Corey Hancock believed he was doing the right thing when he came across a malnourished black bear cub while out hiking on Monday night. According to Hancock the bear cub had been “left for dead” and was hardly breathing when he found it. He reportedly checked carefully to see if the cub’s mother was anywhere about, then picked him up and took the baby bear to the Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center located in Salem, Ore.

Elkhorn the black bear cub starts his recovery

The wildlife center has named the cub “Elkhorn” after the place he was found and said the animal was malnourished and lethargic.

However, once they gave the black bear cub fluids, he soon started feeling better and has now been moved to continue his recovery at the Department of Fish and Wildlife in Oregon. However Michelle Dennehy, a spokeswoman for the department, told the Oregonian that people should not immediately assume that a baby animal needs to be rescued if they are found all alone. In fact, Dennehy says that this is bad for most wild animals and can also be dangerous.

Reportedly wild Animals, particularly bears, have to learn survival skills while they are young. By rescuing them at that young stage, this can lead to an interruption in the natural process. In this case, it could lead to little Elkhorn ending up spending the rest of his days in a zoo.

According to Dennehy, any hikers finding a baby animal in distress, like the little bear, should rather call wildlife officials or the state police, adding that it is against the law to take a wild animal from its environment.

The New York Daily News quoted the example of a baby bison, found by Canadian tourists at Yellowstone National Park.

The tourists thought the animal looked cold and took it into the back of their car. However, after contact with humans, the baby’s family would not let it back into the herd. In that case, Shamash Kassam reportedly received a fine of $235 and the court ordered him to make a $500 donation to the national park for what it termed the “wildlife disturbance.”

Oregon levies hefty fines for 'rescuing' wild animals

While Hancock was hailed a hero by many on social media for potentially saving the cute little black bear cub, there is a possibility he could face a hefty $6,250 fine or even up to one year in prison.

Turtle Ridge did stand up for Hancock, saying in a statement on its Facebook page that it was an “uncommon situation” and that they appreciated the fact that Corey trusted them with the malnourished bear cub’s care.