In a moment of pure and protective instinct, teenage Hailey Morinico ran to a mother bear with two cubs and pushed her off a boulder wall in her backyard – all to save her four dogs from danger.
âI was like, ‘Oh my god, there’s a bear and he’s taking my dog. It lifts him off the ground, âHailey said shortly after the Memorial Day weekend event. “In that split second, I decided to push the bear away, as if nothing happened, apparently.”
The moment, captured on security camera footage, went viral in early June, with viewers marveling at Hailey’s bravery.
Now that courage will earn him a local award from flashlight company Maglite, which will be presented to him by the company’s founder and CEO on Friday.
âHailey Morinico saved her dogs from a bear and displayed incredible bravery and tenacity,â a press release said. âNow Anthony Maglica, a dog lover, founder and CEO of [the] The legendary brand Maglite will pay tribute to him with an award recognizing his achievement. “
Maglite has other rewards related to bravery according to a spokesperson. They are usually aimed at first responder professionals such as the Firefighter Hero Award, the National Law Enforcement Hero Award, the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund and the National Fallen Fire Fighters Fund.
Maglica, 91, will be at the awards ceremony on Friday with the teenager from Bradbury and her family.
Bradbury is a community in the foothills east of Los Angeles, near the Angeles National Forest.
Human bear encounters are rare in California, but bears often visit communities in the foothills and other areas bordering the wilderness in search of food, especially on garbage day. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has a list of general tips and guidelines to follow regarding encounters with bears.
Experts advise against facing a bear.
âWe made eye contact,â Hailey said. “We were face to face.”
A teenage girl from Bradbury describes when she pushed a bear off a wall to protect her dogs.
California’s black bear population has grown over the past two decades from around 10,000 to 15,000 in the early 1980s to between 25,000 and 30,000 – and that’s a conservative estimate, according to the department. State of Fisheries and Wildlife. They are good climbers who can easily climb a tree – or in this case, a boulder wall.
Hailey suffered a sprained finger during the chaotic encounter. None of the four dogs was injured.
Morinico will receive the âMaglite Tough Awardâ on Friday at Maglite’s global headquarters in Ontario, California.