Watch This Brave Woman Risk It All to Rescue a Bear Cub With Plastic Stuck on Its Head

A single wild black bear cub searches for food along a hillside overturning rocks among young evergreen trees. The young bear is only a couple of months old. There are flies on its fur and face.
Dolores M. Harvey/

Written by Rachael Monson

Updated: October 21, 2023

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Would you risk your life to save a baby of one of the most dangerous animals on Earth? Well, this amazing woman did just that! She risked her life to rescue a bear cub.

The short clip shows a woman, Sarah Lindgren, a park manager in Pennsylvania. While driving through the Cross Fork, a small town in the Susquehannock State Forest, she finds a baby black bear lying at the side of the road. Fearing the cub already died, she steps out of the vehicle to take a closer look.

Watch This Fearless Woman Rescue a Bear Cub Below!

The poor creature’s head is stuck inside a plastic carton. Once she gets closer, she sees that the baby is still alive. Knowing it could suffocate and die, Lindgren quickly rescues the bear cub.

The video captures Lindgren as she grabs the container and pulls with all her might. The bear cub struggles and pushes against the plastic tub with its paws. Finally, the thing comes off, freeing the baby!

The cub sits stunned for a few moments, likely trying to catch its breath. Both Lindgren and the baby are lucky to have survived this day. Lindgren states if she wasn’t able to rescue the bear cub, it would have likely died within the next day or so. Although dehydrated and weak, the cub eventually got up and made its way into the safety of a tree.

Let’s learn more about bear cubs!

Can a Bear Cub Survive Without its Mother?

The answer to this question depends on the age of the bear. One study found that bear cubs possess the necessary skills to survive independently as early as about five months old. Lindgren estimated the bear cub in the video to be about eight months old and capable of surviving without its mother.

The rescue of bear cubs is usually unnecessary.

Bear cubs can survive without their mother as early as five months old.

Do Bears Adopt Abandoned Cubs?

Yes! The same study also found that mother bears readily accept rescued bear cubs that are not their own. However, they do this only during certain times of the year. The successful adoption of these orphaned or abandoned cubs occurs most often when the mother is still in the den. This must be before they emerge with their own cubs around March each year. In fact, even mothers who’ve abandoned a den will generally accept their cubs back. This requires tracking the mother and delivering the cubs to her.

Black Bears - bear with cubs

Black bear mothers readily adopt abandoned cubs if they are presented at the den.

What To Do With an Abandoned Bear Cub?

First, if you find an abandoned bear cub, call your local fish and wildlife office. Likely, the mother is somewhere nearby. She may become aggressive if you are seen approaching the cub. If she does, you may not live to tell the tale. While bear attacks in PA are rare, one attack was recorded in May 2023.

If you determine that you must rescue the bear cub, such as with the one in our video, remember that all bears are dangerous. Even though it may be very young and cute, baby bears still have sharp claws and teeth. They can still cause you significant harm. Also, be aware that a bear cub’s cries can draw in other bears. This includes large male bears that often kill babies for an easy meal.

Removing a bit of plastic is one thing. Meanwhile, attempting to capture the bear cub is best left to the professionals. If the bear cub needs medical attention, please call local authorities right away. They have the resources to get the cub the help it needs without you needing to risk your life!

North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission recommends you do not interact with a bear cub for any reason in their article Leave Bear Cubs Alone For Their Safety. Though we recommend you leave them alone for your own safety, as well!

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About the Author

Rachael Monson is a writer at A-Z-Animals where her primary focus is cats, big and small. She also works as senior veterinary assistant and has been in that field since 2012. A resident of Mississippi, she enjoys spending her off time playing video games with her husband and hanging out with her pets (a Bengal cat named Citrine and Basset Hound/Pomeranian mix dog named Pepsi).

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