Recently, a video of a small brown bear cub climbing a steep snowy ridge to join its mother went viral and moved millions across China. But wildlife experts said the mother bear and cub wouldn’t risk climbing the cliff unless they felt being threatened by the drone that was recording them.
In the two-and-a-half-minute video, the cub finally succeeded in climbing a steep cliff to reach its mother after several tries. It was widely viewed and shared on Chinese video-sharing websites and social media.
Many said they were touched by the baby’s persistence. Some teachers used it as teaching materials; some parents forwarded the video to their children and asked them to learn to be fearless amid setbacks. Some mothers even used it as a lesson for childbearing.
“Parents should do as the mother bear did. Sometimes [we] should let go and have children solve problems by themselves, even if they suffer falls,” a netizen said.
However, some experts accused the drone of being too close to the bears which had led to the mother traversing a steep and slippery slope.
“It doesn’t matter how far away it was, because I can tell from the bears’ behavior that it was too close,” Clayton Lamb of the University of Alberta told The Atlantic. He studies grizzly bears in the Canadian Rockies and uses drones to map the area where they live, according to the report.
“There’s no reason a female would normally accept that risk, unless they were forced into it,” Lamb was quoted as saying.
He noted that throughout the video the mother is constantly looking up at the drone and clearly bothered by its presence.
When the explanations were spread to the Chinese audience, they felt sorry for the disturbance people have caused.
“To make wildlife documentaries, the cameras are always disguised as various objects to get close to the animals. Now, drones made it convenient to shoot. But sometimes we fail to be aware that it had also brought hazards to them,” Liu Yang, a WeChat user, said.
In one climb, when the cub nearly reaches its mother, she swats at it, leading the cub to slip. Lamb explained that the mother probably noticed the drone was swooping closer and considered it an attack and was trying to push her cub away.
According to The Atlantic, the video was first shared on Twitter and uploaded on YouTube. The uploader only said that the video was captured on June 19, 2018 in Russia’s Magadan region.
Video source: YouTube