When a woman went on vacation to Canterbury and the region of Spain, she thought she was going to have a quiet and relaxing time. Unfortunately, she got into difficulties while crossing a river and almost drowned. She cried for help, and that’s when a mighty wild bear showed up and did something both shocking and unexpected.
Wild animals and humans have coexisted for millions of years. Humans started to settle in places around the world, build, flourish, and grow, and the wild animals resigned at the loss of their natural habitat.
If a human crossed paths with a wild animal, it could end disastrously, but most of the time, each kept their distance and managed to live side by side in relative peace. Even though certain animal species are still incredibly dangerous to humans, we’ve stepped up to the plate to protect and preserve them. In fact, there have been many cases where poor animals in need have been forced to approach humans in order to ask for help or assistance, and more often than not, humans have come to their rescue.
But what if the shoe was on the other foot, and humans were the ones asking the animals for help? Would they repay our kindness, or would their wild instincts kick in, with them not only not helping us but making things worse? Well, that’s the exact issue that a woman named Maria Carmen faced while on vacation in Cantabria, Spain.
She had always wanted to visit the beautiful area and dreamed of camping in the lush green forests, strolling along the beautiful golden beaches, and swimming in the clear blue rivers, streams, and seas.
She also hoped to study the wildlife, too, as she loved being around animals. She was a wildlife enthusiast, you see, and when not working, Maria liked to spend her time volunteering at her local animal shelter. From cats and dogs to animals as large as lions and tigers, Maria had the opportunity to work with them all. It gave her a sense of pride to help animals in need; it certainly was her passion.
Maria made her way deep into the forest, set up her campsite, and had a bite to eat over the campfire she had built. Full and content, she decided to go for a walk and explore the forested area. It was already more beautiful than she could ever have imagined. While on her travels, she hoped that she would come across some Chamois, an animal native to the area that she had never seen in real life before. Little did Maria know, though, that danger was just around the corner, and that the wildlife spotting trip of her dreams would soon turn into a nightmare.
As Maria walked, she got to a river that ran through the middle of the forest. It was quite large and looked fairly deep, but luckily, there were rocks that could be used as stepping stones to get to the other side.
Now, while Maria could have tackled this crossing with ease during her youth, her age was now catching up to her, and she would not find leaping between the rocks so easy. Not that she was old, she just wasn’t as young as she felt in her mind. She set off, though, confident that she would make it. She took one leap from the bank and made it to the first rock, then another, again reaching the next rock. But it was on her third leap that things went wrong.
As her foot landed, it slipped on some damp moss that was on the rock. Her leg twisted, and she slipped from the rock, falling into the water below. Despite it being a warm and sunny day, the water was surprisingly cold, having run down from the hills and mountains.
It was so cold that it took Maria’s breath away as she hit the surface, making her body tense up and unable to move for several long and scary moments. Water filled her lungs as she coughed and spluttered as she popped back above the surface, panicking. She reached for the rock she had just fallen from, hoping to pull herself out and back to safety, but the water was flowing surprisingly fast, and it had swept her down the river without her noticing.
Maria struggled to keep her head above the water as the cold was starting to make her arms and legs seize up. She flailed a little and yelled for help whenever she could catch her breath, but there was no one else around in the forest that could hear her pleas. Maria sped up as she flowed along the river, underwater rocks tearing at her clothes and cutting her skin, not that the icy water let her feel too much pain. She thought perhaps she could swim towards the bank and get close enough to stand, but her arms and legs were not cooperating and barely made any movements.
Maria saw her life flash before her eyes as the water kept splashing up and over her head. She believed that she would die there and that her body would be swept out to sea eventually when the river opened up into the ocean. But something happened then that she would never have expected, something that would leave you with your mouth hanging open with shock.
As Maria flailed and tried to keep her head above the water, she saw the trees on the banks of the river start to rustle and move. All of a sudden, a giant bear appeared on the riverside and looked out at the struggling human. This only caused Maria to panic even more. The violence and viciousness of bears were infamous, and despite her loving and respecting the large animal, she didn’t want to come face to face with one in the wild, especially when she was already in such a life-threatening situation.
There were around 300 grizzly bears that lived in the Cantabria region of Spain. They are powerful and mighty predators that are at the top of the food chain, and as such, they have nothing to fear. Their teeth are gigantic, and their claws can make short work of anything they are hunting. But despite that, they mainly just eat nuts, berries, fruits, leaves, and roots. When they were in a good mood, grizzly bears were surprisingly gentle, but when they were in a bad mood, they were deadly.
If Maria had had the strength, she would have shouted at the bear to try and frighten it and make it flee back into the forest. She had once encountered a grizzly bear before, and she remembered how shocked she was by the sheer size of it. It had to be tranquilized in order for the animal shelter to treat its cut and infected paw. As it lay unconscious, Maria had put her hand up against the poor animal and marveled at how small and insignificant she was compared to the bear. They were truly huge and magnificent predators and ones not to be trifled with.
But the bear had heard Maria’s desperate cries and came to investigate. It stood for a long moment, just watching before wading into the water and quickly swimming towards the drowning woman. Maria didn’t have the strength to swim away or fight back as she swallowed more and more water, falling in and out of consciousness. She felt the bear next to her, grabbing her body, pulling her. She held on to its long, wet fur, hoping to pull herself upwards, but she was too weak. Maria then blacked out completely.
When she awoke, she found herself lying on the banks of the river. She was soaked to the bone and absolutely freezing, but the sun felt warm on her face. Maria coughed heavily, and lots of water came out. That’s when she caught sight of the bear, only a few meters away. It sat, looking at her inquisitive, as if checking that the human was okay. At first, Maria was once again struck by fear, but she came to suddenly realize the bear was not there to hurt her. In fact, it had saved her life.
The grizzly bear had dragged her from the water, placed her on the banks, and remained close by to make sure that she was breathing and that she would be okay. Maria stood slowly and then steadily, watching the bear the whole time. Maria didn’t know if she believed in karma, but if she did, this kind of act from the wild bear was in repayment for all the animals that she had helped, saved, and rescued over the years.
But as if on cue, the bear stood and turned away, lumbering back into the forest and away. It had saved her life, and it was a close, unique, and life-changing encounter that Maria would never forget.