March 31 (UPI) -- Authorities in Oregon said they will not pursue charges against a hiker credited with saving the life of a baby black bear by giving it CPR.
Corey Hancock said he was hiking Monday night in the Elkhorn area to snap photos of waterfalls on the North Fork of the Santiam River when he came across the 3-month-old baby bear, which he said appeared to be close to death.
"It was cold, raining, [the cub was] just sitting there in the rain not moving, not breathing," Hancock told KPTV.
Hancock said he waited a few minutes to see if the cub's mother would return, but he soon decided the 5-pound bear was too ill to leave behind.
"I didn't have a choice, I wouldn't have left it out there," he told Inside Edition. "He seemed to be abandoned and dying. He was hardly moving at first when I walked up on him. I thought was dead."
Hancock carried the cub more than two miles to his car.
"I was carrying this little lifeless creature in my arms kind of wondering if he was going to make it," he said. "I tried to give it CPR. I gave it a few rescue puffs and pushed on his chest. He took one breath. He was fighting to survive."
"I kind of held him and right as I was kind of thinking maybe I should go put him back in the woods, he took a breath," Hancock said.
He drove to an area where he could get cellphone reception and posted a photo of the bear on Facebook, asking for advice on where to take it.
Hancock ended up taking the cub to Turtle Animal Center in Salem.
"She [the veterinarian] mentioned how emaciated, and malnourished and dehydrated he was, you know, so he probably hadn't eaten for several days," Hancock said.
Veterinarians dubbed the baby bear Elkhorn and gave him fluids until he showed signs of recovery. The center praised Hancock for his actions.
"Elkhorn was transferred to a wildlife veterinarian with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife where he will have a full health exam, and pending the results, will be placed in the care of an out-of-state center to continue his rehabilitation," the center said in a statement. "We owe a big THANK YOU to Elkhorn's hero Corey for finding the distressed cub and safely bringing him to us."
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife was more critical of Hancock's actions:
"He should have called ODFW, OSP, or wildlife rehabilitator before removing the cub from the wild. He did take it to rehabber but we currently do not have any approved Oregon rehab facilities for holding of bear cubs so we have picked up the cub and will be evaluating it, and determining next steps. Options with bear cub like this are: back to mother in the wild (we are not planning this because chances of reuniting them unlikely), to a rehabber out of state, or to accredited zoo for lifetime in captivity."
The department said the case was referred to Oregon State Police, which announced Wednesday no charges are being sought against Hancock.