Elijah Barclay never imagined he would be saving lives when he went fishing in West Virginia with friends and family earlier this month.
But he really did.
As Barkley was walking back from the river to camp, he was stopped by a ranger with a bear guide. He was asked to keep an eye out for a young bear cub in the area.
The cub was an orphan, had apparently lost his mother and, according to the latest observations, was in a very difficult state to be alone.
Shortly after, after Barclay continued on his way, we spotted the bear in question.
We approached him, but he didn’t move, so he seemed to be tired or had some other problem. He was right there,” Barclay said.
Barkley directed the rangers and dog handlers to the side of the river where he believed the cub had collapsed, as they were still in the area.
Joel Rosenthal, who cared for the bears, runs a wildlife rehabilitation center called Point of View Farm. He had located a bear, transported it to his facility and was attempting to rescue it.
Therefore, Barclay found the cub at the last minute.
Before Rosenthal had time to calm him down, the little one’s leg broke trying to cross the river. He was too exhausted to get his head out of the water and was drowning.
Berkeley took action.
Barkley scaled the slippery rocks by the river, jumped into the freezing water and swam towards the bear before it was too late.
He then pulled the cub to shore.
The cub, which had been motionless for some time, began to move cautiously. Eventually Barclay caught up with him.
I immediately took him to (Rosenthal) to see what was going on,” Barclay said.
The bear was now safe, secure, placed in a bear handler’s truck and covered with a towel.
Barclay’s heroism was not appreciated by those who witnessed the scene, but he is happy to have been able to help.