17. Putting his own life in danger
The fisherman wasn’t only at risk of getting bit by the bear. If he leaned too far forward he could fall in the water. Falling in the water with two panicking bear cubs would surely mean the end of his life.
The men could only hope that the bears would work with them. If that wasn’t the case, their rescue attempt would not end well.
18. Silent connection
What happened next is incredible: without saying a word to each other, the man and the cub knew exactly how to help the other out. It seemed as if the fishermen and bears understood exactly what the other needed.
The men only had to reach their arms out to help. They were just about to start the dangerous plan when they suddenly got an idea.
19. An amazing idea
In hindsight, it sounds easy, but in that moment, with adrenaline pumping through your veins, it’s much harder to come up with a solid plan.
One of the men grabbed a fishing net. Just big enough to scoop the bear up out of the water. Normally they’re only used to get big fish on board, but would it be able to hold a young cub?
20. A success?
The men were afraid that their net wouldn’t be able to hold something this heavy. They didn’t see any better options. A broken net was more than worth it if it was a question of life and death.
They started with the smaller bear. The animal was exhausted and couldn’t carry on much longer in the water. And with only a little time left to spare, they threw the net into the water behind it.
21. A heavy load
Once the bear was in the net, it wasn’t safe quite yet. The fishermen had to be sure that they didn’t injure the cub while bringing him on board.
On top of it all, they still had to make sure the cub didn’t attack them. While they had good intentions, the bear could still panic. That would mean a catastrophic end to their plan.
22. Stay calm
There was quite a bit of doubt for the fishermen. A bear on a boat is madness, but two bears on a boat?
On the other hand: leaving the two cubs to die in the ice-cold water would be terrible. The men decided to take the risk. Now they just had to find a way to calm the bears down once they got on the boat.
23. Awful chore
Once the men got going, they realized just how heavy a bear cub is. With all their might, they attempted to get the cub into the boat. They should be thankful that the cubs were still young.
Did you know that the average full-grown bear weighs around 590 kilos? No fisherman could handle that, and the fishing nets definitely couldn’t either.
24. Come on, keep going!
Thankfully the fishers were used to hard work and bad weather conditions. That didn’t make getting the bears into the boat any less of a huge operation. They had to really fight for it, mentally and physically, to get the bears on board.
After a long and hard fight, they finally get the smaller bear on the boat. It cost them lots of time, but they were one step closer to reaching their goal.
25. Welcome aboard
The first save wasn’t reason enough to celebrate. They still had one more cub to save from the water. And they were running out of time. The cub had already sunk under the water a few times and it was using up all its energy just trying to stay afloat.
On top of that, the boat had drifted, and they had to steer back to the other cub to save it.
This time the men were more confident. One bear was already on the boat so a second one shouldn’t be a problem. They knew that it would still be difficult, but they were ready.
Thank god the second one seemed to be a bit easier. They used the same technique to get the cub on board as they did for its brother. And this time it went a lot more smoothly.
27. The brothers are reunited
It cost the fishermen almost all their energy but they finally got both cubs in the boat. Exhausted, they looked at the result of their actions.
The bears were breathing hard, focusing their eyes on the fishers. In the meantime they started to wonder: “What are we going to do with the cubs?”
28. A moment of rest
After celebrating their success, the two took a moment to think about the next step: getting the bears back on land.
While they were both exhausted from their hard, there wasn’t much time to rest. The danger was still there.
The cubs were still exhausted and were shivering in a corner of the boat, but how long would it take for them to get their energy back and cause problems? They were confused and in a new setting – in a flurry of panic they could still cause some damage.
There was also a big chance that this was their first interaction with humans. And on top of all that, they missed their mother who would have protected them from the men.
30. A close bond
It was time for the fishermen to make a choice. They felt a close bond with the cubs and thought it might be a good idea to adopt them, but was that wise?
They knew that the mother of the cubs was close by, waiting on her cubs. Even with the strong connection they felt to the cubs, they knew it was better to bring them back to their mother.
31. Where is mom?
There was just one more question. In the heat of the moment, they had lost sight of the mother. They weren’t sure where she had gone. Where was she exactly?
They turned towards the land, looking for the spot where they had last seen the mother. After a long while, one of the men thought he saw a rock where the bear had set foot on land. They headed toward the coast.
32. A risky plan
The men knew that this was the most dangerous moment of their plan. Once they had gotten the boat on land, they tried to carefully get the cubs out. The mother was nowhere to be seen.
Out of nowhere they see a monstrous animal running toward the boat. It was the mother bear, looking for her cubs. The fishermen rushed back the boat. They had good intentions, but did the mother know that?
33. Putting their own lives in danger
With their backs to the bear, the men got back in the boat. While they were trying to start the motor, they heard the bear getting closer. Their hearts pounded as they drove off from the shore. That’s when they turned around.
There they were: the three bears. The looked out at the boat. The mother, on guard, with her two cubs beside her. For the fishermen it became clear: this mother bear would never leave her cubs alone again.