A ranger at Yosemite National Park has shared a heartbreaking story of a bear encounter—and a plea for motorists to slow down. In a Facebook post, the ranger says they received an all too common report of "Bear hit by vehicle, dead on the side of the road," USA Today reports. When they arrived at the scene, the ranger spotted a broken car part before finding the lifeless body of a female cub, not much more than six months old, under a tree a few feet from the road. "The least I can do is find it a nice place to be laid," says the ranger, who carried the animal's body to a grassy spot away from the road and laid it down before realizing they were being watched by another bear. The ranger says they scared the bear away, but it returned—and made the "deep toned but soft sounding grunt" mother bears use to call to their cubs.
"This bear is the mom, and she never left her cub" in the approximately six hours since the accident, the ranger says. "The calls to the cub continue, sounding more pained each time," the ranger writes. "Now here I am, standing between a grieving mother and her child. I feel like a monster." The ranger departed after setting up a remote camera that captured an image of the mother with her dead cub to illustrate the "sad reality" behind the statistic of dozens of bears hit by cars in Yosemite every year. The ranger urged visitors to remember they are in the home of "countless animals" and follow the rules in place to protect them, KTVU reports. "Go the speed limit, drive alertly, and look out for wildlife," the ranger writes. "Protecting Yosemite’s black bears is something we can all do." (Read more Yosemite National Park stories.)