Don't worry, this story has a happy ending.
A hunter near Point Lay in the Arctic Circle was faced with a terrible situation after he shot and killed a mother polar bear Monday. As an Inuit subsistence hunter, James Tazruk is technically allowed to kill polar bears, but he never imagined that his latest kill would leave a precious cub orphaned and alone.
When Tazruk realized the bear he had killed was a nursing mother, he and his hunting partner made the difficult and possibly dangerous decision to search for the cub. They found it, huddled in the family's den about 1,500 feet away. Though the little thing was only 18 pounds, small in polar bear size, Tazruk remembers being wary. "I'm not going to hurt you, I'm going to take you home," he remembers telling it. "Just don't bite me."
With cub in hand, the real journey began. Tazruk says at first he tried carrying the cub under his arm like a big, fluffy white puppy. A few miles in, his partner made a sling out of some snow pants and the cub rested there fitfully as the pair made the rest of the 40-mile snowmobile trip back to their town. The people of Point Lay were charmed by the little animal, and named him "Kali," pronounced "cully," which means "Point Lay" in the local dialect.
After spending a night at the local police hall, the cub was transferred to another town, and eventually made his way to the Alaska Zoo. Unfortunately, the zoo doesn't have room for another permanent polar bear resident, but for now Kali is wiggling, braying and cuddling his way into their hearts. Zoo officials estimate Kali will spend a month recovering from his great adventure before he is given a more permanent home. Already, Kali is gaining a following after pictures and videos of his adorable antics circulated online. And yes, he is the most precious thing ever.
Although Tazruk regrets having killed the bear's mother, he knows he has helped provide the cub with the next best thing: Shelter, care and a direct path to the hearts of animal lovers everywhere.
"It was unfortunate. I was saddened," Tazruk said. "I did the right thing by bringing the bear back."