Samantha Martin’s home surveillance footage from Redmond, Washington, a 20-minute drive from downtown Seattle, captured the dramatic moment when her daughter, Juniper, shrieks after discovering a black cub rushing along a concrete walkway in the backyard garden.
Juniper, come back inside,’ Martin says as she chases her infant daughter.
‘That’s a bear!’ the youngster gasps in excitement, sprinting towards the wild mammal, whose apex predator mother was likely nearby. As soon as she takes off, her mother dashes across the room and scoops her up before the child gets out of her reach.
‘I just panicked. I didn’t really have a lot of thoughts in the moment so much as get the child and get back inside,’ Martin told FOX 13.
‘It was just a little baby bear, but my biggest concern wasn’t necessarily the baby bear so much as I didn’t know where the mom was and didn’t know how she’d feel about two humans running towards her baby,’ she added.
At the moment, the infant was watching a movie when she noticed the wild animal. Before the incident, Martin believes the two-year-old covertly unlocked a door leading to the home’s patio, where the bear appeared.
The young mother continued, “After learning how to identify them through a kid’s picture book, her daughter went towards the bear because the fuzzy beast is her favorite animal.”
However, since the encounter, the youngster has learned more about bears and how deadly human-bear interactions may be.
‘I did tell her the bear was dangerous and we’ve been watching National Geographic,’ Martin said.
The mother also discovered that the bear was eating from the home’s now-crushed backyard bird feeder.
As a result of the incident, she installed a child safety lock on the patio door and removed the feeder to avoid a repeat occurrence.
‘I love birds, but I also don’t want bears to continuously come into the yard, so I’m not putting the bird seed back up,’ said Martin.
The family’s home was built near a greenway and not far away from a well-sized, local golf course, where wildlife is noticeable.
After the incident, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) alerted residents that bears are coming out of hibernation season, and are hungry for prey, as summer approaches.
Local authorities are asking people to not let any food hanging outside, whether its out in public or in the yard, in order to avoid bear encounters.
‘Bird feeders can provide a real attractant for bears and other wildlife…take down your bird feeders in the spring,’ said Chase Gunnell, a spokesperson for the WDFW.
Washington’s black bear population is estimated to range between 25,000 and 30,000. State park officials advise people not to run from bears and instead make the creature’s of human presence by speaking in an assertive voice, singing or, clapping hands together.