FORT FRASER, British Columbia It was a fight for survival that lasted only a few minutes, but one that Wayne Ray won t soon forget.
On the afternoon of August 27, Ray watched in amazement as a young bear tried to snatch a calf from his herd of cattle on the family ranch in north-central British Columbia.
What happened next was like a scene out of Wild Kingdom.
(The bear) made a beeline for a calf, recalled Ray. But the large mother of the calf charged at the bear and knocked it flying.
Immediately, two other cows joined in and the three of them took turns stomping it with their front feet, kicking it with their back feet, and crushing it to the ground with their chests and their heads, said Ray. I thought he would leave, but that bear was awfully stupid he went back three more times.
Photo courtesy/copyright: Wayne Ray
The noise was incredible with the thundering of hoofs and the vocalizing of the cows and calves and the squealing of the bear, Ray recalled.
Epic Battle for Survival
Ray had his camera with him, and took stunning photos of the battle for survival.
The bear paid me no mind once it started, said Ray. It was a blur, there was so much going on.
The bear was hidden from view in many of the photos because the herd ganged up to fight him off.
Ray said that when the bear finally gave up, he was bleeding from the nose and mouth and had a bit of a limp, and probably many broken ribs and maybe had been considering becoming a vegetarian.
With Wayne Ray s permission as the sole copyright owner, here are more than a dozen of the extraordinary images of the August 27 battle:
SLIDESHOW: Cows fight off bear
Ray wasn t sure what happened to the bear, but his amazing story and pictures took an even stranger turn.
False Story Spreads onInternet
Ray s wife privately shared a few of the photos in an email to friends. About three weeks later, a Eugene television station ran a story about a herd fighting off a bear in Eastern Oregon. The story quoted an Oregon rancher, and said the battle took place in Oregon but the photos were from Ray s ranch in British Columbia.
Within days, the erroneous Herd Fights Bear in E. Oregon story had been published on countless news Web sites across the country and climbed up the ranks of Google. Then, the Associated Press shared the story and photos, wrongly crediting Oregon rancher Bill Hoyt (mentioned in the erroneous TV report).
KGW tracked down Ray as the true witness and photographer. The Associated Press and the TV station have taken down the erroneous stories, leaving Wayne Ray as a first-hand witness to two remarkable rampages: One in the wild, and another man-made, in the form of an Internet mistake gone wild on the worldwide Web.
Any use, publication or transmission of these images without the express written permission of Wayne Ray is prohibited.