Unconcerned for their own safety, two fishermen came to the rescue of two drowning brown bear cubs that were left behind by their mother as they attempted to cross Lake Vygozero in the Republic of Karelia in the northwestern part of Russia.
"They had swum [across the lake] with their mother, but she overestimated her strength and swam away," Ruslan Lukanin told the Daily Mail. "The cubs began to sink. We picked them up and dragged them to the island to which their mother had swum.
"It was dangerous, of course. But they are living creatures. We couldn't just look the other way."
Lukanin shared video of part of the rescue, which was posted by the Daily Mail:
The Daily Mail shared the translation of what the fishermen said during the rescue effort, believed to have happened last month:
The men talk back to cub, encouraging it, as if it was a human child.
Man 1: "Take a rest, little one, take a rest. Hold on, hold on. But what if it he bites us?"
Man 2: "No, he won’t, he’s just clinging on for his life."
Man 1: "Hold on, hold on. Look he uses his paw to hold."
Man 2: "Need to help him, to hold his bum."
The fishermen put a net under the cub to help it use its paws to climb aboard the boat.
Man 1: "Don’t be afraid, just don’t be afraid. We’ll rescue you, don’t be afraid. It’s heavy! The net is rotating."
Man 2 (who holds the cub with the net): "It’s damned heavy, yes!"
The bear cub—helped by Man 2 and a net—managed finally to clamber on board the boat.
Man 2: "Get it…"
Man 1: "Sit there, near the engine."
The second bear with a dark face is lifted out of the lake, too, and carried on netting on the boat, totally exhausted from the ordeal in the water.
The fishermen helped the cubs to shore of the island on which the mother bear had swum to and hoped she would return and tend to her young ones. Unfortunately the video doesn't show that part of the rescue.
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