Hailey Morinico and her mother were gardening when a bear and her two cubs appeared on a low wall, causing her dogs to rush at the animals, barking.
Don't try this at home!
Footage of a gutsy teenager from California who shoved a large bear off her garden wall to protect her dogs has gone viral.
Hailey Morinico said she was lucky to escape in one piece from the encounter with a bear in Bradbury, northeast of Los Angeles, that was captured on home video surveillance.
The footage has featured on US television networks and received almost 10 million likes on TikTok.
Morinico and her mother were gardening when the bear and her two cubs appeared on a low wall, immediately catching the attention of the family's dogs, who rushed to bark at the animal.
As two bear cubs retreated, the mother bear kept the dogs at bay by swiping with her giant claws, even briefly lifting up one of the smaller canines.
Have u seen the girl who pushed the bear off her wall? I chatted w Hailey Morinico and her proud (& relieved) mom for @InsideEdition. Ends up it happened on trash day which explains the bears foraging in the neighborhood. Keep those lids closed tight & respect Mother Nature! 🐻 pic.twitter.com/DwiWLZL54U— Lisa Guerrero 💃🏽 (@4lisaguerrero) June 2, 2021
'Do not push bears'
When she heard the altercation, Morinico ran "to see what they're barking at and it's not a dog – it's a bear," she told local television station KTLA.
"The first thing I think to do is push the bear. And somehow it worked," said the 17-year-old.
Off-balance, the bear fell off the low wall before retreating with her cubs.
Morinico's panicked parents can be heard shouting in the background of the video, with her mother Citlally writing on Facebook that it was "one of the scariest moments in life."
A wildlife expert estimated that the bear weighed about nearly 70kg and the cubs were only a few months old.
Although bear sightings are common across parts of California, attacks are rare and typically are defensive in nature, according to the state's wildlife department.
Morinico walked away from the encounter with only a sprained finger, but on reflection told viewers that she would not recommend they follow her example.
"Do not push bears," Morinico said.
"Don't do what I did, you might not have the same outcome."