call to her cub.

“It’s no coincidence. I can feel the callousness drain from my body. This bear is the mom, and she never left her cub. My heart sinks. It’s been nearly six hours, and she still hasn’t given up on her cub,” the post said.

“I can just imagine how many times she darted back and forth on that road in attempts to wake it,” the entry continued. “It’s extremely lucky that she wasn’t hit as well.”

As the ranger assessed the bear, they could hear the mother calling softly to her cub.

“Now here I am, standing between a grieving mother and her child. I feel like a monster,” they wrote.

The non-profit wildlife protection group Keep Bears Wild reported that there had been more than 4oo incidents of cars hitting bears along the roads in Yosemite National Park in the last two decades. In 2015 alone, close to 40 bears were hit by cars, and in 2020, more than 10 bears were hit.

In one three-week span in the summer of 2020, four black bears were hit by cars, and two died, The Mercury News reported.

Keep Bears Wild reported that vehicle-bear accidents are now a leading cause of death for bears in the park.

Rangers set up a camera on the road where the cub was hit because while data is collected on how many bears are hit by cars every year, they said, “numbers don’t always paint a picture. I want people to see what I saw: the sad reality behind each of these numbers.”

Keep Bears Wild and the ranger encouraged visitors to the park to drive slowly and safely to prevent hitting wildlife. CNN reported that June, July, August, and September are the park’s busiest months. In 2019, 4.42 million people visited the national park, but those numbers quickly fell in 2020; only 2.27 million people visited due to closures as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Animals in the park thrived during the closure, taking over places normally busy with people.

“Remember that when traveling through Yosemite, we are all just visitors in the home of countless animals, and it is up to us to follow the rules that protect them,” they wrote.