Hailey Morinico is the luckiest teen on the planet. On Tuesday, security camera footage of the 17-year-old pushing a bear who was swatting at the family dogs in her backyard went viral, and somehow she walked away with nothing more than a sprained finger. This is particularly fortuitous since the bear was accompanied by her two cubs, and you don’t have to be an expert to do the math on that: Bear + cubs + human wildly sprinting at bear and cubs = You’re getting mauled today.
But Morinico has lived to see another day, somehow. In an interview with Good Morning America, Morinico said that her drive to protect her dogs was so strong that she didn’t even realize she was encountering a bear until after the fact.
“I didn’t know I had it in me, to be honest,” she said. “Like, who does that? Who in their right mind pushes a bear?”
Hard to disagree with that.
Ron Magill, communications director of the Zoo Miami, told GMA that one should never charge at a wild animal or make physical contact and, instead, try to make oneself look as large and formidable as possible.
“The bear was just maintaining her position on the wall, swatting at the dogs who were aggressively barking because her instinct is to protect her cubs,” he explained. But perhaps the instinct to protect her own figurative cubs overtook Morinico in the heat of the moment. Family pets are just that, part of the family. Still, squaring up with a bear to protect your dogs?
Morinico may not necessarily have any regrets about the encounter, but in hindsight...
“I advise people to never, never fight a bear, or touch it, or get close to it,” Morinico said. “Just go inside and let it be.”