A Southern California teen was lucky to escape with her life after she fended off a mama bear who had her sights set on the family dogs. In a viral video that has already amassed over a million views, 17-year-old Hailey Morinico can be seen pushing the black bear off a wall in her backyard.
Morinico stepped outside her home in Bradbury, which borders the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains, after hearing her dogs barking and assuming another dog or squirrel had captured their attention. She was quickly in for a surprise when she realized that their barking was being directed at a mama bear and her two cubs.
"I was like 'Oh my God, there's a bear, and it is taking my dog. It is lifting her up off the ground,'" Hailey told NBC Los Angeles.
The video shows the bear and her cubs wandering along the wall when the dogs start running at her and start barking. The two cubs retreat and in an attempt to protect her young offspring, the bear starts swiping at the dogs, picking one of them up.
Morinico can then be seen rushing over and pushing the bear off the wall, shooing the dogs inside, and gathering the smallest dog up under her arm like a football before quickly running off.
“The dog that the bear grabbed she’s the baby, I have to protect the baby,” says Morinico smiling.
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The bear, an American black bear that can often take on a brown color, quickly retreated off after her cubs, clearly content to have avoided having to go into combat with a plucky teen and her pack of canine companions.
Rebecca Barboza, a wildlife biologist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) estimates that the bear weighed about 150 pounds and says it’s common to see bears in communities near their natural habitats.
She says it’s clear from the video that the dogs provoked the bear, who was just trying to defend her cubs, and that no action would be taken against it. "The bear was protecting her cubs, she was reacting to protect her cubs and the dogs of course were reacting to protect their territory.”
The CDFW advises people against confronting bears if they show up on their property, saying they should never be approached, especially if they have cubs. Keeping yourself and your pets indoors is the best line of defense, but thankfully for Morinico, this is one tale that has a happy ending.
“I sprained my finger while pushing her, umm but otherwise, nothing really happened, ah, I’m ok,” she says happily. And thankfully, so too are the family dogs, the bear, and her cubs.
Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.
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