James Tazruk, an Inupiaq subsistence hunter in Point Lay, Alaska, shot a lone polar bear. Only when he rolled the carcass over did he realize the bear was a nursing mother. Tazruk and his hunting partner then searched for the bear's den, knowing a cub would be there. They found Kali hidden about 1500 feet away.
The big changes and long trips began when Tazruk entered the bear's three-chambered den
"I'm not going to hurt you. I'm going to take you home," he told it. "Just don't bite me."
Biologists from the Fish and Wildlife Service estimate the cub is 3 to 4 months old. Tazruk, who described the hunt in a phone interview Tuesday, said he scooped it in his arm like a puppy. He began the long ride back to Point Lay on his snowmachine, holding the bear close.
About 15 miles into the trip, Tazruk and his partner, Paul Stone, stopped at a cabin and grabbed a pair of ski pants, he said. They tied the legs together to form a pouch, and he cradled the bear cub in his lap against the handlebars.
After a night in the village, Kali was flown to the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage. The cub will be sent to the Buffalo Zoo when he is fully recovered, and will have a permanent home at the St. Louis Zoo when their new polar bear exhibit is ready in 2015. Link
See videos of Kali at Laughing Squid. Link
(Image credit: Bob Hallinen/Anchorage Daily News)