A Yosemite National Park employee is showing the heartbreaking consequences of speeding drivers.
In a powerful Facebook post, written by an unidentified ranger, a grieving mama bear is shown standing over her lifeless cub, who was hit and killed by a car.
“It’s been nearly six hours and she still hasn’t given up on her cub,” the ranger explained. “I can just imagine how many times she darted back and forth on that road in attempts to wake it. It's extremely lucky that she wasn't hit as well."
The ranger recounted how the bear kept trying to rouse her baby, describing the anguished sound as “a deep toned but soft sounding grunt.”
“The calls to the cub continue, sounding more pained each time,” the ranger wrote. “I glance back finding myself hoping it would respond to her call too, but of course, nothing. Now here I am, standing between a grieving mother and her child. I feel like a monster.”
At this point, the ranger's job was done — they had moved the cub's body away from the road, filled out a report, and collected samples and measurements for research. But there was one more thing they wanted to do before leaving the scene.
“Quickly, I set up a remote camera. Why? Every year we report the number of bears that get hit by vehicles, but numbers don’t always paint a picture,” they explained. “I want people to see what I saw: the sad reality behind each of these numbers.”
More than 400 bears have been hit in Yosemite National Park since 1995, according to a park blog post that was published in 2019. Growing numbers of visitors to national parks have increased the dangers for wildlife.
“It’s not just bears that face the danger of being hit by a vehicle on roads within Yosemite National Park,” the post reads. “Owls, Pacific fishers, butterflies, rare amphibians like red-legged frogs and salamanders; and mammals like deer, foxes, and mountain lions are also often hit and killed on Yosemite’s roads.”
Every year, park officials put up “Speeding Kills Bears” sign to mark where bears have been hit or killed by motorists.
TODAY reached out to Yosemite Park and will update this story if there is a response.
More than 58,000 people shared the anonymous park ranger's post, with many comments sharing sadness.
"Heartbreaking to read. Can't imagine how difficult it must be to witness," wrote Tamara Lamb. "Thanks for being one of the many folks out there trying to protect the parks from the people you've supposed to be protecting them for."