Archived Outdoors

Residents, Wildlife Commission save distressed bear cub

Wildlife Commission staff approach the distressed bear, whose head was trapped inside a clear container. Donated photo Wildlife Commission staff approach the distressed bear, whose head was trapped inside a clear container. Donated photo

Wildlife biologists at the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are praising Asheville residents for helping them locate a distressed female bear cub wandering North Asheville with a clear container stuck on her head. 

District Biologist Justin McVey received an initial report late Monday night, Nov. 15, that a bear cub was seen with a jug on its head, likely from trash. McVey and staff spent the next two days looking for the bear, and the Wildlife Commission employed public outreach to find it. 

“Thanks to direct calls to our biologists and messages in response to our agency’s NextDoor post, Asheville residents led us directly to the cub,” said McVey. “We were able to safely dart and anesthetize the bear, remove the jug from her head and perform a health check. She was in great health, with no injuries or lacerations, and immediately relocated to a remote area in Western North Carolina.”

McVey noted the cub was feisty and ready to go upon its release, a great sign. The outcome could have been much different if the people of Asheville hadn’t worked directly with the Wildlife Commission to locate the bear. 

“Thanks to everyone who helped our staff quickly respond to this cub in distress,” McVey said. “Our staff are trained specifically for these types of situations. It’s a huge help when folks contact us directly; it helps us respond quickly.”

Don’t approach injured or orphaned bears. Instead, note the location and contact McVey at 828.273.7980 or call the N.C. Wildlife Helpline at 866.317.2401, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

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