This video of the mother bear and its small cub in Yellowstone National Park is a true representation of a “learning lesson” process.
I would venture to say that this could even be classified as a parenting video. We can all really learn a lot from how this massive bear teaches her offspring the ins and outs of navigating across waterways.
The footage begins with the two bears being run off by a herd of bison. Tourists visiting Yellowstone this summer should take note: if a grizzly bear runs away from a bison, that means you probably shouldn’t walk right up to the horned animal and try to take selfies with it.
After the mother and its cub retreat away, they come to a body of water around the 3 minute mark in the clip. This is where the lesson begins for the young bear.
The pair comes up to a spot where two rivers meet, and just like the classic children’s story, they can’t go around it, can’t go over it, so they have no choice to go through it.
Based on how the cub reacts when its mom begins to wade into the water, it is safe to assume that the small bear has either limited experience with swimming or perhaps has never swam at all.
The mother bear makes it all the way to the other side of the water, then turns back to see that its child hasn’t moved an inch. The cub looks to be intimated by the water, and as most mothers would do when their kid is not cooperating, the bigger bear goes back to where it had just came from to set the record straight.
Once the mother bear reaches the shore, the cub takes off running, seemingly knowing that it is in trouble. The mom takes off after it and eventually tackling it. I don’t speak bear, but I think the mom was saying something to the effect of:
“You are going to cross that water and you are going to like it.”
The two bears then meander back to where the mother had crossed before and make their way through the water and up onto the other side. This time, the cub made sure it didn’t mess around so that it wouldn’t again get the human equivalent of a “spanking.”
At the 6:45 mark, the stakes are upped a bit, with the next body of water they are trying to cross featuring a pretty strong current.
The footage picks up with the two bears already fighting the strong pull of the river, and the baby bear panicking and roaring for help. The mother had already made her way over to keep her cub afloat, and she quickly gets herself and her offspring to the safety of the shore.
It does seem that the mother bear might have “practiced” somewhat with the first water crossing knowing that this one would be a touch more difficult. The cub clearly wasn’t ready to battle the current, but the mom stepped in and saved the day and got them both back out of the water so they could continue on.
Finally, the 9 minute mark of the video shows the mother bear and cub coming to their third and final crossing, with this one being a calmer branch of the Soda Butte River.
Comparative to the last one they faced, this crossing ended up being a “walk in the park” (literally), with both the cub and the mom easily making it through a shallow portion of the water.
Shoutout to this Yellowstone mother bear for putting her child through the gauntlet, knowing that it would be better off because of it. The immersion therapy that the big bear practiced with her kid was probably not the way the cub would have preferred, but now the small bear has the experience it needs with crossing waterways for when it grows up and “move out of the den.”
Take a look at the unbelievable footage of the mother bear and the resilient cub below: