North Carolina bear cub in distress receives help, released back into the wild

Published 8:04 am Friday, November 19, 2021

Wildlife biologists at the North Carolina 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 the initial report late Monday night that a bear cub was seen with a jug on its head, likely a result from trash. McVey and staff spent the next two days looking for the bear, and the Wildlife Commission employed public outreach to identify its location, stated a WRC press release.

“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.”

bear cub

Courtesy North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission

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“Upon release, McVey noted the cub was feisty and ready to go, which is a great sign,” stated the release. “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. 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,” said McVey.

Those who see an injured bear or suspect an orphaned cub, are advised to not approach the bear. Instead leave it alone, note the location and contact the local Wildlife Commission District Biologist or call the NC Wildlife Helpline at 866-318-2401, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

To learn more about how to live responsibly with bears, including tips about how to properly secure trash, visit